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Arizona Enacts New Asbestos Trust Claim Disclosure and Evidence Statute

The Arizona legislature recently enacted A.R.S. § 12-782 to prohibit claimants from obtaining duplicative or excessive recoveries in asbestos personal injury lawsuits. Section 12-782 impacts personal injury plaintiffs that also submit claims to asbestos bankruptcy trusts or other personal injury trusts set up to compensate parties injured by asbestos containing products. Its provisions make the following reforms to lawsuits alleging personal injury based on exposure to asbestos containing products:

 

 

  • The plaintiff must affirmatively disclose—within forty-five days of the defendant's answer—all personal injury claims that the plaintiff has submitted to asbestos trusts set up to compensate plaintiffs and all personal injury claims that the plaintiff reasonably anticipates filing against an asbestos trust. 

  • The plaintiff must provide defendants with a copy of the proof of claim, all trust documents, all documents related to the settlement of the claim, the amount claimed by the plaintiff, and a list of claims the plaintiff reasonably anticipates filing, including the anticipated amount.

  • The plaintiff has an ongoing duty to supplement their disclosures if a new claim is submitted or the plaintiff receives new information related to a claim.

  • The trial courts must stay proceedings if the plaintiff identifies any claims that he/she reasonably anticipates filing until the claim is filed. 

  • Claims of privilege do not apply to asbestos trust claim documents.

  • Defendants may move the court to stay proceedings and order the plaintiff to file a trust claim if the defendants identify an asbestos trust—not disclosed by the plaintiff—that the defendants reasonably believe the plaintiff should file a claim with.

  •  A plaintiff's submission of a claim to a trust may be considered by a jury to determine liability or apportion fault and may be used to support a finding that exposure to the products at issue in the asbestos trust were a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff's injury.  

  •  If a plaintiff receives compensation from an asbestos trust after a trial concludes, the amount of compensation is credited against any judgment in the plaintiff's favor.

  • The new law applies retroactively to all actions that are pending on its effective date.

  • Section 12-782 goes into effect on July 3, 2015.

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    Kevin Heaphy, Document Control Attorney, Ryley Carlock Law Firm
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    Kevin is an attorney in the firm's Litigation and Document Control practice groups. He focuses on defending financial institutions and enforcing commercial loans, product liability litigation, general commercial litigation, and electronic discovery. His clients include leaders in mortgage lending, commercial lending, and manufacturing as well as small and midsize local businesses.

    Financial Institution Litigation

    Kevin helps lending and finance clients, including some of the largest banks in the country, enforce loans and defend...

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    John C. Lemaster, Shareholder, Litigation, lawyer, Ryley Carlock, law firm
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    John has a diverse litigation practice encompassing the issues vital to business in the West. John's practice is in the commercial litigation, managing and trying complex cases. His practice has emphasized condemnation and real property, water rights, NEPA and environmental issues, and business disputes. In addition, John handles insurance coverage and bad faith litigation matters, asbestos defense, and other complex litigation. John's broad base of experience has given him the opportunity to try a number of jury and non-jury trials, arbitrations, and other evidentiary disputes, and to use many alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve litigation when appropriate. John is also serving his second tenure as the Litigation Practice Group Leader at RC&A.

    John has extensive litigation experience in resolving disputes for businesses ranging from breach of contract claims and defense of products liability claims, to claims arising from industrial accidents and operations, to claims arising from corporate transactions and real estate deals. Other cases have involved franchise issues, copyright and trademark and patent issues, antitrust issues, and trade secrets. John has been involved in corporate and partnership disputes, board and trustee disputes, class actions and collective actions, Ponzi schemes, and fraud.

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