Iowa became the first state to enact a law addressing the over-naming of defendants in asbestos litigation this month. Signed June 1, the new law requires a plaintiff to file a sworn affidavit, in addition to the initial pleading, with specified evidence as a basis for his or her claim against each named defendant. Failure to provide this information against a defendant results in dismissal of that defendant. More details on the bill (SF2337) in our previous post.
This law provides an unprecedented solution to the all-too-common practice of over-naming defendants in asbestos and silica matters. As a result, plaintiffs are now required to produce a greater amount of specific evidence against each named defendant at the time of filing. The law will likely result in an even smaller number of claims being filed in Iowa and may entice other states to push for similar legislation.
For those defending asbestos and silica matters this law is welcome news. It both sheds light on a significant problem in this area of litigation and provides a viable solution to ensure the proper parties are before the court.