Spring Cleaning: Texas legislature passes bill for dismissal of inactive asbestos and silica claims

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The Texas legislature has taken a significant step toward clearing what some regard as very cluttered asbestos and silica dockets. The Texas legislature passed and sent to the governor House Bill 1325 (“HB 1325”) to provide a vehicle to dismiss inactive claims of plaintiffs who have thus far been unable to provide proof of impairment.

The 79th Texas legislature enacted Senate Bill 15 (“SB 15”) in 2005 to require plaintiffs claiming asbestos- or silica-related injuries to serve a compliant medical report in order to pursue their claim in court. To be compliant, the statute requires a report by a board-certified physician, opining that specific medical criteria exist as proof of significant injury. SB 15 created a system to advance to trial the sickest claimants ahead of those who had simply been exposed to asbestos or silica without significant impairment. SB 15 also established a more generous two-year statute of limitations providing that a claim accrues on the earlier of either the claimant’s death or service of a compliant medical report.

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