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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Asbestos Bankruptcy Legal News
Headline Asbestos Bankruptcy Legal News from LexisNexis®
Judges Dismiss John Crane's RICO Suits Against Lawyers For Lack Of Jurisdiction
CHICAGO - Illinois federal court is the wrong jurisdiction for John Crane Inc.'s fraud and racketeering claims against two law firms and their founders, two federal judges held separately March 23 in dismissing the company's lawsuits, but without prejudice to refile the actions in the proper courts (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 16-5913, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42758, John Crane Inc. v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, et al., No. 16-5918, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41840).
Geo. V. Hamilton Files Plan To Rid Itself Of Asbestos Claims Through Trust
PITTSBURGH - Chapter 11 debtor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc. filed a plan of reorganization March 31 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court under which the company will establish a multimillion trust to resolve its asbestos personal injury liabilities, according to the plan and its disclosure statement (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, E.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
Former Boilermaker Oakfabco Pushes Forward, Seeks Asbestos Claimants' Approval
CHICAGO - Defunct boiler manufacturer Oakfabco Inc., which is in its second round of bankruptcy, filed a plan of reorganization and the plan's disclosure statement March 31 in Illinois federal bankruptcy court, saying it plans to move forward with its proposal to liquidate its insurance assets and establish a multimillion dollar asbestos trust whether its settlements with several insurers are approved or not (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
Garlock Lobbies For Approval Of Joint Plan Establishing Asbestos Trust
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC should be confirmed because it meets all federal bankruptcy law requirements and is the best option for asbestos personal injury claimants, 95 percent of whom voted to accept the plan, the debtor says in its April 21 pre-confirmation hearing brief (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
Appeal Briefing Delayed Pending Energy Future's Plan Consummation
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on April 26 stayed briefing on an appeal filed by four asbestos personal injury claimants who say several affiliates of debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) did not have a valid bankruptcy purpose when filing their Chapter 11 petitions but rather 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.).
Asbestos Claimants Want District Court To Hear Oakfabco Insurance Dispute
CHICAGO - The Asbestos Claimants' Committee in the Chapter 11 case of Oakfabco Inc. asked a federal district court April 18 to take over a bankruptcy court dispute over the amount of money available to the debtor under two lost insurance policies (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
No Cause, Jurisdiction To Rehash Pittsburgh Corning Case, Texas Claimants Argue
PITTSBURGH - There is neither sufficient cause nor subject matter jurisdiction to reopen the Chapter 11 case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) at the request of the company's asbestos trust to determine whether thousands of claims from a consolidated Texas litigation qualify for payment by the trust, the claimants told a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court April 14 (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
2nd Circuit Dismisses Appeal Of Toxic Tort Plaintiffs' Tronox 'Derivative' Claims
NEW YORK - Because a federal court's ruling enforcing a permanent anti-suit injunction issued as part of a $5.5 billion settlement in the Chapter 11 case of Tronox Inc. is not a final order, it cannot be appealed by 4,300 individuals who say they were injured from the company's operation of a wood-treatment plant in Pennsylvania, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 20 (Avoca plaintiffs, et al. v. Kerr-McGee Corp., et al., No. 16-343, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6949).
Kaiser Gypsum Gets 2 More Months To Lay Out Plan To Reorganize
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on March 24 gave embattled Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. just two more months to file a plan of reorganization, with the debtor facing another call by an insurer to dismiss the case (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
Iowa Enacts Law Codifying Bare-Metal Defense, Bankruptcy Transparency
DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa became the first state to legislatively bar asbestos claims arising from third-party parts on March 23 after its governor signed legislation codifying the bare-metal and component parts doctrine. The law also requires additional transparency in asbestos-related trust filings, imposes medical criteria from bringing asbestos- and silica-related claims, restricts trial consolidation and negates certain forms of successor liability.
Jury Awards $81.5M After Asbestos Friction-Parts Trial In Washington State
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington jury awarded $81.5 million April 17 to a widow and her two daughters in their case alleging that their decedent suffered exposure to asbestos in automobile friction products, sources told Mealey's Publications (Gerri Coogan, et al. v. Genuine Parts Co., et al., No. 15-2-09504-3, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).
New York Jury Awards $16.5M For Woman's Asbestos-Tainted Talc Exposure
NEW YORK - A New York jury on April 7 returned a $16.5 million verdict and found the distributor of talc used in cosmetic talcum powder products 50 percent liable for a woman's mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Florence Nemeth v. Brenntag North America, No. 190138-2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
3rd Circuit Says Asbestos Exclusion Is Enforceable, Insurer Owes No Coverage
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 reversed a $36 million judgment entered against an insurer in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that an asbestos exclusion is not ambiguous and bars coverage for underlying asbestos-related claims filed against the insured (General Refractories Company v. First State Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3409, 3rd Cir.).
Texas Jury Awards $7.8M In Punitive Asbestos Damages Against Employer
DALLAS - A Texas jury on March 27 awarded nearly $9 million, including $7.8 million in punitive damages, to the family of a mechanical engineer who suffered occupational exposure to asbestos (Shirley Dickson v. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., No. DC-12-05995, Texas Dist., Dallas Co., 95th Dist.).
California Jury Awards $715,000 In Mesothelioma Case; Defendant 1 Percent Liable
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Feb. 3 returned a $715,000 verdict in an asbestos case arising from exposure in the U.S. Navy but held the lone remaining defendant, J.T. Thorpe & Son Inc., 1 percent liable, sources told Mealey Publications (Joseph W. Houpt, et al. v. AK Steel Corp., et al., No. BC617859, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
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.).
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).