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Class action and asbestos bill faces presidential veto

Posted On: Jan. 8, 2016 12:00 AM CST

President Barack Obama is likely to veto a class action reform bill passed Friday by the House of Representatives if it is sent to him for his signature into law.

The House passed the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act, H.R. 1927, on a 211-188 vote on Friday. Among other things, the measure would require a federal court to certify that plaintiffs in a proposed class action have actually suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representatives.

The bill also would require the personal injury asbestos settlement trusts to file quarterly reports with the bankruptcy courts. These reports would be available on the public docket and would include already publicly available information about the claims filed with the trust and payments made.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies issued a statement praising the House action within minutes of the vote and called on the Senate to follow the House's lead.

“NAMIC strongly urges the Senate to take up these common-sense solutions to protect legitimate victims of asbestos exposure and those who truly deserve to be a part of a class action,” Washington-based NAMIC Senior Vice President Jimi Grande said in the statement.

But a presidential veto looms if the Senate approves the measure as well.

“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 1927 because it would impair the enforcement of important federal laws, constrain access to the courts, and needlessly threaten the privacy of asbestos victims,” according to a statement of administration policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday. The statement added that “if the president were presented with H.R.1927, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.”