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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Bankruptcy Legal News
Headline Asbestos Bankruptcy Legal News from LexisNexis®
Bankruptcy Judge Defines 'Future' Claims For Tronox Tort Trust
NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge on Dec. 14, at the request of the trustee for the Tronox Inc. Tort Claims Trust after being deluged with "future" tort claims, defined what a future tort claimant is and who can file claims against the trust in the "Future Tort Claims" category (In re: Tronox Incorporated, et al., No. 09-10156, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.; 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 4274).
Energy Future Judge Nixes Asbestos Claimants' Bid To Dismiss Affiliates' Cases
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Dec. 19 rejected a request by four asbestos personal injury claimants to dismiss the Chapter 11 cases of several affiliates of debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) after finding that the cases were filed in good faith (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.; 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 4355).
U.S. Trustee Seeks Dismissal Of Eagle Inc.'s Chapter 11 Case
NEW ORLEANS - The Chapter 11 case of former gasket and insulation seller Eagle Inc. should be dismissed for lack of prosecution and because the debtor has little chance at rehabilitation, the U.S. trustee told a Louisiana federal bankruptcy court Dec. 14 (In re: Eagle, Inc., No. 15-12437, E.D. La. Bkcy.).
Insurers Call Garlock's Plan 'Vague, Uncertain And Contradictory'
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The restructuring plan for Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC cannot be confirmed because it does not make clear which asbestos claims will be channeled to a $480 million trust and impermissibly excludes insurers' indemnification claims under prior settlements, insurance companies argue in three of the four objections to the plan filed Dec. 9 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
Canadian Boards Can Delay Voting On Garlock Plan Pending Settlement Ruling
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Canada's 10 provincial workers' compensation boards on Dec. 9 got more time from a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge to vote on the Chapter 11 plan for Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC so they can finalize a $20 million settlement with the debtor and related companies of the boards' claims for payments made to 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.).
Asbestos Committee, Insurer Spar Over Coverage Available To Oakfabco
CHICAGO - Under settled Illinois law, the maximum possible recovery from an insurer to Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. for asbestos claims is $20 million, so any settlement of coverage disputes between the insurer and the debtor must be based on that amount, the Asbestos Claimants' Committee (ACC) in Oakfabco's case says in a Dec. 8 response to the insurer's request for summary judgment in federal bankruptcy court (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
Appeal In W.R. Grace Adversary Case Withdrawn From Mediation
WILMINGTON, Del. - An appeal by 27 asbestos disease sufferers of a bankruptcy court's finding that their personal injury claims against insurers of Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. are barred will not be resolved through mediation, a Delaware federal judge ruled Dec. 13, agreeing with a magistrate judge that the issues involved "are not amenable to mediation" (Jeremy B. Carr, et al. v. Continental Casualty Company, et al., No. 16-1010, D. Del.).
John Crane Says Law Firm Fails On All Grounds For Dismissal Motion
CHICAGO - John Crane Inc. (JCI) urged an Illinois federal court Dec. 2 to reject all grounds for a Philadelphia asbestos plaintiffs' law firm's request for dismissal of JCI's claims that the firm fabricated false exposure histories in a scheme to defraud the company, arguing that the court has jurisdiction and that JCI states valid fraud and racketeering claims against the firm (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 16-5913, N.D. Ill.).
Trust, FCRs Dispute Changes To Rule 2019 Access For Honeywell, Ford
WILMINGTON, Del. - An asbestos personal injury trust and two representatives of future asbestos claimants on Dec. 15 asked a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge to reconsider or vacate an order allowing the release of asbestos trust claimant information to Honeywell International Inc. and Ford Motor Co. while eliminating a full review and redaction process for the information (In re W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139; In re Owens Corning, No. 00-3837; In re Armstrong World Industries, Inc., No. 00-4471; In re USG Corp., No. 01-2094; In re US Minerals Products Company, No. 01-2471; In re Kaiser Aluminum Corp., No. 02-10429; In re ACandS, Inc., No. 02-12687; In re Combustion Engineering, Inc., No. 03-10495; In re The Flintkote Company, No. 04-11300, D. Del. Bkcy.).
New York Housing Authority: Denial Of Restitution Claims Should Be Reversed
NEWARK, N.J. - A bankruptcy judge failed to properly apply New York law, misconstrued how to apply the elements of restitution and improperly made numerous credibility determinations in rejecting the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) asbestos property damage claims against former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc., the authority says in its opening brief on appeal in New Jersey federal court (New York City Housing Authority v. G-I Holdings Inc., No. 2:16-cv-7320, D. N.J.).
W.R. Grace Says Lack Of Jurisdiction Dooms Hospital's Appeal
WILMINGTON, Del. - A South Carolina hospital cannot, as a matter of law, challenge a bankruptcy court's refusal to reconsider its denial of class certification for asbestos property damage claims against former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co, so its appeal should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, W.R. Grace argues in a Nov. 9 motion in Delaware federal court (Anderson Memorial Hospital v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 16-799, D. Del.).
Bankruptcy Court Exceeded Jurisdiction, Woman Suing Johns-Manville Affiliate Says
NEW YORK - A bankruptcy court exceeded its jurisdiction when determining which exposures to asbestos caused a woman's mesothelioma, so its order enjoining her premises liability claims against a subsidiary of Johns-Manville Corp. should be reversed, the woman argued Nov. 14 in her appeal in New York federal court (Lynda Berry v. Graphic Packaging International, Inc., No. 16-5817, S.D. N.Y.).
Mississippi Court: FELA Award Not Subject To Offsets For Asbestos Trust Recoveries
JACKSON, Miss. - A railroad cannot offset a $50,000 Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) asbestos verdict with monies collected from asbestos bankruptcy trusts, a divided Mississippi Court of Appeals held Dec. 13 (Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Bennie Oakes, deceased, by and through Clara Hagan, his representative, No. 2015-CA-00644-COA, Miss. App.).
Judge OKs Settlement Between Liquidator And Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
CONCORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire judge on Dec. 12 approved a $13 million settlement agreement between the liquidator of an insolvent insurer and an asbestos personal injury trust formed under a bankrupt company's reorganization plan (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
Jury Hands Talc Maker Defense Verdict In Asbestos Case
LOS ANGELES - A California jury hearing an asbestos-tainted talc case returned a defense verdict for Colgate-Palmolive Co. on Nov. 29, according to the court's docket (Anna Blount v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., et al., No. BC617806, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
Divided Arkansas High Court: Workers' Comp Exclusivity Bars Asbestos Tort Action
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Because the state's workers' compensation system contemplates coverage for mesothelioma, the law's exclusivity provision bars a tort action against an employer, even where the disease arose outside the period for filing a claim, the Arkansas Supreme Court held Dec. 15 in a 4-3 opinion (Brenda Hendrix, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. CV-15-558, Ark. Sup.).
California High Court Finds Duty To Prevent Household Asbestos Exposures
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California imposes a duty on employers and premises owners to prevent reasonably foreseeable asbestos exposures to household members, the state Supreme Court held Dec. 1 (Johnny Blaine Kesner v. Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda, No. S219534, Haver v. BNSF, No. S219919, Calif. Sup.).
Georgia Top Court: Manufacturer Had No Duty To Warn Of Take-Home Exposures
ATLANTA - A manufacturer of asbestos-containing pipe had no duty to warn about the potential danger of take-home exposures, Georgia's top court held Nov. 30, while finding that such a duty would be impractical in practice and would unreasonably shift responsibility to the product user (CertainTeed Corp. v. Fletcher, No. S151903, Ga. Sup.).
Judge Vetoes Eagle's Disclosure Statement, Sets Hearing On Dismissal Of Case
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 18 rejected the disclosure statement for the plan of reorganization of Chapter 11 debtor Eagle Inc. and ordered the company to show why the case should not be dismissed for failure to file a disclosure statement or a feasible reorganization plan (In re: Eagle, Inc., No. 15-12437, E.D. La. Bkcy.).
Judge: Honeywell, Ford Can Use Asbestos Claimants' Data From 9 Bankruptcies
WILMINGTON, Del. - Honeywell International Inc. and Ford Motor Co. can access asbestos claimants' data in nine Chapter 11 cases, but only to investigate fraud in the claims process, and the information cannot be used for lobbying efforts, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge held Nov. 8 (In re W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139; In re Owens Corning, No. 00-3837; In re Armstrong World Industries, Inc., No. 00-4471; In re USG Corp., No. 01-2094; In re US Minerals Products Company, No. 01-2471; In re Kaiser Aluminum Corp., No. 02-10429; In re ACandS, Inc., No. 02-12687; In re Combustion Engineering, Inc., No. 03-10495; In re The Flintkote Company, No. 04-11300, D. Del. Bkcy.).
John Crane Says Law Firm's Arguments For Dismissal Don't Hold Water
CHICAGO - Asbestos personal injury law firm Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett provides no basis in three motions for an Illinois federal court to dismiss fraud, conspiracy and racketeering allegations leveled by John Crane Inc. (JCI), and the claims are sufficiently pleaded to survive the motions, JCI says in a Nov. 11 response brief (John Crane Inc. v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, et al., No. 16-5918, N.D. Ill.).
Kaiser Gypsum Wards Off Asbestos Claimants' Attempt To Transfer Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge, in a Nov. 22 minute order, denied a request by five asbestos personal injury claimants to transfer the recent Chapter 11 case of former gypsum plaster and wallboard manufacturer Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., at al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
Insurer Loses Bid For Judgment On Liquidating Trust's Payment Claims
OAKLAND, Calif. - An asbestos personal injury liquidating trust properly submitted proposals to an insurer regarding the payment of allowed claims that triggered the insurer's policies and did not violate two debtors' plan of reorganization by allocating to the insurer 100 percent of the liquidated value of each approved unpaid claim, a California federal bankruptcy judge held Nov. 21 (In re CFB Liquidating Corporation, f/k/a Chicago Fire Brick Co., et al., No. 01-45483, [Barry A. Chatz, as Trustee for the CFB/WFB Liquidating Trust v. Continental Casualty Company, No. 15-4136] N.D. Calif. Bkcy.; 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 4034).
Insurers Claim Asbestos Lawyers Facilitate Double Dipping, Seek Injunction
GALVESTON, Texas - Insurers on Nov. 4 asked a federal judge in Texas to enjoin five law firms from distributing the proceeds from asbestos actions, saying the firms collected millions from tortfeasers while helping thousands of clients sidestep health insurance contract reimbursement provisions (Humana Inc., et al. v. Brent W. Coon P.C., a/k/a Brent Coon & Associates, et al., No. 16-240, S.D. Texas).
Plaintiffs Appeal Ruling That Claims Against W.R. Grace Insurers Are Barred
WILMINGTON, Del. - Twenty-seven asbestos disease sufferers on Nov. 14 asked a Delaware federal court to decide if a bankruptcy judge erred in finding that their state law personal injury claims against insurers of Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. are barred by an injunction in W.R. Grace's plan of reorganization (Continental Casualty Company, et al. v. Jeremy B. Carr, et al., No. 16-1010, D. Del.).
Liquidator Asks Court To Approve Settlement Of Asbestos Claims
CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a New Hampshire court on Nov. 21 to approve a $13.8 million settlement agreement with a bankrupt company's asbestos personal injury trust (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
Kaiser Gypsum Affiliates, Insurers Receive Protection From Asbestos Claims
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Asbestos personal injury claimants cannot pursue claims against dozens of affiliates and insurers of Chapter 11 debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. (HPCI) after a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge issued a preliminary injunction Nov. 4 enjoining the claims to protect the bankruptcy estates (Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al. v. Those Parties Listed on Appendix A to Complaint, No. 16-3313, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
Bankruptcy Judge Names Asbestos Committee, FCR In Kaiser Gypsum Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Oct. 19 approved an 11-member asbestos claimants' committee and a representative for future asbestos claimants in the recent Chapter 11 case of Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and affiliate Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. (HPCI) (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., at al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
New York Housing Authority Appeals Summary Judgment Ruling For G-I Holdings
NEWARK, N.J. - The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) on Nov. 2 asked a New Jersey federal court to decide if a bankruptcy judge correctly found that the authority cannot pursue asbestos property damage claims against former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. because the authority's allegations fail to meet the required elements for indemnity or restitution (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
Oil And Mining Provider Cape Warns That January Trial Could Threaten Trust
WEST DRAYTON, England - Oil and mining industrial services company Cape PLC announced Nov. 18 that a changing legal landscape means potential damages from an upcoming January trial over liabilities for a former asbestos factory could exceed expectations, potentially endangering a payment scheme designed to compensate injured workers and their family members.
Iowa Jury Hands Maker Of Brake-Grinding Machine Verdict In Asbestos Case
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - An Iowa jury on Nov. 15 cleared a company of liability for a man's alleged exposure to asbestos dust created when he used its machine to grind asbestos-containing brakes (Paul and Yvette McCulley v. American Honda Motor Co., et al., No. 06571LACV079746, Iowa Cir., 6th Dist., Linn Co.).
California Jury Hits Talc Supplier With $18M Asbestos Verdict
LOS ANGELES - A talc company on Oct. 26 avoided punitive damages by settling an asbestos case after a California jury hit it with a reported record $18,070,000 in damages for a political figure's mesothelioma (Philip John Depoian, et al. v American International Industries Inc., et al., No. BC607192, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
California Jury Awards $7,042,333 To Man For Mesothelioma
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Oct. 24 awarded a man who emigrated from Italy $7,042,333 for mesothelioma arising from asbestos exposure in construction industry products and found a joint compound manufacturer 25 percent liable, sources told Mealey's Publications (Peter LaMonica, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., et al., No. BC604809, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
Asbestos Claims Force Kaiser Gypsum, Affiliate Into Chapter 11
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former gypsum plaster and wallboard manufacturer Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. filed a Chapter 11 petition Sept. 30 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court along with cement company affiliate Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. (HPCI) to resolve thousands of asbestos personal injury claims filed against the debtors (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
Eagle Accuses Former Shareholders Of Illegally Transferring Assets
NEW ORLEANS - Former gasket and insulation distributor Eagle Inc. filed a six-count adversary action in its Chapter 11 case Sept. 21 in federal bankruptcy court, alleging that four members of a Louisiana family fraudulently transferred Eagle's noninsurance assets to companies the family created with full knowledge that Eagle faced liability for thousands of asbestos personal injury 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.).
Judge Upholds Denial Of Class Certification For Unmanifested Asbestos Claims
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 28 affirmed a bankruptcy court's denial of class certification for holders of possible future asbestos injury claims against Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp., holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the proposed class would not be superior to individual litigation (Michael Cunningham, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 15-1218, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133167).
Judge Dismisses Appeal Of Future Claimants Of Energy Future's Failed Plan
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 26 dismissed an appeal by potential asbestos claimants of the plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) after finding that the plan is null and void because it was never consummated (Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1183, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131217).
Insurers Appeal Denial Of Bids To Dismiss Eagle's Case, Appoint Trustee
NEW ORLEANS - Two insurance companies filed issues on appeal Oct. 12 and 10, asking a Louisiana federal court to decide if a bankruptcy judge erred in refusing to dismiss the Chapter 11 petition of Eagle Inc. or to appoint a trustee for the case, saying the insurers made an "unrebutted showing" that company insiders committed "fraud and dishonesty" and filed the petition in bad faith (In re: Eagle, Inc., No. 15-12437, E.D. La. Bkcy.).
Only 2 Claims Against W.R. Grace Insurers Survive Summary Judgment
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two claimants in Libby, Mont., seeking to hold insurers of W.R. Grace & Co. liable for their asbestos injuries can pursue negligence and bad faith claims in state court against an insurer based on workers' compensation policies not covered by W.R. Grace's Chapter 11 reorganization; however, similar claims in other state court actions are barred by an injunction in W.R. Grace's case channeling asbestos claims to a trust for resolution, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge ruled Oct. 17 (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139 [Ralph Hutt and Carl Osborn v. Maryland Casualty Company, No. 14-50867], [Continental Casualty Company, et al. v. Jeremy B. Carr, et al., No. 15-50766], D. Del. Bkcy.).
Insurers Dispute Debtor's Attempt To Vacate Policy Exhaustion Finding
NEW YORK - A bid by Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. to vacate a finding that it has not paid a sufficient amount for asbestos claims to reach the level of excess coverage provided under three insurance policies should be rejected because the debtor is improperly trying to reargue the issue with a revised legal strategy, insurers assert in separate Oct. 18 response briefs in New York federal bankruptcy court (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
Bankruptcy Judge Sets Energy Future Debtors' Estimated Liability At $17.2M
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge issued an order Oct. 12 estimating the maximum value of asbestos personal injury claims against certain subsidiaries of Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) at $17.2 million (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
Hospital Presents Issues In Appeal Of Class Certification Rejection
WILMINGTON, Del. - A South Carolina hospital on Sept. 22 asked a Delaware federal court to decide whether a bankruptcy court erred when it denied the hospital's request for certification of a class of property owners asserting asbestos property damage claims against W.R. Grace & Co. (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 16-799, D. Del.).
Geo. V. Hamilton Gets Funding To Pay Insurance Premiums
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Oct. 13 approved a request by Chapter 11 debtor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc. to finance more than $250,000 to pay insurance premiums so the company can maintain coverage under four polices (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, E.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
Bankruptcy Judge Closes Pittsburgh Corning's Chapter 11 Case
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Oct. 13 entered a final decree closing the 16-year-old Chapter 11 case of glass and insulation maker Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
Bankruptcy Judge Extends Oakfabco's Plan Deadline, But Only For A Month
CHICAGO - Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. has more time to file a plan of liquidation, but not as much as it sought, with an Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 26 extending the filing deadline a month, rather than the three months that Oakfabco asked for (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
Judge Says Asbestos Trust Should Not Be Forced To Fund Litigation Against Itself
CONCORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire judge on Sept. 23 ruled that the liquidator of an insolvent insurer cannot deduct what is owed to an asbestos settlement trust from money the liquidator pays for the legal expenses of California's insurance guarantor in a suit against the asbestos trust (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
Florida Jury Awards $9M In Bystander Asbestos Case
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Sept. 27 awarded $9,019,265.69 to the widow of a man who suffered bystander exposure to asbestos, sources told Mealey Publications (Rosa-Maria Britt, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., No. 2012-30637-CA-01, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
Judge Rejects Challenge To Duty To Warn About Third-Party Asbestos Parts
PHILADELPHIA - The argument that a valve company did not have a duty to warn about the dangers of third-party asbestos parts ignores both a previous ruling in the case and legal precedent, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Sept. 28 in affirming a $1,085,000 million verdict (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).
New York Court: Asbestos Awards Excessive, But Otherwise Supported
NEW YORK - A New York appellate court on Oct. 6 reduced two awards in asbestos cases but said the evidence otherwise supported the verdicts against Crane Co. (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation; Laraine Sweberg, etc. v. ABB Inc., et al., Crane Co., No. 190017/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).