GAO Reports Shines Light on Secretive Asbestos Trusts

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GAO Reports Shines Light on Secretive Asbestos Trusts

Corporate Counsel

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.”

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