S.1125, a bill introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), would prevent all lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers for asbestos-related injury and illness.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has denounced S.1125 because it relieves asbestos manufacturers, employers and insurers of liability and fails to provide fair compensation to victims of asbestos disease.

The bill would set up a special asbestos court that would make decisions that would not be subject to any meaningful review, according to critics. The asbestos court would be using medical criteria set by the bill that would exclude many, if not most, of the cases of asbestos-caused illness from receiving any compensation at all. The asbestos court would use a schedule of compensation that sharply limits the amount of compensation that an asbestos victim would receive to amounts far below what most victims win in court.

In addition, the asbestos court would be funded at a level that is too low to compensate all asbestos victims, even at the court's bargain-basement rates. Once the pool of money was exhausted, all remaining victims would have no recourse, according to critics.