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Legislation watch

2011 House Bill 4601: Limit certain asbestos liability

Public Act 84 of 2012

Introduced by Rep. Joseph Haveman (R) on April 28, 2011 To limit the liability of a company that had acquired another company which may have produced or sold asbestos in the past. The bill would prohibit a court from imposing asbestos damage judgments that exceed the value of the acquired company. Under current law a court can order damages up to the value of the entire enterprise, even if the acquired subsidiary represents only a small part of the overall firm's value.   Official Text and Analysis.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on April 28, 2011
Reported in the House on December 1, 2011 With the recommendation that the amendment be adopted and that the bill then pass.
Amendment offered in the House on February 15, 2012 To allow higher damage judgments if the new company (the combination of the acquiring firm and one it bought) is still in the asbestos business.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on February 15, 2012
Amendment offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on February 15, 2012 To still allow higher damage judgments if the merger with the former asbestos producing firm happened any time from 1968 on. The bill's liability limits only apply if the merger happened before 1972.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 15, 2012
Amendment offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on February 15, 2012 To only allow the lower liability if the acquiring firm did not know about the potential asbestos claim after making a diligent inquiry at the time of the merger.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 15, 2012
Amendment offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on February 15, 2012 To allow higher interest on damages.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 15, 2012
Amendment offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on February 15, 2012 To only apply the bill's liability cap to damage claims filed after the bill becomes law.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 15, 2012
Amendment offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on February 15, 2012 To only allow the liability cap on lawsuits filed after the bill becomes law.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 15, 2012
Amendment offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (D) on February 15, 2012 To make asbestos lawsuit defendants "jointly and severally" liable for damages, which means a plaintiff can force a company with "deep pockets" to pay the full amount even if it was only a little bit responsible compared to other defendants.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 15, 2012
Passed 62 to 46 in the House on February 16, 2012 (same description)
To limit the liability of a company that had acquired another company which may have produced or sold asbestos in the past. The bill would prohibit a court from imposing asbestos damage judgments that exceed the value of the acquired company. Under current law a court can order damages up to the value of the entire enterprise, even if the acquired subsidiary represents only a small part of the overall firm's value.
Received in the Senate on February 21, 2012
Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 21, 2012
Referred to the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee on February 22, 2012
Reported in the Senate on March 15, 2012 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
Amendment offered by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) on March 29, 2012 To establish that the proposed liability limits do not apply if the firm employs fewer than 1,000 people in Michigan.
The amendment failed 13 to 25 in the Senate on March 29, 2012
Amendment offered by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) on March 29, 2012 To not include any liability of the company to repay government Medicare or Medicaid for medical assistance.
The amendment failed 13 to 25 in the Senate on March 29, 2012
Amendment offered by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) on March 29, 2012 To clarify that a exception to the proposed liability for a firm that remained in the asbestos business after a merger also applies if the was part of an "acquisition".
The amendment failed 13 to 25 in the Senate on March 29, 2012
Passed 25 to 13 in the Senate on March 29, 2012 (same description)
To limit the liability of a company that had acquired another company which may have produced or sold asbestos in the past. The bill would prohibit a court from imposing asbestos damage judgments that exceed the value of the acquired company. Under current law a court can order damages up to the value of the entire enterprise, even if the acquired subsidiary represents only a small part of the overall firm's value.
Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on April 10, 2012

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