Senate passes bill to slow asbestos lawsuits

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bill that Democratic opponents say would slow asbestos-exposure lawsuits has cleared the Wisconsin state Senate.

The measure passed Wednesday would require plaintiffs to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to go after. Trials could not start until six months after that disclosure.

Republican supporters say such a move would prevent lawyers from hiding multiple claims in hopes of maximizing awards.

But opponents, including veterans exposed to asbestos during their service, say the bill is designed to slow cases down in the hopes plaintiffs will die and protect corporations from making payouts.

The bill passed 17-15. Republican Sen. Dale Schultz joined with all Democrats in voting against it. It now must go back to the Assembly, where a similar version passed last year.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.