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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Bankruptcy Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Bankruptcy Legal News



Headline Asbestos Bankruptcy Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Utah Asks For Court Order In Investigation Of Trusts For Fraud, Abuse
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah sued four asbestos trusts March 7 in state court seeking to force the trusts to cooperate with an investigation into whether the trusts are engaged in mismanagement and abuse of the asbestos trust system (State of Utah v. Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 170901496, Utah 3rd Dist., Salt Lake Co.).



General Motors Accuses Widow Of Double Dipping For Death Payments
NEW YORK - General Motors LLC filed adversary complaints March 6 in five asbestos bankruptcy cases, including the landmark Johns-Manville Corp. case, in an effort to recover from asbestos trusts some of the money it has paid in workers' compensation benefits to the widow of a longtime GM worker whose death was allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656 [General Motors LLC v. Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 1:17-ap-1032], S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).



Pittsburgh Corning Trust Opposes $9 Billion In Claims From Texas Litigation
PITTSBURGH - Trustees for the asbestos trust established by the Chapter 11 case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) said March 17 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court that they want to reopen the case to find out whether more than $9 billion in claims from a consolidated Texas litigation qualify for payment by the trust, which has assets of less than $4 billion (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).



Kaiser Gypsum Seeks Deadline Extension While Insurers Seek Dismissal Of Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. on March 7 asked a North Carolina federal bankruptcy court for more time to file a plan of reorganization, two weeks after several insurance companies told the court the case should be dismissed because it was filed in bad faith (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Garlock Debtors, Insurer Agree To Denial Of Arbitration Request
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An insurer cannot pursue arbitration against Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC and affiliates for a coverage dispute with a third-party manufacturer but can file a late proof of claim against the debtors without prejudice to its arbitration rights, according to a consent order filed March 16 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Rapid-American, Insurers Both Denied Judgment On Policy's Limits
NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge on March 2 denied summary judgment to both Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. and two of its insurers in a dispute over whether a policy has a $10 million or $30 million limit for asbestos liability claims (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).



Woman Says Her Meso Claim Against Johns-Manville Affiliate Cannot Be Enjoined
NEW YORK - A bankruptcy court did not have the jurisdiction to determine that a premises liability claim against a subsidiary of Johns-Manville Corp. by a woman who has mesothelioma arose long before the subsidiary filed for bankruptcy protection, the woman argues in a Feb. 23 brief in her New York federal court appeal (Lynda Berry v. Graphic Packaging International, Inc., No. 16-5817, S.D. N.Y.).



New York Housing Authority Says Fact Issues Abound For Claims Against G-I Holdings
NEWARK, N.J. - A bankruptcy judge "critically" erred by ruling on a motion to dismiss without construing the facts in favor of the nonmoving party, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) argues March 7 in New Jersey federal court in its fight to have former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. pay for removing the company's asbestos-containing material in authority buildings (New York City Housing Authority v. G-I Holdings Inc., No. 2:16-cv-7320, D. N.J.).



N.Y. Justice: Wisconsin Dissolution Law Bars Suit Against Special Electric
NEW YORK - An asbestos action filed outside Wisconsin's two-year window for suing Special Electric Co. Inc. after its dissolution is untimely, and an earlier motion to reopen and enforce its bankruptcy plan does not save the case, a New York justice held in an opinion posted March 21 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Thomas McGlynn v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190219/2016, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 900, In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Bertle Stromholm, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190177/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Court: Causation Opinion Admissible; Punitives OK In $6.5M Asbestos Verdict
FRESNO, Calif. - A judge properly admitted expert testimony that every identifiable exposure to asbestos contributes to mesothelioma, a California appeals court held March 17, while also rejecting challenges involving tobacco use and an award of punitive damages (Charity Faith Phillips, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. F070761, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).



Widow Who Lost $10.3M Jones Act Asbestos Verdict Urges Top Court Review
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida court ignored the "featherweight" causation standard applied in Jones Act cases while reversing a $10.3 million asbestos verdict against a cruise line, plaintiffs told the U.S. Supreme Court March 3 (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 16-1074, U.S. Sup.).



California Jury Awards More Than $10 Million In Asbestos-Pipe Case
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on Feb. 24 awarded $10,026,201 to a man who developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos while cutting and working with pipe. The jury found that CertainTeed Corp. knew of the risks but misrepresented the safety of its product and that its negligence contributed to the man's disease (Michael B. Burch and Cindy Burch v. CertainTeed Corporation, et al., No. RG16819332, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).



Brake-Grinder Maker Escapes Madison County Case With Asbestos Defense Verdict
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - A shop teacher was not negligently exposed to asbestos when he ground asbestos-containing brakes on Hennessy Industries Inc. grinding machines, a Madison County, Ill., jury decided Feb. 28 (Urban v. Borg-Warner Morse TEC Inc., No. 13-L-437, Ill. Cir., Madison Co.).



9th Circuit Revives Only Premises Asbestos Claim Against Aircraft Company
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs' premises liability allegations in an action against aircraft company are sufficiently detailed to permit the claims to go forward, but strict liability and negligence claims lack supporting evidence regarding the products in question or are barred by law, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Feb. 23 in partially reversing dismissal of a case (Titus May, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al., No. 15-56219, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3314).



Panel Rejects Punitive Damage Award In Asbestos Case, But Otherwise Affirms
LOS ANGELES - A jury awarded $3.6 million in punitive damages without the necessary evidence that Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. could satisfy such a judgment, but the remainder of the verdict stands as the company mounted "very limited and highly generalized" testimony supporting the contention that it was insulated from liability by a sophisticated intermediary, a California appeals court held Feb. 15 (Donna Saller, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc., et al., No. B260277, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 1, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1062).



House Judiciary Committee Passes Reintroduced FACT Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congress' latest measure aimed at requiring asbestos trusts to make claimant information public and provide the information to defendant companies in asbestos lawsuits was approved Feb. 15 by the House Judiciary Committee after being reintroduced by a Texas Republican a week earlier.



Garlock Affiliate Files For Bankruptcy; Cases To Be Administered Jointly
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Feb. 3 added three asbestos claimants from the new Chapter 11 case of Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC affiliate OldCo LLC to the claimants committee in Garlock's case after agreeing that the cases should be jointly administered (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, In re: OldCo, LLC, successor by merger to Coltec Industries Inc., No. 17-30140, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Court Sets Deadline For Asbestos Claims Against Garlock Affiliate
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Asbestos personal injury claimants have until March 24 to file a claim in the new Chapter 11 case of Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC affiliate OldCo LLC, according to an order filed Feb. 3 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court setting a bar date for certain asbestos claims (In re: OldCo, LLC, successor by merger to Coltec Industries Inc., No. 17-30140, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Bankruptcy Judge Denies Bid To Transfer Kaiser Gypsum's Chapter 11 Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 30 denied a request by five asbestos personal injury claimants to transfer the Chapter 11 case of former gypsum plaster and wallboard manufacturer Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. to another venue, finding that the filing meets U.S. Bankruptcy Code venue requirements and that transfer "would not be in the interests of justice or for the convenience of the parties" (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., at al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Garlock Settles Canadian Workers' Comp Boards' Claims For $20 Million
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Feb. 3 approved a settlement under which Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC and related companies will pay $20 million to Canada's 10 provincial workers' compensation boards to resolve the boards' claims for payment on behalf of more than 1,300 Canadian workers suffering from asbestos diseases (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Garlock Settles Late Claim Of Asbestosis Sufferer Who Won State Court Judgment
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 70-year-old asbestosis sufferer will receive more than $200,000 from the Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC bankruptcy case to settle a Kentucky state court judgment entered against Garlock before it filed for bankruptcy, according to a stipulation and order filed Feb. 1 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



New York Housing Authority Failed To Prove Restitution Claims, Former Debtor Says
NEWARK, N.J. - A bankruptcy judge properly applied the law of indemnity and restitution to undisputed facts in rejecting the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) asbestos property damage claims against former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc., the company says in a Feb. 3 response brief in New Jersey federal court (New York City Housing Authority v. G-I Holdings Inc., No. 2:16-cv-7320, D. N.J.).



Former Shareholders Granted Dismissal Of Eagle Inc.'s Fraudulent Transfer Action
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal bankruptcy judge followed up his dismissal of the Chapter 11 case of Eagle Inc. with entry of an order Jan. 26 also dismissing the former debtor's adversary action accusing four family members of fraudulently transferring Eagle's noninsurance assets to companies the family created while knowing that Eagle faced liability for thousands of asbestos claims (In re: Eagle, Inc., No. 15-12437, [Eagle, Inc. v. Fred J. Schuber, III, et al., No. 2:16-ap-1040], E.D. La. Bkcy.).



Bankruptcy Asset Sale Bars Take-Home Asbestos Case, Court Says
PHILADELPHIA - A "free and clear" sale of assets in a bankruptcy court auction precludes holding the purchaser liable for pre-purchase take-home asbestos exposures, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Jan. 26 (Jacqueline S. Wagner and Thomas H. Wagner v. Standard Steel LLC, et al., No. 850 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.).



Bankruptcy Settlement Does Not Bar ASARCO's Contribution Claim, Judge Finds
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The presence of genuine issues of material fact as to whether parties entered into a bankruptcy settlement with ASARCO LLC with the intention of barring the company from pursuing contribution claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act prevented a federal judge in Idaho on Feb. 16 from fully granting a motion for summary judgment filed by Union Pacific Railway (ASARCO, LLC v. Union Pacific Railway, et al., No. 12-cv-283, D. Idaho, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23199).



Arizona High Court Considers Asbestos Take-Home Exposure Case
PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court on Feb. 14 agreed to hear a woman's case claiming that state law imposes liability for take-home asbestos exposures, according to the court's docket (Mary Quiroz, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., et al., No. 16-0248, Ariz. Sup.).



Proximity Lacking In Take-Home Asbestos Case, Delaware High Court Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - A judge properly granted five defendants summary judgment after finding insufficient evidence that either a father or husband worked in proximity to asbestos-containing products, the Delaware Supreme Court held Feb. 6 (In re Asbestos Litigation, Wayne Reed, et al. v. Asbestos Corporation Limited, et al., No. 387, 2016, Del. Sup.).



Judge Reduces $22 Million Asbestos Damages Award, Nixes Recklessness Finding
NEW YORK - A plaintiff must agree to a reduced asbestos award of $7 million from $22 million and discontinue or drop his recklessness claim or face a new trial on those issues, a New York justice held Feb. 14 (Frank Gondar v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190079-2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



New York Auto-Parts Case Nets Mesothelioma Sufferer $75 Million Verdict
NEW YORK - A New York jury on Jan. 20 awarded $75 million to a husband and wife for mesothelioma he allegedly contracted as a result of asbestos exposure related to his love of cars and drag racing (Marlena F. Robaey and Edward Robaey v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 190276/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Washington Court Finds Duty In Take-Home Asbestos Case, Reinstates Full Award
SEATTLE - An asbestos-insulation installer's conduct and knowledge supports imposing a duty on it for take-home exposure of a woman who died on the eve of trial and a resulting $3.6 million verdict, a Washington appeals court on Jan. 23 (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 73748-1-I, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2017 Wash. App. LEXIS 111).



Court Affirms Judgments In Take-Home Asbestos Automobile Parts Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A man's evidence in a take-home exposure case alleges possible exposure from asbestos-containing automobile parts but never crosses into the probable, a California appellate panel held Feb. 2 (Billy S. Johnson v. ArvinMeritor, et al., No. A131975, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 762).



Judge: Notice, Lack Of Excusable Neglect Doom Timber Claim Against W.R. Grace
WILMINGTON, Del. - A timber company cannot pursue a claim against former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. that the company's land was contaminated with asbestos from W.R. Grace's mining operations near Libby, Mont., because the company received proper notice of the bankruptcy bar date for property damage claims and was aware that it had a potential claim, regardless of whether it was scientifically certain that its timber was contaminated, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge held Dec. 28 (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.; 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 4478).



Interpretation Of W.R. Grace Plan Makes Order Appealable, Hospital Tells Court
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal court has jurisdiction to hear a hospital's appeal of a bankruptcy court's refusal to reconsider denial of class certification for asbestos property damage claims against former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. because the order interpreted W.R. Grace's plan of reorganization, the hospital argues Jan. 4 in response to the company's bid to dismiss the appeal (Anderson Memorial Hospital v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 16-799, D. Del.).



Magistrate: Trust Claim Information Discoverable, But Not Settlements
NEW ORLEANS - Claim information submitted to asbestos trusts is discoverable in an asbestos personal injury action, but information about past settlements with asbestos trusts or defendants is not, a Louisiana federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 23 (Jesse Frank Sheppard v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-2401, E.D. La.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8595).



Bankruptcy Judge Puts End To Eagle Inc.'s Reorganization Attempt
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 4 dismissed the Chapter 11 case of former gasket and insulation seller Eagle Inc. after the debtor declined to contest an order to show why the case should not be terminated (In re: Eagle, Inc., No. 15-12437, E.D. La. Bkcy.).



Former Shareholders Seek Dismissal Of Eagle Inc.'s Fraudulent Transfer Action
NEW ORLEANS - An adversary action filed by Chapter 11 debtor Eagle Inc. accusing four members of a Louisiana family of fraudulently transferring Eagle's noninsurance assets to companies the family created while knowing that Eagle faced liability for thousands of asbestos claims should be terminated now that a federal bankruptcy court has dismissed Eagle's bankruptcy case, the defendants say in a Jan. 6 motion (In re: Eagle, Inc., No. 15-12437, [Eagle, Inc. v. Fred J. Schuber, III, et al., No. 2:16-ap-1040], E.D. La. Bkcy.).



3rd Circuit Accepts Direct Appeal In Row Between Insurers, Asbestos Claimants
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 20 that it will hear a direct appeal by 27 asbestos disease sufferers of a bankruptcy court's finding that their personal injury claims against insurers of reorganized Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. are barred (Continental Casualty Company, et al. v. Jeremy B. Carr, et al., No. 17-8002, 3rd Cir.).



Bankruptcy Judge Removes Payment Finding In Summary Judgment Ruling
NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 13 agreed with Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. that a finding that the debtor has not paid a sufficient amount for asbestos claims to reach the level of excess coverage provided under three insurance policies should not have been part of a prior summary judgment ruling (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).



Claimants Appeal Rejection Of Bid To Dismiss Cases Of 4 Energy Future Affiliates
WILMINGTON, Del. - Four asbestos personal injury claimants on Jan. 18 asked a Delaware federal judge to decide whether several affiliates of debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) had a valid bankruptcy purpose when filing their Chapter 11 petitions or whether they filed for bankruptcy as a litigation tactic to evade asbestos liabilities (Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 17-9, D. Del.).



Johns-Manville Affiliate Backs Order Barring Woman's Mesothelioma Claim
NEW YORK - A bankruptcy court properly exercised its jurisdiction when determining that a mesothelioma sufferer's premises liability claim against a subsidiary of Johns-Manville Corp. arose long before the subsidiary filed for bankruptcy protection and is therefore enjoined and channeled to Johns-Mansville's asbestos trust, the subsidiary argues in a Jan. 19 brief filed in a New York federal court appeal (Lynda Berry v. Graphic Packaging International, Inc., No. 16-5817, S.D. N.Y.).



Kaiser Gypsum Gets Extra Time To Present Plan For Reorganizing
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge in a Jan. 19 minute order gave Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. six more months to file a plan of reorganization that the debtor hopes will include a trust to resolve asbestos claims (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., at al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Liquidating Reichhold Gets More Time To Take Cases To Federal Court
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 6 granted a request by Liquidating Reichhold Inc. for more time to remove actions, including asbestos personal injury suits, to federal court (In re: Reichhold Holdings US, Inc., et al., No. 14-12237, D. Del. Bkcy.).



Judge Erred When Dismissing ASARCO's CERCLA Contribution Claim, 10th Circuit Says
DENVER - A federal judge in Utah erred when awarding summary judgment against ASARCO LLC on its claim for contribution under Section 113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) against Noranda Mining Inc., a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 3, holding that the plaintiff company did not make misrepresentations to a bankruptcy court when a company representative stated that $7.4 million was a fair share of its cleanup costs at Richardson Flat Superfund site in Utah (ASARCO LLC v. Noranda Mining Inc., No. 16-4045, 10th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11).



Split 6th Circuit: Kentucky Never Adopted Every-Exposure Causation Theory
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The state of Kentucky never clearly adopted the every-exposure asbestos causation theory, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 10 in affirming summary judgment for a joint compound maker (Carol Lee Stallings, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., et al., No. 15-6387, 6th Cir.).



New York Justice Denies Motion Seeking Exclusion Of Every-Exposure Testimony
NEW YORK - Experts in an asbestos case may make qualitative evaluations regarding exposure and need not precisely identify the quantity of exposure, a New York justice held in a Jan. 9 opinion denying defendants' wide-ranging motion (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Geraldine Andrews, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190034/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 12).



Court: Jury Properly Tasked With Determining 'Consumer' Of Asbestos Fibers
LOS ANGELES - A pipe manufacturer and its employees can properly be considered the ordinary consumers of asbestos fibers supplied for the use in the employer's product, a California appeals court held Dec. 21 (David Baeza, et al. v. Special Electric Company Inc., No. B264220, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9178).



FELA Asbestosis Settlement Doesn't Preclude Later Cancer Claim, Ohio Court Says
CLEVELAND - A Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) settlement involving nonmalignant asbestos disease improperly attempted to extinguish future claims and does not bar a man's lung cancer action, an Ohio appeals court held Dec. 22 (Richard C. Arpin v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 104279, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 5168).