OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal bankruptcy judge properly entered a more than $3.5 million judgment against an insurance company in a long-running dispute over the amount of coverage owed to a company’s liquidating trust for asbestos personal injury claims, a federal judge held Sept. 17 in affirming the award, plus a $60,000 penalty for the insurer’s “vexatious and unreasonable conduct” (Continental Casualty Company v. Barry A. Chatz, Nos. 17-cv-05281, 17-cv-06989, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158352).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 17 affirmed a bankruptcy court’s finding that the interest rate in the reorganization plan for former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. must be used when determining how much the Internal Revenue Service owes the company for a tax refund (United States v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 17-cv-1588, D. Del., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157895).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. on Sept. 13 sought approval of its reorganization plan’s disclosure statement on the same day the United States filed a statement in interest in the case, saying it will oppose any plan for the debtor that does not include provisions to ensure that asbestos disease claimants who receive payments from an asbestos trust repay Medicare for their medical care (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — A trial court properly granted a new trial on past pain and suffering damages unless the defendant agrees to a $4 million award, but the $1.5 million award for future damages did not exceed what was reasonable and should not have been increased, a New York appellate court held Sept. 13 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Ann Marie Idell, etc. v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 190219/16 -6938 6937 6936, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6018).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A recent Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals remand ruling seeking Delaware federal bankruptcy court decisions on what asbestos claims, if any, insurers of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. are liable for needs to be addressed in a similar action alleging negligence against the insurers, the plaintiff in that action tells the bankruptcy court in a Sept. 10 brief filed at the request of the court (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
TRENTON, N.J. — Family-owned sheet metal equipment company Duro Dyne National Corp. sought Chapter 11 protection on Sept. 7 in New Jersey federal bankruptcy court to shed the business of its asbestos personal injury claims while remaining operational (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27968, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
LOS ANGELES — A California jury awarded $8.45 million in an asbestos case against boiler company Weil-McLain on Aug. 28, sources told Mealey Publications (Shawn Swanson, et al. v. Weil-McLain, et al., No. BC571451, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California jury on Aug. 14 awarded $1,117,446, and though it found the defendant not negligent, it did find the company’s asbestos-containing pipe defective and that the company should have known of the risk (Carolyn B. Hopper, et al. v. California Department of Water Resources, et al., No. RG16815417, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
TACOMA, Wash. — The U.S. trustee’s office for the Western District of Washington made clear in a Sept. 4 letter to the court that it is not participating in two appeals filed by nonsettling insurers in the Chapter 11 case of Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc., saying it is not a proper appellee (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., Nos. 3:18-cv-05637 and 3:18-cv-05638, W.D. Wash.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 9 approved lifting the automatic stay in Kaiser Gypsum Co.’s Chapter 11 case to allow some asbestos claimants to pursue their claims in the tort system (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — Two asbestos personal injury trusts took their last jabs Aug. 15 in New York federal bankruptcy court in their bids for judgment on the question of whether one trust, as successor to an asbestos products distributor, is entitled to be reimbursed millions of dollars by another trust set up by a former asbestos products producer (Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust v. Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 1:17-ap-1186, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal judge on Aug. 20 backed a bankruptcy court’s decision not to convert Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc.’s recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 case, denying an insurer’s motion to appeal the ruling because it will not “materially advance” the case (Travelers Indemnity Company v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-5489, W.D. Wash.).
CHICAGO — Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. got a requested one-day mediation session to resolve disputes with insurers when an Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 15 approved the meeting after previously accusing counsel for the debtor and asbestos claimants of conducting “unnecessary and frivolous litigation” (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc. are continuing their fight to have unlimited access to asbestos claimants’ data from nine asbestos trusts, saying in a July 31 opening brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a bankruptcy court ruling conflicts with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (In re: AC&S, Inc., et al., No. 18-1951, 3rd Cir.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An insurer’s obligations to the Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC bankruptcy estate under a $5 million asbestos policy must be determined through litigation, not arbitration, a North Carolina federal judge decided Aug. 20 in affirming a magistrate judge’s ruling (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00458, W.D. N.C.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC is a sham company set up to shield Georgia-Pacific LLC’s billions of dollars in assets from sick and dying asbestos disease sufferers who were poisoned by Georgia-Pacific’s asbestos products, asbestos claimants say in an Aug. 15 motion in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court to dismiss Bestwall’s case (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 14 affirmed a bankruptcy court’s ruling in favor of an asbestos liability insurer after determining that a protective injunction in debtor W.R. Grace & Co.’s reorganization plan applies to the asbestos claims asserted by the Montana claimants against the insurer (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 17-1208, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22488).
TACOMA, Wash. — Several insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. on Aug. 7 appealed federal bankruptcy court rulings approving settlements under which other insurers will pay $13.7 million to a liquidating trust as part of the debtors’ reorganization plan (In re: Fraser's Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — With an asbestos plaintiffs’ law firm and John Crane Inc. (JCI) agreeing in principle to a settlement of the company’s fraud allegations against the firm, a Pennsylvania federal judge on July 31 stayed the case to give the parties more time to finalize the deal (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 2:17-cv-02210, E.D. Pa.).
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — A federal judge in Idaho on July 26 ruled that American Smelting and Refining Co. (ASARCO) could not seek contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) from Union Pacific Railway, finding that its claim was barred by a bankruptcy settlement and that the plaintiff company paid less than its allocated share of liability (ASARCO, LLC v. Union Pacific Railway, et al., No. 12-cv-283, D. Idaho, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126370).