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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®



 



Deadline Set In Manville Trust's Suit Over Thorpe Trust's Indemnification Claims
NEW YORK - The Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust in California has until Jan. 5 to answer or move to dismiss an adversary complaint filed by the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust in New York seeking a declaration that the Manville Trust is not obligated to indemnify the Thorpe Trust for thousands of paid asbestos personal injury claims, according to a stipulation and order filed Nov. 29 in New York federal bankruptcy court (Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust v. Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 1:17-ap-1186, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).



Asbestos Claimants Say Energy Future's Plan Cannot Be Confirmed
WILMINGTON, Del. - The revised plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) cannot be confirmed because its treatment of claimants who have not yet developed an asbestos disease is unlawful and it was proposed in bad faith, eight asbestos personal injury claimants tell the Delaware federal bankruptcy court in a Dec. 19 objection to the plan (In re Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).



Kaiser Gypsum Says It Has Reached Deal With Asbestos Claimants
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. saying it has reached an agreement in principle with asbestos claimants on a plan of reorganization, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge, in a minute order Dec. 13, gave the company three more months to file a plan (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Geo. V. Hamilton Expects To File Amended Plan, Disclosure Statement By Jan. 5
PITTSBURGH - With "extensive" negotiations taking place in the last month on a plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc., and with a lender agreeing to extend the maturity date on bankruptcy financing, the debtor expects to have the plan filed by Jan. 5 and confirmed by Feb. 28, the company said in requested status reports filed Dec. 14 and Nov. 29 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).



Administrator, Committee Spar Over Hiring Of 2 Law Firms For Bestwall Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Having two local law firms represent the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC will not result in a duplication of work or drive up costs but will actually lead to reduced costs to the bankruptcy estate, the committee argues in a Dec. 13 response to the U.S. bankruptcy administrator's opposition to the appointments by a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Dispute Over Interest Rate For W.R. Grace IRS Refund Heads To Mediation
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Internal Revenue Service and reorganized chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace & Co. must mediate the IRS's appeal of a bankruptcy judge's ruling awarding the company an additional $1.6 million tax refund, according to a minute order entered Nov. 22 in Delaware federal court (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 17-cv-1588, D. Del.).



Oakfabco Backs Asbestos Claimants' Pursuit Of Fraud Claims Against Insurer
CHICAGO - Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. gave the go-ahead Dec. 20 to asbestos claimants to pursue a nine-count fraudulent inducement complaint against Oakfabco insurers and a claims management company alleging that they knew that additional coverage was available for asbestos claims when the insurers attempted to settle with Oakfabco before it filed for bankruptcy (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).



Federal Bankruptcy Judge Denies Bid To Seal Sale Of Insolvent Insurer's Claims
NEW YORK - A federal bankruptcy judge in New York on Dec. 15 denied Rapid-American Corp.'s request to make details of a proposed sale of claims on defunct insurance company, Midland Insurance Co., confidential, saying it had not even tried to give reason for the secrecy (In re: Rapid-American Corp., Chapter 11, No. 13-10687, S.D. Bkcy. N.Y., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 4266).



Montana Supreme Court Creates Special Asbestos Docket
HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Supreme Court on Nov. 28 ordered the creation of an asbestos claims court to oversee pretrial proceedings in the state's more than 540 asbestos cases (In re: Asbestos Litigation, No. AC 17-0694, Mont. Sup.).



California Jury Adds $4.6M In Punitive Damages To $17.5M Asbestos-Talc Verdict
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on Dec. 11 added $4.6 million in punitive damages after finding two talc companies liable for $17.5 million in compensatory damages for a man's asbestos-related mesothelioma (Booker v. Vanderbilt Minerals, No. RG15796166, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).



Florida Jury Awards $6.93M In Asbestos Case Against Fiber Supplier
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Nov. 28 awarded $6,935,000 for a man's mesothelioma arising from exposure to Union Carbide Corp. asbestos in joint compound (Paula Font, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., No. 10-41578 CA 42, Fla. Cir., Maimi-Dade Co.).



New York Federal Jury Awards $64M To Insurer, Finds Reinsurer Is Liable
UTICA, N.Y. - A jury in a New York federal court on Dec. 15 awarded an insurer more than $64 million after finding that a reinsurer is liable under seven reinsurance agreements for sums the insurer paid to an insured in an asbestos claims settlement (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-00853, N.D. N.Y.).



New York Jury Awards $2M In Asbestos Case Against Jenkins Bros.
NEW YORK - A New York jury on Oct. 17 awarded $2 million to the estate of man exposed to asbestos in Jenkins Bros. Co. valves and held the company 4 percent liable for the man's fatal mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Donald Snowdale v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No.190202/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Coverage Triggered By Exposure To Asbestos, New York Justice Determines
NEW YORK - Coverage for underlying asbestos claims arising out of the construction of the original World Trade Center towers is triggered if the underlying claims allege that the exposure occurred during the construction of the towers even if the disease did not develop until years later, a New York County Supreme Court justice said Nov. 29, noting that the policy at issue provides coverage for any injury arising out of the construction project (American Home Assurance Co. v. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, et al., No. No. 651096/2012, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).



Insurer Owes Trustee $3.5M In Policy Limits, Attorney Fees For Coverage Dispute
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 entered a judgment of more than $3.5 million against an insurance company in a dispute over the amount of coverage owed to a company's liquidating trust for asbestos personal injury claims, including attorney fees and a $60,000 penalty for the insurer's "vexatious and unreasonable conduct" in the case (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., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3938).



Garlock, Safety National Dispute Policy Interpretation In Coverage Lawsuit
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A magistrate judge correctly found that an insurance policy does not provide for arbitration in a dispute with former Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC and affiliates over coverage for asbestos claims, the companies argue in a Nov. 9 response to the insurer's objections to the magistrate's ruling in North Carolina federal court (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00458, W.D. N.C.).



Insurers Seek Relief From Kaiser Gypsum's Stay To Pursue Costs In Coverage Row
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. sought relief Oct. 24 from the automatic stay in the debtor's case in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court so they can pursue the repayment of their costs from the debtor's primary insurer in a 15-year-old coverage action in a California state court (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Georgia-Pacific Subsidiary Bestwall Files For Bankruptcy Due To Asbestos Liabilities
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Georgia-Pacific affiliate Bestwall LLC filed a Chapter 11 petition Nov. 2 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court to create a trust to pay asbestos personal injury claims and receive an injunction forever barring future asbestos claims against the debtor, Georgia-Pacific and their dozens of affiliates (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Asbestos Claimants' Committee Named For Bestwall's Chapter 11 Case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 appointed the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the new Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC, selecting one of three claimants who requested to sit on the committee in addition to the nine claimants proposed by the U.S. bankruptcy administrator (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).



Utah Appeals Dismissal Of Suit Against 4 Trusts To Comply With Investigation
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah has appealed the dismissal of its fraud investigation lawsuit against four asbestos trusts to the Utah Supreme Court, which issued an order Nov. 9 saying it will transfer the case to the Utah Court of Appeals unless any party files a request for the high court to retain the case (State of Utah v. Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 20170887-SC, Utah Sup.).



Bankruptcy Court OKs Deal Between Texas Claimants, Pittsburgh Corning Trust
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 9 approved a settlement under which more than 2,000 asbestos claimants from a decades-old consolidated Texas litigation will share up to $178.5 million from the asbestos trust established in the Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) bankruptcy case (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).



Geo. V. Hamilton Continues Plan Discussions With Asbestos Claimants
PITTSBURGH - Negotiations between Chapter 11 debtor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc. and asbestos claimants on the company's proposed plan of reorganization continue, with the parties scheduled to file a report on their progress within a week, according to a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge's Nov. 17 minute order (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, E.D. Pa. Bkcy.).



Montana High Court Finds Bankruptcy Stay Tolled Asbestos Suits Against Railway
HELENA, Mont. - W.R. Grace's bankruptcy order enjoining new litigation tolled the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) three-year statute of limitations for suing an associated railroad that allegedly exposed a worker to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite, the Montana Supreme Court held Nov. 14 (Kelly G. Watson v. BNSF Railway Co., et al., No. DA 17-0229, Mont. Sup., 2017 Mont. LEXIS 678).



Los Angeles Jury Returns Asbestos Verdict For J&J, Talc Miner
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Nov. 16 returned a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson in the first ever cosmetic-talc asbestos case taken to trial against the company, while also handing a defense verdict to the company that mined the raw talc, sources told Mealey Publications (Tina Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC646315, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).



Boiler, Furnace Companies, Supply Houses Secure Verdict In Pa. Asbestos Trial
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania jury on Nov. 15 returned a defense verdict for a handful of boiler and furnace manufacturers and parts supply houses, finding that the asbestos-containing products in question were not unreasonably dangerous and that none of the five defendants acted negligently (Diane Horst, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 15 CV 1903, Pa. Comm. Pls., Lackawanna Co.).



Justice Reduces, But Otherwise Affirms Asbestos Verdict For Bus Driver
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An automotive parts company on Nov. 8 lost its bid for a new trial in a New York asbestos case brought on behalf of a school bus driver but succeeded in getting the verdict cut nearly in half to $3.47 million (The estate of Lewis Nash, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Company Inc., et al., No. 2012-000719, N.Y. Sup., Onondaga Co.).



California Jury Finds For Adhesives Company In Asbestos Trial
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Oct. 27 rejected claims that asbestos in a company's aerospace adhesives caused a woman's fatal mesothelioma, returning a defense verdict for Dexter Hysol Aerospace, sources told Mealey Publications (Velma Searcy v. 3M Co., et al., No. BC612205, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).



Pennsylvania Supreme Court Agrees To Address Asbestos Bare-Metal Defense
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 26 accepted a certified question from the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals under which it will decide whether manufacturers can be held liable for asbestos-containing parts they neither manufactured nor supplied and what standard determines liability if such a duty exists (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No VI) Crane Co., No. 110EM 2017, Pa. Sup.).



Federal Judge Vacates Even Split Of $20M Fee Award For Insurance Settlement
NEW YORK - While a $20 million attorney fee agreement for a settlement between an insurer and asbestos claimants does not say the money is to be divided unevenly among the four law firms that negotiated the settlement, it also does not say the fees are to be divided equally, a New York federal judge found Sept. 29 in reversing a bankruptcy court ruling awarding $5 million to each firm (Bevan & Associates, LPA, Inc., et al. v. Eric Bogdan, et al., No. 16-cv-7154, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164219).



Judge Tosses Utah's Suit Seeking To Force Trusts To Comply With Investigation
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's brief attempt at forcing four asbestos trusts to participate in the state's fraud investigation of the trusts ended Oct. 6 when a state judge dismissed the state's lawsuit on jurisdiction grounds, and on the merits, saying Utah exceeded its authority and issued investigative demands that are "overbroad" and "intrusive" (State of Utah v. Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 170901496, Utah 3rd Dist., Salt Lake Co.).



Pittsburgh Corning Trust To Pay Up To $178.5 Million In Deal With Claimants
PITTSBURGH - More than 2,000 asbestos claimants from a decades-old consolidated Texas litigation will share up to $178.5 million from the asbestos trust established in the Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) bankruptcy case, according to a notice and settlement filed Oct. 18 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).



N.Y. Court Told To Nix Asbestos Punitive Damages, Safeguard Trust Transparency
NEW YORK - An appeals court should vacate a provision of the new case management order allowing for punitive damages in asbestos cases and vacate or amend a provision governing how asbestos bankruptcy trust claims are handled, an amicus curiae group told the court on Oct. 10 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/1988 782000/2017, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).



Rapid-American Seeks Protective Order For Insurers' Subpoenas
NEW YORK - A declaratory insurance coverage action filed by Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. is not the proper vehicle for insurers to use in search of evidence of fraud in the asbestos trust system, the debtor says in an Oct. 20 motion and memorandum seeking protection from the insurers' subpoenas 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.).



Arbitration Not Available For Coverage Dispute Based On Policy, Judge Rules
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC does not have to arbitrate a dispute with an insurer over a policy's coverage for asbestos claims because an arbitration provision in the policy is deleted by another provision stating that the policy's terms must match those of an umbrella policy that contains no arbitration provision, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge held Oct. 12 (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00458, W.D. N.C.).



Oakfabco Rejects $9.7 Million Settlement With Asbestos Insurers
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Oct. 2 authorized Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. to reject a $9,783,000 settlement with asbestos insurers after the company said it is in the best interests of its bankruptcy estate to focus on confirming a plan of liquidation and have its "right and remedies" under the policies at issue determined afterward (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).



Interest Rate Ruling Boosts IRS Refund To W.R. Grace Debtors By $1.6 Million
WILMINGTON, Del. - Reorganized chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace & Co. will receive an additional $1.6 million tax refund from the U.S. government after a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge found Oct. 23 that the Internal Revenue Service used the wrong percentage rate when figuring the refund (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy, 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3679).



Honeywell, Ford Dispute Charges For Redaction Of Asbestos Claimants' Data
WILMINGTON, Del. - The cost of redacting personal information in asbestos claimants' data from nine bankruptcy trusts should not be borne by Honeywell International Inc. or Ford Motor Co., which are seeking the data to mine for evidence of fraud, based on the plain language of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the companies argue in an Oct. 2 brief on appeal in Delaware federal court (In re: Motions Seeking Access to 2019 Statements, No. 16-1078, D. Del.).



John Crane, Oregon Plaintiffs Square Off On $3M Punitive Damages Award
PORTLAND, Ore. - A jury properly awarded $3 in punitive damages against a company that sold asbestos-containing products without providing a warning, even while it was protecting its employees from exposure, plaintiffs told an Oregon court Sept. 29. But in an Oct. 3 reply, the company argues that the plaintiffs' claim was "flawed from inception" and that their argument in support ignores significant facts (Robert G. Sprague Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 15CV14771, Oregon Cir., Multnomah Co.).



Premises Owner Says $12.9M Asbestos Verdict Unfounded, Inconsistent
OAKLAND, Calif. - A jury's finding that a premises owner, but not the manufacturers of the products in question, is liable for a man's asbestos exposure is inconsistent and ignores the paucity of evidence of exposure, a food company told a California judge on Oct. 2 (Lanette Louise Lopez, et al. v. The Hillshire Brands Co., RG14721622, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).



Jury Awards $6.8 Million In 2nd Massachusetts Asbestos Trial
WOBURN, Mass. - For the second time in nine days, a Massachusetts jury on Sept. 29 handed down a multimillion asbestos verdict, this time handing $6.8 million to a widow who claims that her deceased husband suffered exposure while serving as a part-time insulator while in school (Amy Ross, et al. v. New England Insulation Co., et al., No. 13-5580, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.).



3rd Circuit: Maritime Negligence Claims Survive Asbestos Bare-Metal Defense
PHILADELPHIA - The bare-metal defense does not bar asbestos negligence actions under maritime law's "bedrock principle" of protecting sailors, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 3 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Roberta G. DeVries, et al. v. Buffalo Pumps Inc., et al., No. 16-2602, Shirley McAfee, et al. v. Ingersoll-Rand & Co., No. 16-2669, 3rd Cir.).