Asbestos defendants continue to convince state legislatures to create some long overdue intersections between personal in jury claims in te the tort system and in the bankruptcy trust claiming system. The most recent outcome is in Oklahoma, where legislators approved this new statute. The governor is expected to sign the bill.
The new statute is fairly broad. It applies to all types of personal injury trust funds created from a lawsuit – not just asbestos trust funds. The statute in essence forces plaintiff’s to process and disclose claims against trust funds at least 180 days before a trial date. The statute also mandates presumptive admissibility of the documents submitted by plaintiff to the trust fund, as well as the governing documents for the trust. The statute gives defendants that go to verdict a right to offset a payment by the trust against damages awarded in court. The statute also creates a rebuttable presumption that the trust will make a payment for the "liquidated value" set out in the trust fund documents.