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George Costanza, Double Dipping, and Asbestos-Injury Claims

Asbestos fiber
Asbestos fiberPhotograph by Photo Researchers/Getty Images

The fictional television philosopher and sometime-sports executive George Costanza saw nothing wrong with double dipping. That was in the context of potato chips and party dip. When it comes to asbestos-injury claims, some Republican members of Congress fear that double dipping leads to serious fraud.

This week, at the behest of Republicans, the House is expected to debate and vote on the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act. The bill would require asbestos trusts around the country to file quarterly public reports about who receives payments and how much they get. Supporters say that reporting will help prevent unscrupulous plaintiffs’ lawyers and their clients from double dipping—making more than one claim for the same injury. Opponents counter that the law would invade claimants’ privacy as part of a broader attempt to slow payments and protect corporate interests.