In the News

Stevens Makes Second Appearance Before Ohio General Assembly

Ohio Legislation Seeks to Bring Transparency to Asbestos Litigation

April 4, 2012

Christopher M. Stevens, senior counsel in Dykema’s Los Angeles office, recently appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Ohio General Assembly to offer perspective on proposed asbestos legislation. This is Stevens’ second appearance before the Ohio General Assembly. The proposed legislation—House Bill 380—recently passed the Ohio House, and will soon be up for vote in the Ohio Senate.

House Bill 380 requires an asbestos plaintiff suing in the state of Ohio to promptly disclose claims information submitted to asbestos bankruptcy trust funds. The bill also provides defendants the procedural right to file a motion with the trial court seeking an order that trust claims be commenced, or that the commencement of the trial be stayed until the plaintiff complies with the act, and files the trust fund claims.

The Ohio General Assembly was prompted to act due to the increasing amount of compensation becoming available through asbestos trust funds, and in order to bring transparency to the two systems of compensation.

Stevens, an experienced toxic tort and product liability litigator, was invited to provide testimony pertaining to the interaction of the two systems of compensation in asbestos suits—litigation and asbestos bankruptcy trusts—and the interests of automobile suppliers involved in such cases. Stevens noted that motor vehicle parts suppliers “are among the many defendants that face the thousands of asbestos lawsuits filed in the [United States] every year.” About the proposed bill, he commented that, “a system that ensures that the parties and courts have access to all relevant information from the outset ensures the best and timeliest results for all parties.”