CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A bankruptcy judge got both a jurisdictional ruling and a preliminary injunction decision correct in the Chapter 11 case of Georgia-Pacific affiliate Bestwall LLC, which is being challenged by asbestos claimants’ representatives who say the case is the result of an improper corporate restructuring of the paper products giant, the debtor and Georgia-Pacific say in appellee briefs filed May 15 in North Carolina federal court (Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants of Bestwall LLC v. Bestwall LLC, No. 3:20-cv-103, Sander L. Esserman v. Bestwall LLC, No. 3:20-cv-105,W.D. N.C.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Deciding questions over the Georgia-Pacific corporate restructuring that led to a new affiliate holding the bag for the company’s asbestos claims and whether the affiliate can now reorganize in the Chapter 11 process to forever resolve the claims is apparently in the hands of a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge after a mediator on May 5 checked the box for “Impasse” in his report following recent settlement conferences (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. on May 1 asked a New York federal bankruptcy court to allow it to sell its rights to priority claims in an insolvent insurer’s liquidation case for more than $1.2 million, or about 23 percent of what the claims were originally worth under a 2012 settlement (In re: Rapid-American Corporation, No. 13-10687, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. and several asbestos liability insurers have reached a global settlement that resolves all coverage disputes at issue in separate appeals in Washington federal court and the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, according to an order and two motions filed recently in the cases (Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, et al, Nos. 19-35269 and 19-35320, 9th Cir.; National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., et al., No. 3:19-cv-5648, W.D. Wash.).
TRENTON, N.J. — Chapter 11 debtor Duro Dyne National Corp. on May 7 sought approval in New Jersey federal bankruptcy court of a settlement with an asbestos insurer and then asked the court for permission to seal the agreement so the settlement amount is kept secret (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS — Questions remain about what if any role Johns Manville Corp. played in a man’s mesothelioma, a federal judge in Louisiana said May 13 in denying a school board’s motion for summary judgment on the company’s trust’s liability and inclusion on any verdict sheet (Carey Gomez v. Aardvark Contractors Inc., et al., No. 18-4186, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84224).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on May 5 gave Chapter 11 debtor Imerys Talc America Inc. more time to have the exclusive right to file a plan of reorganization after health care products conglomerate Johnson & Johnson withdrew its objection to the extension (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 19-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
CHRISTIANSTED, Virgin Islands — Parties to an employment contract arbitration provision received what they bargained for in a ruling finding that the specific exposures in question were not a cause of man’s mesothelioma, and there is no evidence that the arbitrator applied the wrong standard or that such an error would require vacating the award, a judge in the Virgin Islands said April 26 (Alvin Canaii v. Hess Oil V.I. Corp., No. SX-2006-CV-751, V.I. Super., 2020 V.I. LEXIS 43).
NEW ORLEANS — Recent Louisiana Supreme Court precedent clarifying the law in instances where a settlement does not specifically reference the disease in a tort action necessitates reconsidering an order overruling exception of res judicata, but because the exception is a state law remedy, the defendants must refile a valid federal motion, a federal judge in Louisiana said May 6 in an asbestos case (Callen Dempster v. Lamorak Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-6158, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79466).
BALTIMORE — Counsel for plaintiffs who tried to pursue state court asbestos claims against a reorganized company should be sanctioned for failing to conduct due diligence on whether the claims were viable and then continuing to litigate the claims even after learning they were barred by the bankruptcy case, the former debtor argues in April 28 supplemental briefing in Maryland federal bankruptcy court (In re RailWorks Corporation, et al., No. 01-64463, L.K. Comstock & Company, Inc. v. Irene Reibe, et al., Adv. No. 19-00199, D. Md. Bkcy.).
LOS ANGELES — A company attempts to twist the evidence through one fragment of ambiguous testimony regarding pipe length but cannot overcome the fact that a man identified both the company’s asbestos-containing pipe and use during the relevant time period, a couple says in defending a $30.2 million verdict in an April 1 brief in a California appellate court (Norris Morgan, et al. v. J-M Manufacturing Company Inc., No. B297393, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge on April 14 rejected Johnson & Johnson Inc.’s “novel argument” that the state’s law transferring litigation involving bankrupt parties to a dormant docket prevented asbestos litigation against nonbankrupt defendants (Trudy Kurten v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. N17C-05-314 TAL, Laura Jacobs, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc., No. N17C-05-337 TAL, Patricia Poole v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. N17C-05-357 TAL, Doris T. Powell v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. N17C-05-390 TAL, Cynthia Starr, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. N17C-05-295 TAL, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2020 Del. Super. LEXIS 174).
NEW ORLEANS — CertainTeed Corp. adequately alleges that a settlement it reached in an asbestos case requires a widow to indemnify it from her children’s wrongful death action, a federal judge in Louisiana said April 23 (CertainTeed Corp. v. Dorothy Mayfield, No. 19-400, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71489).
SAN FRANCISCO — Settlements daughters reached in tort actions do not trigger provisions in the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or negate widows’ death benefits claims arising from asbestos, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 17 (Beverly Hale v. Bae Systems San Francisco Ship Repair Inc., et al., Luz Verducci v. Bae Systems San Francisco Ship Repair Inc., et al., Nos. 18-72869, 18-73063, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 12307).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on April 10 approved in a docket entry two applications filed by the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the new Chapter 11 case of DBMP LLC seeking to hire three law firms to represent the committee, a request that drew opposition from the debtor and the bankruptcy administrator (In re DBMP LLC, No. 3:20-bk-30080, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Asbestos claimants’ representatives have taken their fight against the 2017 corporate restructuring of paper products giant Georgia-Pacific to a North Carolina federal court, arguing in two April 15 appellant briefs that a bankruptcy court improperly issued an injunction for an affiliate that shields Georgia-Pacific from asbestos claims worth billions of dollars (Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants of Bestwall LLC v. Bestwall LLC, No. 3:20-cv-103, Sander L. Esserman v. Bestwall LLC, No. 3:20-cv-105,W.D. N.C.).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 declined to rehear its ruling that an asbestos claimant was afforded adequate due process in the Chapter 11 case of Johns-Manville Corp., so he cannot pursue state court claims against the debtor’s insurance broker (In re Johns-Manville Corp., Marsh USA, Inc. v. The Bogdan Law Firm, No. 18-2531, 2nd Cir.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on April 21 gave asbestos disease sufferers more time to file claims with the Chapter 11 liquidating trust of boiler company Oakfabco Inc. because of the coronavirus pandemic (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on April 1 agreed to abide by a stay of litigation in Chapter 11 debtor The Fairbanks Co.’s disputes with insurers over coverage for asbestos claims for another 90 days after the debtor said an evidentiary hearing in its bankruptcy case is being pushed back and negotiations on a consensual plan of reorganization continue (The Fairbanks Company v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, et al., No. 1:15-cv-1141, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. and the lone remaining insurer defendant in an adversary action have reached a settlement in their dispute over coverage for asbestos personal injury claims, the company says in a March 30 letter filed in New York federal bankruptcy court (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).