TACOMA, Wash. — A group of insurers of Chapter 11 asbestos debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. who are awaiting a decision from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on whether their settlement with the debtor is valid on June 19 objected to a bid by a nonsettling insurer to allow state court contribution claims against the settling insurers to continue, calling the effort misguided and premature (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy.).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio appeals court on June 20 affirmed a $4,508,488 Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) asbestos verdict, saying that the evidence permitted the jury’s conclusion that the railroad’s negligence played at least a part in a man’s lung cancer and that nothing in expert witness rulings or closing argument required a new trial (Kevin E. Howell v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 107245, Ohio App., 8th Dist., 2019 Ohio App. LEXIS 2543).
MIAMI — A Florida jury on June 17 awarded $70 million to a couple in an asbestos case alleging occupational exposure to separator equipment (Charles E. Thornton, et al. v. GEA Mechanical Equipment US Inc., et al., No. 17-006018 CA 42, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
NEW YORK — While sufficient evidence supports a record-setting New York asbestos verdict, the already once reduced award still deviates materially from what could be considered reasonable compensation and must be reduced further, a New York appellate court held June 18 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Murphy-Clagett v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 9634-, 9634A-, 9634B-, 9634C- 190311/15, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy court’s recent decision appointing a future claimants’ representative (FCR) in the asbestos Chapter 11 case of Imerys Talc America supports arguments that the FCR appointment for Duro Dyne National Corp. was done improperly, the U.S. trustee says in a May 21 letter in his New Jersey federal court appeal of the Duro Dyne FCR appointment (Andrew R. Vara v. Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 3:18-cv-15563, D. N.J.).
TRENTON, N.J. — The newly revised plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 asbestos debtor Duro Dyne National Corp. still cannot be confirmed because the company failed to modify the plan as a New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge directed, the U.S. trustee says in a June 11 objection to the plan (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California jury on June 12 held Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive Inc. liable for a retired teacher’s talc-related mesothelioma and awarded her nearly $12 million, sources told Mealey Publications (Schmitz v Johnson & Johnson, No. RG18923615, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 6 dismissed appeals of a judge’s decision to halt work on the Keystone XL Pipeline due in part to threats to Native Americans’ land and water, ruling that the challenges are now moot because President Donald Trump issued a new permit allowing pipeline construction to continue (Indigenous Environmental Network, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al., Nos. 18-36068, 18-36069, 19-35036, 19-35064, 19-35099, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 17095).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Two companies’ attempt to corral 2,400 state court talc and asbestos actions into Delaware federal bankruptcy court based on the Chapter 11 filing of their main talc supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., has resulted in 346 cases that they removed in anticipation of the transfer being remanded back to the state courts, the Official Committee of Tort Claimants tells a Delaware federal judge in a June 6 letter to supplement the record (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-mc-00103, D. Del.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy court on May 28 sent the newly confirmed prepackaged plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Maremont Corp. to federal district court for final approval (In re: Maremont Corporation, et al., No. 19-10118, D. Del. Bkcy., 2019 Bankr. LEXIS 1742).
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania law requiring businesses consent to jurisdiction when registering to do business in the state is unconstitutional and violates Daimler AG v. Bauman, the federal judge in Pennsylvania who oversees the asbestos federal multidistrict litigation held June 6 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Jackie L. Sullivan, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 18-3622, E.D. Pa.).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on June 5 said she “strongly questions” whether an asbestos-talc case against Johnson & Johnson more than remotely relates to its talc-supplier’s bankruptcy and concluded that equity issues, including a quicker timeline to trial and the existence of state law claims, require granting an emergency motion to remand the two-year-old action (Lorraine O’Riorden v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 19-751, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93865).
NEW YORK — Nothing in a talc supplier’s bankruptcy warrants keeping 27 asbestos-talc cases against Johnson & Johnson in federal court, a judge in New York said in remanding the actions June 4 (In re: Various removed state court actions against, inter alia, Johnson & Johnson (State Court Talc Actions), No. 19-3530, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95445).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on June 3 appointed Chapter 11 asbestos debtor Imerys Talc America Inc.’s proposed candidate for future claimants’ representative (FCR) over the objections of insurers and the U.S. trustee after finding in a May 31 letter opinion that insurers knew the risks involved with hiring the FCR’s law firm to represent them in a state court asbestos coverage action (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-bk-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on May 31 declined to weigh in on the proper standard for holding an employer grossly negligent for asbestos exposures and whether an appellate court properly reduced punitive damages in the case (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 18-0056, Texas Sup.).
NEW YORK — New York County jurors awarded $300 million in punitive damages in an asbestos-talc case against Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. on May 31, the first such award in the court since at least 1994, sources told Mealey Publications (Donna Olson v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 190328/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge confirmed the Chapter 11 liquidation plan and its asbestos trust for boiler company Oakfabco Inc. on April 11, less than a year after the judge halted payments to attorneys working on the case due to a lack of progress (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — After the proposed candidate for future claimants’ representative (FCR) in the Chapter 11 asbestos case of Imerys Talc America Inc. twice provided additional information to a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on his lack of conflicts of interest, the bankruptcy judge on May 23 filed a letter seeking more information for her private inspection (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-bk-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Negligence claims leveled by asbestos plaintiffs in Montana against insurers of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. are barred by W.R. Grace’s bankruptcy injunction because they meet the derivative liability requirements for injunctive protection, the insurers say in a May 20 reply brief on remand in Delaware federal bankruptcy court (Continental Casualty Co., et al. v. Jeremy B. Carr, et al., No. 15-50766, D. Del. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With a $67 million settlement in place, a North Carolina federal court on May 13 dismissed an appeal over whether Chapter 11 asbestos debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. are protected by the automatic stay from environmental cleanup cost state court settlement judgments in Oregon (Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al. v. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, No. 3:18-cv-507, W.D. N.C.).