TRENTON, N.J. — Bankrupt Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary LTL Management LLC filed a supplemental brief Dec. 8 in New Jersey federal bankruptcy court following transfer of its injunctive relief adversary action from North Carolina, arguing that hundreds of nondebtor parties must be shielded from asbestos-talc claims in the tort system if it is going to have any chance at reorganizing.
TRENTON, N.J. — A request by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary and Chapter 11 debtor LTL Management LLC to create a qualified settlement fund to hold $2 billion from J&J for asbestos personal injury claimants should be rejected because it is an attempt to benefit J&J and other nondebtor affiliates “at the expense of the victims now suffering from their grave misconduct,” a committee of claimants says in a Dec. 8 objection in New Jersey federal bankruptcy court.
NEW ORLEANS — A jury in Louisiana state court on Nov. 17 returned a defense verdict in an asbestos case that was removed during jury deliberations and then remanded after a federal judge concluded that comments to the jury during closing arguments urging it find that the lone nondiverse defendant’s conduct was not a substantial cause of a man’s asbestos disease did not constitute abandonment of the claim, sources told Mealey Publications.
PITTSBURGH — Honeywell International Inc.’s bid to dismiss an adversary complaint of a former bankrupt affiliate’s asbestos trust should be rejected because Honeywell makes arguments in its motion showing that the allegations in the complaint are valid, the trust says in its Nov. 16 response in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Asbestos personal injury claimants and other creditors in the new Chapter 7 case of Nash Engineering Co. were given a deadline Nov. 29 to file proofs of claim in Connecticut federal bankruptcy court after the court-appointed Chapter 7 trustee reported that insurance coverage may be available to pay the claims.
HELENA, Mont. — An insurer breached it duty to defend when it offered Montana coverage on a pro rata basis for claims stemming from the state’s failure to warn about the dangers of asbestos the Libby, Mont., vermiculite mine and again when it unduly delayed in seeking a judicial declaration and is estopped from raising policy defenses in those instances, a divided Montana Supreme Court said Nov. 23 in largely affirming an almost $100 million judgment.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Nov. 2 denied a request by the Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants in the Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC to rehear his rejection of the committee’s interlocutory appeal of a personal injury questionnaire served on asbestos claimants but granted its request to withdraw his approval of the questionnaire because he never reached the merits of the appeal.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Asbestos claimants’ representatives in the Chapter 11 case of CertainTeed Corp. affiliate DBMP LLC have standing and authority to prosecute and settle claims on behalf of the debtor’s estate in relation to the corporate restructuring in which the debtor was created and then saddled with asbestos claims, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge ruled Nov. 3.
SEATTLE — A Washington state jury once again cleared John Crane Inc. of liability for a man’s asbestos-related disease, returning a verdict for the defendant on Nov. 5 after an appellate court reversed an earlier verdict in the company’s favor when it found that the instructions failed to allow the jury to find liability for either mesothelioma or lung cancer.
NEW YORK — An asbestos claims settlement allocation is “objectively reasonable” and a follow-the-settlements clause makes it binding on a reinsurer, an excess insurer argues in its Nov. 17 appellee brief, urging the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court’s ruling in its favor.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary on Nov. 3 ordered to be reported a measure preventing courts from releasing nondebtors’ liability through the bankruptcy of a subsidiary or otherwise staying tort actions against the nondebtor. The measure passed on a 23-17 vote and targets the so-called “Texas two-step bankruptcy” recently relied on by Johnson & Johnson and others in asbestos litigation, as well as attempts by pharmaceutical companies to avoid liability in the opioid setting.
MISSOULA, Mont. — The process of locating and releasing responsive documents in a suit involving asbestos screenings and Medicare benefits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Libby, Mont., is ongoing, and a motion to compel production is premature as there is no impasse between the parties, the United States says in an Oct. 26 opposition to the motion. But in its Nov. 9 reply, the railway says the suggestion it wait “a little longer” could see production in the almost 3-year-old case last “into perpetuity”
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana judge on Oct. 29 found for the family of a man allegedly exposed to asbestos in scrap used to pave a school’s playground and awarded them $5,336,702 while finding the school 5% liable.
NEW ORLEANS — Following a Louisiana federal judge’s administrative stay of an asbestos liability lawsuit from the date a Pennsylvania court declared one of the defendant’s insurers insolvent, another defendant on Nov. 10 asked that two other defendants’ motions for summary judgment be deferred until plaintiffs can be substituted as a party in an asbestos liability lawsuit.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — At best, a woman shows that her husband suffered de minimis exposure to asbestos from a gasket and clutch defendant, but the evidence against two other defendants lacks even that, a federal judge in North Carolina said Nov. 9 in granting three motions for summary judgment.
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The stay arising from LTL Management LLC’s bankruptcy does not include nondebtor Johnson & Johnson, and the court overseeing the bankruptcy specifically declined to extend it so that it would, a woman told the Kentucky Supreme Court on Nov. 1 in asking it to reinstate an asbestos-talc case.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Facing thousands of asbestos personal injury claims in courts across the country, The Nash Engineering Co., which was founded in 1905 and formerly made industrial vacuum pumps, filed a voluntary Chapter 7 petition Oct. 19 in Connecticut federal bankruptcy court.
PHILADELPHIA — The future claimants’ representative (FCR) in an asbestos bankruptcy case “should be held to the high standards that apply to a fiduciary representing an absent party,” as a Delaware federal bankruptcy court held in appointing an FCR for the Chapter 11 case of Imerys Talc America Inc., the U.S. trustee says in a Nov. 15 requested letter brief in insurers’ appeal of the FCR’s appointment in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
WILMINGTON, Del. — On remand from the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 3 issued an order setting a schedule for preparation of dispositive motions or a trial in about a year to determine what kind of services two insurers provided to former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. at a Montana asbestos mine.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson on Nov. 12 announced that it will split into two companies, one for drugs and medical devices and the other for consumer products like over-the-counter pain drugs and baby care products.