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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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).
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.).