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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 2437

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 03/14/2019 09:18am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to civil actions; providing for disclosure of asbestos trust claims; proposing
coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 604.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [604.025] ASBESTOS TRUST CLAIMS TRANSPARENCY ACT.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For the purposes of this section, the terms in this
subdivision have the meanings given them.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Asbestos action" means a claim for damages or other relief asserted in a civil action
arising out of, based on, or related to the health effects of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos
action includes any claim by any trustee or other representative on behalf of a person claiming
health effects arising out of, based on, or related to exposure to asbestos.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Asbestos claimant" means a person asserting an asbestos action or asbestos trust
claim. Asbestos claimant includes a plaintiff, counterclaimant, cross-claimant, or third-party
plaintiff.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Asbestos trust" means a government-approved or court-approved trust, qualified
settlement fund, compensation fund or claims facility created as a result of an administrative
or legal action, a court-approved bankruptcy, or pursuant to United States Code, title 11,
section 524(g) or 1121(a), or other applicable provision of law, that is intended to compensate
claimants arising out of, based on, or related to the health effects of asbestos exposure.
new text end

new text begin (e) "Asbestos trust claim" means any claim for compensation by a person against any
asbestos trust.
new text end

new text begin (f) "Plaintiff" means a person asserting an asbestos action, including (1) a trustee
appointed pursuant to section 573.02, subdivision 3; (2) a personal representative if the
action is brought through or on behalf of an estate; or (3) a parent, guardian, conservator,
or next friend if the asbestos action is brought through or on behalf of a minor or legally
incapacitated individual.
new text end

new text begin (g) "Trust claim materials" means a final executed proof of claim and all other documents
and information submitted to or received from an asbestos trust, including (1) claim forms
and supplementary materials; (2) affidavits, depositions, and trial testimony of the asbestos
claimant and others knowledgeable about the asbestos claimant's exposure history; (3) work
history; (4) exposure allegations; (5) medical and health records; (6) all documents that
reflect the status of an asbestos trust claim; and (7) if the asbestos trust claim has been
resolved, all documents relating to the resolution of the asbestos trust claim.
new text end

new text begin (h) "Trust governance documents" means all documents that relate to eligibility and
payment levels, including claims payment matrices, trust distribution procedures, or plans
to reorganize an asbestos trust.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Required disclosures by plaintiff. new text end

new text begin (a) Within 60 days of the commencement
of an asbestos action, the plaintiff must:
new text end

new text begin (1) file or otherwise submit all asbestos trust claims that can be made by or on behalf
of the asbestos claimant;
new text end

new text begin (2) serve on all parties a sworn statement signed by the plaintiff, under penalty of perjury,
stating that a good faith investigation of all asbestos trust claims that can be made by or on
behalf of the asbestos claimant has been conducted and that all asbestos trust claims that
can be made by or on behalf of the asbestos claimant have been filed with or otherwise
submitted to the appropriate asbestos trusts. The sworn statement must state whether there
has been a request to defer, delay, suspend, or toll any asbestos trust claim, and state the
disposition of each asbestos trust claim if there has been a disposition of any such asbestos
trust claim. A deferral or placeholder claim that is missing documentation for the asbestos
trust to pay the claim does not meet the requirements of this section; and
new text end

new text begin (3) serve on all parties all trust claim materials filed or submitted by or on behalf of the
asbestos claimant. Disclosure of all trust claim materials served under this clause must be
accompanied by a notarized affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury that certifies
the trust claim materials are true and complete.
new text end

new text begin (b) A plaintiff has a continuing duty to supplement disclosures required under paragraph
(a) within 30 days after:
new text end

new text begin (1) an asbestos trust claim is supplemented;
new text end

new text begin (2) additional information or materials related to an asbestos trust claim is received; or
new text end

new text begin (3) files or otherwise submits any additional asbestos trust claims.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Identification of additional or alternative asbestos trusts by defendant. new text end

new text begin (a)
Not less than 60 days before trial, if a defendant believes the plaintiff has not filed all
asbestos trust claims as required by subdivision 2, the defendant may move the court for an
order to require the plaintiff to file additional asbestos trust claims. The motion must identify
the additional asbestos trust claims the defendant believes the plaintiff is eligible to file.
new text end

new text begin (b) If the court determines there is a sufficient basis for the plaintiff to file one or more
asbestos trust claims identified by a defendant, the court must stay the asbestos action until
the plaintiff files the identified asbestos trust claim and makes the disclosures required under
subdivision 2. The asbestos action must not proceed to trial until at least 60 days after the
plaintiff complies with this section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Discovery; use of materials. new text end

new text begin (a) Trust claim materials and trust governance
documents are admissible evidence in an asbestos action and are presumed relevant and
authentic. A claim of privilege does not apply to trust claim materials or trust governance
documents.
new text end

new text begin (b) A defendant in an asbestos action may seek discovery from an asbestos trust. The
plaintiff is prohibited from claiming privilege or confidentiality to bar discovery and must
authorize the release of trust claim materials or provide permission required by an asbestos
trust to release information and materials sought by a defendant.
new text end

new text begin (c) Trust claim materials may be used to prove, without limitation, an alternative source
for the cause of the asbestos claimant's alleged harm and may serve as a basis to allocate
fault and apportion damages under chapter 604 for the asbestos claimant's alleged harm.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Setoff new text end

new text begin (a) In an asbestos action where damages are awarded and an amount
determined to be uncollectible from an entity that an asbestos trust was established for is
reallocated pursuant to section 604.02, subdivision 2, the amount reallocated to a defendant
must be reduced by an amount equaling:
new text end

new text begin (1) the percentage of the amount initially reallocated to the defendant compared to the
total amount initially reallocated to all defendants, multiplied by
new text end

new text begin (2) the amount the plaintiff has received from the asbestos trust for the entity whose
amount is determined to be uncollectible or, for trust claims not yet paid as of the reallocation
date, the amount the plaintiff receives from the asbestos trust as specified in the asbestos
trust's trust governance documents.
new text end

new text begin (b) In an asbestos action where damages are awarded and an amount determined to be
uncollectible from an entity that an asbestos trust was established for is reallocated under
section 604.02, subdivision 3, the amount reallocated to a defendant in the product's chain
of manufacture or distribution must be reduced by an amount equaling:
new text end

new text begin (1) the percentage of the amount initially reallocated to the defendant as compared to
the total amount initially reallocated to all defendants in the product's chain of manufacture
or distribution, multiplied by
new text end

new text begin (2) the amount the plaintiff has received from the asbestos trust for the entity whose
amount is determined to be uncollectible or, for trust claims not yet paid as of the reallocation
date, the amount the plaintiff receives from the asbestos trust as specified in the trust
governance documents.
new text end