NEW YORK — The representative for future asbestos claimants in Johns-Manville Corp.’s landmark Chapter 11 case did not adequately represent a holder of nonderivative claims against the debtor’s insurance broker, so an asbestos claimant’s estate can proceed with its state court action against the broker, a New York federal judge held July 27 in reversing a bankruptcy court ruling (The Bogdan Law Firm v. Marsh USA, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-01228, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126962).
NEW YORK — A federal judge on July 27 sentenced former New York Speaker Sheldon Silver to seven years in prison and three years’ post-release supervision, after a jury found him guilty of honest services wire fraud and extortion for his role in asbestos and real estate schemes, according to the docket (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 15-93, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on July 23 canceled all scheduled hearings on the withdrawn liquidation plan for Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. and halted all automatic payments from the debtor to attorneys in the case, who in three years have managed only to “bleed the estate dry with unnecessary and frivolous litigation” (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal court should disregard arguments by former Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) and determine whether the discharge of unmanifested asbestos claims in EFH’s bankruptcy case meets due process requirements, eight such claimants say in a July 20 reply brief in their appeal of EFH’s reorganization plan confirmation (Sherry Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 18-381, D. Del.).
SEATTLE — A couple filed suit outside the three-year window for suing a dissolved corporation, and its claim that the company provided improper notice and simply became a different company fails, a federal judge in Washington held July 20 (William R. Clayton, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-748, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121854).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal bankruptcy judge on July 12 denied a motion by insurers of recent Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. to dismiss the Chapter 11 case, rejecting the insurers’ suggestion that the company’s plan to reorganize is “objectively futile” (In re: Fraser's Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash.).
SEATTLE — A lawyer’s quoting of a report opining on the excluded “every exposure” theory and from an excluded exhibit warrant imposing $1,000 in sanctions and issuing an on-the-record reprimand, a federal judge in Washington held June 25 (Geraldine Barabin v. Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc., No. 07-1454, W.D. Wash.).
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — An asbestos-pipe insulation company sanctioned by a judge for its inability to produce sales records escaped a South Carolina trial with a defense verdict on July 20 (Jerry Howard Crawford, et al. v. Celanese Corp., et al., No. 2017-CP-42-4429, S.C. Comm. Pls., 7th Jud. Cir.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
TACOMA, Wash. — An $11.66 million settlement by insurers that is one of the linchpins to the new Chapter 11 case of longtime regional boiler company Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. was approved July 18 by a Washington federal bankruptcy judge, who also approved an injunction protecting the settling insurers from any future claims of nonsettling insurers (In re: Fraser's Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash, 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 2122).
NEW YORK — Insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. continue to do battle over the amount of claimant information they are entitled to under court-approved discovery subpoenas to asbestos trust claims-processing facilities, with the insurers telling a New York federal bankruptcy court on July 10 that they should be allowed to issue subpoenas like those used in Garlock Sealing Technologies’ landmark bankruptcy case (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 2 gave more time to an asbestos plaintiffs’ law firm to respond to fraud and racketeering allegations leveled by frequent asbestos defendant John Crane Inc. “in order to permit the parties to explore a settlement and discontinuance of this action,” according to the parties’ joint request for procedural deadline extensions (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., No. 2:17-cv-02210, E.D. Pa.).
ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis jury awarded 22 women $4.69 billion in damages from Johnson & Johnson after concluding that the company’s baby powder contained asbestos and caused their ovarian cancer. The July 12 award consists of $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in other damages, sources told Mealey Publications (Gail Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 1522-CC-10417, Mo. Cir., St. Louis Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
BALTIMORE — A judge properly excluded untimely testimony that an asbestos defendant appears to have deliberately concealed, and the resulting $8 million verdict is supported by sufficient evidence, a Maryland appeals court held July 6 (Lloyd E. Mitchell Inc. v. Patrick Rossello, No. 1191 September Term, 2016, Md. Sp. App., 2018 Md. App. LEXIS 666).
TRENTON, N.J. — Insufficient evidence links an asbestos cement company to the boiler manufacturer on whose products a man worked, a New Jersey appeals court held July 9 in reversing a $7.5 million verdict (William P. Condon, et al. v. Advance Thermal Hydronics Inc., et al., No. A-3642-14T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2018 Md. App. LEXIS 666).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina bankruptcy judge on June 29 gave Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC more time to seek reconsideration of an order allowing the Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants to hire four law firms as special litigation counsel for medical science matters related to a hearing to estimate the debtor’s asbestos liability (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A trial judge erred in allowing an asbestos defendant to read into evidence deposition and corporate representative testimony from settled defendants, a New Jersey court said June 29 in reversing and remanding for a new trial on apportionment (Donna Rowe, et al. v. Bell & Gossett Co., et al., No. A-4530-14T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.).
TRENTON, N.J. — The $117 million verdict against cosmetic talcum powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson Inc. will stand after the New Jersey judge presiding over the case denied post-trial motions on June 29, according to the court’s docket (Stephen Lanzo, et al. v. Cyprus Amex Minerals Co., et al., No. MID-L-00738516, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).
NEW YORK — A second appeal in a suit seeking to hold Johns-Manville Corp.’s insurance broker independently liable for asbestos personal injury claims now hinges on who is actually prosecuting the case — an asbestos claimant’s estate or the estate’s law firm, according to court ordered supplemental briefs filed June 27 in New York federal court (The Bogdan Law Firm v. Marsh USA, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-01228, S.D. N.Y.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — In reversing its own precedent, the Delaware Supreme Court on June 27 said both manufacturers and employers can be liable for failing to warn about the dangers of take-home asbestos exposure (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).
CHICAGO — Fraud allegations leveled by the Oakfabco Inc. Asbestos Claimants’ Committee against insurers and a claims management company involving missing asbestos policies fail because the committee cannot even prove that the policies exist, the insurers and company say May 30 in an Illinois federal bankruptcy adversary case (Asbestos Claimants Committee v. American Casualty Company of Reading, PA, et al., No. 18-00002, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).