(Caveat – the following includes shameless self-promotion.)
Asbestos litigation, and asbestos trust issues, are no longer uniquely American issues. To the contrary, asbestos litigation and asbestos trusts are growing rapidly outside the US.
Really ? Yes. Due to soaring mesothelioma rates that will not peak until 2020 or so, asbestos litigation is climbing rapidly across the EU (especially in the UK) and in Australia. There also are a close to a couple of hundred asbestos claims pending in Japan and a handful starting in Korea. Future claims are a certainty because asbestos use has for years been rising rapidly across Asia and Russia, not to mention ship-breaking and other activities in which asbestos is often removed in terribly primitive and unsafe conditions.
Asbestos trusts also are global, in at least three way. First, Manville and other trusts take claims from around the world and are receiving materially increasing amounts of claims. Second, as part of the Federal-Mogul bankruptcy, a trust was set up under UK law for claims arising from Turner & Newall. Third, private trusts have been set up by entities hoping to limit or avoid litigation. The trusts take claims arising from Cape, James Hardie and Eternit, among others.
Multinationals, insurers, Wall Street and lawyers are missing a significant part of the asbestos picture if less than a global view is being taken. The answer? Attend the Lexis/Nexis seminar on 29 and 30 September in London on International Asbestos Claiming. Yours truly is chairing the seminar. I think an excellent panel of lawyers is on tap from around the world, including David Miller, an authority on asbestos litigation in Australia, and Rod Freeman, an authority on product liability and asbestos litigation in the EU. And, because the US litigation s part of the world view, Motley Rice’s Anne Kearse and Shook Hardy’s Mark Behrens will speak from their divergent perspectives. I will speak on international asbestos trust issues and hopefully will challenge other speakers with some good questions. And, finally, Selvyn Seidel of Burford Advsiors will speak about third-party litigation funding – a topic everyone should know about because it’s going to change the world of litigation in a big way.