Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

s_jud_2017a_2017-02-15t13:33:58z0 Hearing Summary

Date: 02/15/2017

Location: RM 271




Votes: View--> Action Taken:
Refer Senate Bill 17-053 to the Committee of the W PASS

01:34 PM

Senator Gardner, chair, called the committee to order. He explained the procedures that would be used during the committee meeting.

01:36 PM -- SB17-053

Senator Sonnenberg, prime sponsor, presented Senate Bill 17-053, concerning requirements for asbestos litigation claims. He responded to a question concerning the need for the bill. The committee and sponsor discussed the bill.

01:42 PM --
Ms. Christine Winokur, representing herself, testified in opposition to the bill. She discussed her personal experience involving her husband's mesothelioma diagnosis. She responded to questions concerning her husband's diagnosis.

01:52 PM --
Ms. Deborah Clark, representing herself, testified in opposition to the bill. She discussed her experience with asbestos contamination on her property and the surrounding area. Ms. Clark further discussed her opposition to the bill and the dangers of asbestos.

01:56 PM --
Mr. Kevin Hannon, representing the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, testified in opposition to the bill. He discussed federal regulation of asbestos, and the harms that may arise from asbestos exposure. He explained existing Colorado law concerning asbestos litigation and damages that may arise from those claims. He discussed specific provisions of the bill. Mr. Hannon responded to questions concerning limitations on lawsuits under existing Colorado law by stating that existing law does not limit class action lawsuits, and that existing policy prioritizes cases in which a party may be dying. He also responded to questions about receiving damages from multiple liable parties. Mr. Hannon continued to discuss parties that the bill may apply to, including a discussion of asbestos litigation trusts.

02:09 PM --
Mr. Michael Patrick, representing himself, testified in opposition to the bill. He stated that there are no personal injury class action lawsuits. He explained the difficulties in identifying the party at fault in asbestos exposure cases. Mr. Patrick discussed enterprise liability theory, and stated that it does not apply to asbestos manufacturers in Colorado. Mr. Patrick responded to questions concerning the process of filing personal injury claims related to asbestos liability, including recovering damages from asbestos trusts. He responded to a question concerning his compensation for handling asbestos cases. Mr. Patrick continued to respond to questions about specific provisions in the bill, to which he explained that in other areas of Colorado law, plaintiffs are not required to prove the adequacy of prima facie evidence, except to defend against court motions concerning the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint.

02:21 PM --
Mr. David Ortiz, representing the United Veterans Committee of Colorado, testified in opposition to the bill. He explained veterans' exposure to asbestos.

02:25 PM --
Mr. Mark Hillman, representing the Colorado Civil Justice League, testified in support of the bill. He stated that those harmed by asbestos should be able to recover once for their damages, and that preventing double recovery is fair.

02:27 PM --
Ms. Stephanie Montague, representing the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, testified in support of the bill. She discussed issues concerning damage recovery in asbestos cases. She responded to questions concerning the discovery process used for asbestos-related litigation against solvent companies.

02:35 PM --
Mr. Mark Behrens, representing the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, testified in support of the bill. He distributed a form relating to claims against asbestos litigation trusts (Attachment A). He discussed recovery for asbestos-related harm though lawsuits. He stated that the bill would help people receive compensation quicker than under the current laws and rules. In response to a question, he discussed how the bill helps people who are sick. Senator Aguilar commented on Mr. Behrens' testimony, and the bill; Mr. Behrens responded by discussing medical procedures and the timeline for filing cases. Senator Aguilar discussed the bill's requirements of doctors; Mr. Behrens responded.


02:48 PM

Senator Sonnenberg provided closing remarks on the bill and asked for the committee's support. Committee members stated their positions on the bill.

BILL: SB17-053
TIME: 02:52:32 PM
MOVED: Cooke
MOTION: Refer Senate Bill 17-053 to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on a vote of 3-2.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details