Asbestos Litigation Costs and Compensation: An Interim Report

Asbestos Litigation Costs and Compensation: An Interim Report

Asbestos Litigation Costs and Compensation: An Interim Report

Asbestos Litigation Costs and Compensation: An Interim Report


The RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ) began analyzing asbestos litigation in the early 1980s. That study was the first to examine the costs and compensation paid for asbestos personal injury claims. It was followed by other research that addressed the courts' responses to asbestos litigation and a number of studies of mass tort litigation in general.

In Spring 2001, the ICJ initiated a new study on asbestos litigation, now the longestrunning mass tort litigation in U.S. history. In this study, ICJ researchers are revisiting the issues raised in the initial RAND study. How many claims have been filed? For what injuries? How much is being spent on the litigation and what is the balance between the compensation paid claimants and the costs to deliver it? What economic costs does the litigation impose on defendants and on the economy as a whole? What are the future prospects for the litigation? Are there strategies for resolving asbestos suits that would be more efficient and more equitable?

ICJ staff provided preliminary answers to these questions to the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress in briefings on August 13 and 14, 2001. That briefing was documented in Asbestos Litigation in the U.S.: A New Look at an Old Issue (RAND DB-362.0-ICJ, August 2001). Since then, ICJ staff have conducted extensive analyses of data, including confidential data provided by various participants in the litigation as well as published data and information gathered from interviews with plaintiff and defense attorneys, insurance-company claims managers, financial analysts, and courtappointed neutrals. This documented briefing builds on the previous briefing and includes the results of more detailed analyses.

The final report on the project will document the analyses we conducted to arrive at the results presented in this briefing. It will also analyze alternatives to the current approach to asbestos litigation in terms of their likely effects on major stakeholders in the litigation. We expect to publish the final report in the next few months.

For information about the Institute for Civil Justice contact:

Robert Reville, Acting Director RAND, Institute for Civil Justice 1700 Main Street Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 Tel: (310) 393-0411 x6786 Fax: (310) 451-6979 Email:

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