BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama did not err in admitting expert testimony that all significant asbestos exposures contribute to mesothelioma nor in concluding that an employer can be liable for exposing household members to asbestos, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 26 (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 12-S-1930, N.D. Ala., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130741).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania jury on March 29 awarded a man suffering from asbestos-related laryngeal cancer $220,000 and found the lone remaining defendant, John Crane Inc., one of three liable parties, sources told Mealey Publications (William Murray, et al. v. Durametallic Corp., et al., No. 150701334, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
NEW YORK — A New York jury on May 3 found that boiler company Burnham LLC was not liable for failing to warn about the dangers of asbestos and was not a substantial factor in a man’s mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications. The justice presiding over the case had previously allowed experts to testify to what Burnham characterized as the opinion that “every exposure” to asbestos caused disease (Jeanne Evans, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190109/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Connecticut jury on March 17 found for a special materials company in a man’s case alleging exposure to asbestos fibers that escaped from the company’s facility (Audrey Gough, et al. v. Rogers Corp., et al., No. FBT-CV-15-6049135-S, Conn. Super., Fairfield at Bridgeport).
JACKSON, Tenn. — A divided Tennessee Court of Appeals panel vacated a $4.6 million take-home asbestos verdict May 12, finding that the jury instructions improperly allowed a jury to find negligence without first finding a defective product. All three judges questioned precedent governing how the state’s courts decide whether a duty exists to prevent harm (Joyce and Ronnie Stockton v. Ford Motor Co., No. W2016-01175-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2017 Tenn. App. LEXIS 308).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana jury on April 11 returned a defense verdict in an asbestos case claiming that a former contractor developed mesothelioma and died after exposures at an ExxonMobil Corp. facility, sources told Mealey Publications (Thomas H. Hayden and Jaqueline S. Hayden v. 3M Co., et al., No. 15-03732, La. Dist., Orleans Parish).
NEW YORK — The Quigley Asbestos Personal Injury Trust approved 13,865 asbestos personal injury claims out of the 44,995 claims filed in 2016 and paid more than $60 million to settle the claims, according to the trust’s annual report filed April 26 in New York federal bankruptcy court (In re Quigley Co. Inc., No. 04-15739, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Plant Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, which had more than $235 million in net claimants’ equity at the end of 2016, paid 306 of the 1,094 claims received last year and made settlement offers on 459 claims, according to the trust’s annual report filed April 26 in California federal bankruptcy court (In re Plant Insulation Company, No. 09-31347, N.D. Calif. Bkcy.).
PITTSBURGH — More than 2,000 asbestos claimants from a decades-old consolidated Texas litigation and the trustees of the $3.6 billion Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) asbestos trust will mediate their dispute over whether Pittsburgh Corning’s Chapter 11 case should be reopened so a bankruptcy judge can decide if the claimants qualify for payment by the trust, according to a May 18 mediation referral order filed in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
CHICAGO — A federal judge will not decide a dispute over the amount of money available to Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. to pay asbestos claims under two lost insurance policies after the judge on May 17 granted the Asbestos Claimants’ Committee’s request to withdraw its motion to move the dispute from bankruptcy court (Asbestos Claimants Committee v. Oakfabco Inc., et al., No. 17-03336, N.D. Ill.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — The W.R. Grace & Co. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust paid 400 prebankruptcy petition liquidated asbestos personal injury claims and 22,240 unliquidated claims in 2016, with payments for both kinds of claims totaling $193.48 million for the year, according to the trust’s annual report filed April 27 in Delaware federal bankruptcy court (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust contained more than $3.6 billion at the end of 2016 and began processing claims March 21, according to the trust’s annual report, filed April 27 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — The asbestos personal injury trust established in General Motors Corp.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case paid about $17.6 million to 1,074 claimants last year, according to the trust’s annual report filed April 28 in New York federal bankruptcy court (In re: Motors Liquidation Co., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An insurance coverage dispute over two polluted sites in Oregon and Washington between Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. and its insurers will not be decided by a North Carolina bankruptcy court after the court remanded the case May 16 (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — General Motors LLC’s bid for declaratory relief against the asbestos trust established in Johns-Manville Corp.’s landmark Chapter 11 case should be dismissed as premature or because the relief sought is “unambiguously enjoined” by protective injunctions issued in the bankruptcy case, the Johns-Manville trust said May 12 (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.).
PHILADELPHIA — Less than two months after having its fraud and racketeering claims against two law firms and their founders dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, John Crane Inc. (JCI) filed the identical claims against one of the firms and its principals in Pennsylvania federal court May 15 (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 2:17-cv-02210, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal bankruptcy judge on May 15 declined to award summary judgment to either Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. or one of its insurers in a dispute over whether a policy has a $7 million or $14 million limit for asbestos liability claims, saying the policy is too ambiguous to interpret at this stage (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A trial court erred by releasing an asbestos settlement trust of any duty to pay a law firm for work on a claim filed with an insolvent insurer despite finding that the firm performed some uncompensated work on that claim for which a promise to pay was implied, a Minnesota panel held May 8 (Faricy Law Firm, P.A., v. API Inc., Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. A16-1539, Minn. App., 2017 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 421).
NEWARK, N.J. — A dispute among several companies, including former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc., over who should pay for the cleanup of a 26-acre polluted industrial site in New Jersey does not belong in federal bankruptcy court, a federal judge ruled May 5 in agreeing to remand the case to state court (G-I Holdings Inc., et al. v. Ashland Inc., et al., No. 17-0077, D. N.J.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge on May 1 declined to decide a request by former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. to enforce its reorganization plan injunction to bar indemnification claims for cleanup of a polluted industrial site, saying G-I’s appeal of a remand order in the dispute deprives her of jurisdiction (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 1194).