GAO Reports Shines Light on Secretive Asbestos Trusts
October 20, 2011
The Government Accountability Office released a new report on Wednesday analyzing asbestos injury trusts, shining some light on a multi-billion-dollar system of plaintiff claims and payouts that operates largely in secret.
The report, Asbestos Injury Compensation: The Role and Administration of Asbestos Trusts [PDF], reviewed 52 asbestos-related bankruptcy trusts that “have paid about 3.3 million claims valued at about $17.5 billion.”
The GAO found that while the majority of the trusts made general data available, very few provide detailed information about their activities without being directed to by a court of law:”Most asbestos trusts we reviewed publish for public review annual financial
reports and generally include total number of claims received and paid. Other information in the possession of a trust, such as an individual’s exposure to asbestos, is generally not available to outside parties but may be obtained, for example, in the course of litigation pursuant to a court-ordered subpoena.”…