PHILADELPHIA — The question of whether the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to hear an appeal of a bankruptcy court’s denial of certification for a class of property owners seeking damages for asbestos from former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. will be decided along with the merits of the appeal, a Third Circuit panel ruled Jan. 10 (In re Grace & Co., et al., No. 18-1960, 3rd Cir.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal judge in a Jan. 4 minute order agreed with former asbestos insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. that a bankruptcy court’s orders approving settling insurers’ buyback of policies in settlements with the debtor should be stayed until Fraser’s confirmation hearing (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., Nos. 3:18-cv-5637 and 3:18-cv-05638, W.D. Wash.).
TRENTON, N.J. — An appeal over whether a bankruptcy judge erred in appointing a future claimants’ representative (FCR) for asbestos claimants in Duro Dyne National Corp.’s Chapter 11 case was put on hold Dec. 31 by a New Jersey federal judge due to the partial shutdown of the federal government (Andrew R. Vara v. Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 3:18-cv-15563, D. N.J.).
ROME, Ga. — With the apparent backing of a Georgia federal bankruptcy judge, the U.S. trustee in the new Chapter 11 case of The Fairbanks Co. on Dec. 31 proposed “shifting the paradigm away from decades of established practice” and opening the process for selecting a future claimants’ representative (FCR) to a field of candidates, rather than just the one candidate proposed by the debtor (In re The Fairbanks Company, No. 18-41768, N.D. Ga. Bkcy.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Dec. 18 approved a $12.4 million settlement between Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. and the last remaining insurers challenging the company’s reorganization efforts that will provide additional funding for an asbestos trust (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7 allowed the leading advocacy group for the plaintiffs’ bar to argue in support of nine asbestos bankruptcy trusts in their fight to stave off an appeal filed by Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., which demand “full access” to trust claimants’ data in search of fraud (In re: AC&S, Inc., et al., No. 18-1951, 3rd Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 17 granted a motion by an asbestos insurer filed the same day to dismiss its appeal in its failed attempt to arbitrate a coverage dispute with reorganized Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 18-2088, 4th Cir.).
ROME, Ga. — New Chapter 11 debtor The Fairbanks Co. criticized the U.S. trustee Dec. 17 for his objection to the appointment of a longtime asbestos claimants’ delegate as future claimants’ representative (FCR) for the case, saying the trustee is wasting time for no good reason when the company just wants to begin reorganizing (In re The Fairbanks Company, No. 18-41768, N.D. Ga. Bkcy.).
EUREKA, Calif. — Despite finding that a woman encountered asbestos from defective Johnson & Johnson baby powder, a California jury on Nov. 14 found that the exposure was not a substantial factor in causing her mesothelioma (Carla Allen v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. DR180132, Calif. Super., Humboldt Co.).
NEW YORK — With a settlement pending between two insurers and Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. over asbestos insurance coverage, the debtor tells a New York federal bankruptcy judge in a Dec. 13 filing that allowing summary judgment motions on two issues will go a long way toward resolving the rest of the case against the only remaining insurer defendant (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A bankruptcy court’s approval of settlements between Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. and several asbestos insurers should be affirmed because the court properly allowed the policies at issue to be sold back to the insurers “free and clear” of contribution and breach of contract claims by nonsettling insurers, the debtor says in a Nov. 20 Washington federal court brief on appeal (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., Nos. 3:18-cv-5637 and 3:18-cv-05638, W.D. Wash.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A determination when a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization is substantially consummated is a question of fact to be made based on a U.S. Bankruptcy Code provision, so an asbestos debtor’s inclusion of a predetermined consummation date in its plan is not appropriate, a Washington federal bankruptcy held Dec. 4 in sustaining objections from insurers (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 3804).
TRENTON, N.J. — Did a bankruptcy judge err in appointing Lawrence Fitzpatrick as the future claimants’ representative (FCR) for Duro Dyne National Corp.’s Chapter 11 case? This question is one of several issues in the U.S. trustee’s appeal of Fitzpatrick’s appointment, the trustee says in a Dec. 3 filing in New Jersey federal bankruptcy court (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Railcars outfitted with asbestos insulation caused a man’s mesothelioma, a federal jury in Kansas held Dec. 10 in awarding $139,500 (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An insurer had no reason to believe that it was liable for a defunct company’s asbestos liabilities until after entry of default judgment and has shown that it could possibly raise a meritorious defense, a California appeals court held Dec. 11 in setting aside millions of dollars in judgments (William Mechling v. Asbestos Defendants, et al., James Greely v. Asbestos Defendants, et al., Omar Barstad v. Lamons Gasket Co., et al., Alexander Corns v. Amcord Inc., et al., Nos. A150132, A150134, A150125, A150138, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
TROY, Mich. — A subsidiary of commercial vehicle and industrial products maker Meritor Inc. is planning a “prepackaged” Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to shed its asbestos liabilities through a Section 524(g) trust — if it wins approval of voting asbestos personal injury claimants, the parent company said in a Dec. 4 news release.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An asbestos defendant’s dissolution is not the same as a bankruptcy and does not put it within an exception to the bar on direct suits against insurers of alleged tortfeasors, a Rhode Island justice said Nov. 19 (Shirley D’Amico, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 2012-0403, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation, 2018 R.I. Super. LEXIS 103).
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on Nov. 28 denied a petition for review in a case where a lower court applied Kansas law over the law of two other states in an asbestos friction-parts case, while conceding that it made proving causation a “near impossibility” (Gerald Hake v. Allied Fluid Products Corp., et al., No S252135, Calif. Sup.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Testimony that a man worked on, and around others working on, automobile engines in enclosed spaces and evidence that the vast majority of cylinder head gaskets contained asbestos during that time are sufficient to deny a company summary judgment, a couple told the Delaware Supreme Court on Nov. 27 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Philip Lavelle, et al. v. Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, et al., No. N16C-03-079 ASB, Del. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A divided New York Court of Appeals on Nov. 27 affirmed a ruling setting aside an $11 million asbestos verdict, finding that the evidence did not support the conclusion that Ford Motor Co.’s products were the proximate cause of a man’s fatal mesothelioma under Parker v. Mobil Oil Corp. (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Juni, etc. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. APL-2017-00114, N.Y. App.).