WILMINGTON, Del. — Because insurers’ asbestos policies with former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. are “legally relevant” to state court tort claims filed against the insurers under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the insurers are protected from the claims by a bankruptcy injunction, they assert in a Dec. 21 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.).
NEW YORK — The successor to the PVC pipe business of former Chapter 11 debtor Johns-Manville Corp. asked a New York federal bankruptcy judge Jan. 16 to issue a “reiterative injunction” barring state court asbestos injury claims against the successor based on the bankruptcy protections implemented when it bought the business (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — The question of whether the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to hear an appeal of a bankruptcy court’s denial of certification for a class of property owners seeking damages for asbestos from former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. will be decided along with the merits of the appeal, a Third Circuit panel ruled Jan. 10 (In re Grace & Co., et al., No. 18-1960, 3rd Cir.).
CHICAGO — A Chicago jury returned a defense verdict in a retrial of a chrysotile asbestos case involving drywall products on Dec. 14, sources told Mealey Publications (Jo Ann Startley, et al. v. Welco Manufacturing Co., No. 20140L-002716, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
MADISON, Wis. — An asbestos defendant’s success at summary judgment moots its appeals of previous rulings that found that environmental exposure claims fell outside Wisconsin’s statutory immunity for employers, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 8 (Pamela Kilty, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 18-1974, Scott Spatz, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 18-1975, 7th Cir.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal judge in a Jan. 4 minute order agreed with former asbestos insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. that a bankruptcy court’s orders approving settling insurers’ buyback of policies in settlements with the debtor should be stayed until Fraser’s confirmation hearing (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., Nos. 3:18-cv-5637 and 3:18-cv-05638, W.D. Wash.).
TRENTON, N.J. — An appeal over whether a bankruptcy judge erred in appointing a future claimants’ representative (FCR) for asbestos claimants in Duro Dyne National Corp.’s Chapter 11 case was put on hold Dec. 31 by a New Jersey federal judge due to the partial shutdown of the federal government (Andrew R. Vara v. Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 3:18-cv-15563, D. N.J.).
ROME, Ga. — With the apparent backing of a Georgia federal bankruptcy judge, the U.S. trustee in the new Chapter 11 case of The Fairbanks Co. on Dec. 31 proposed “shifting the paradigm away from decades of established practice” and opening the process for selecting a future claimants’ representative (FCR) to a field of candidates, rather than just the one candidate proposed by the debtor (In re The Fairbanks Company, No. 18-41768, N.D. Ga. Bkcy.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s top court on Dec. 13 agreed to decide whether an insulator’s substantial presence at a facility was enough evidence on which a jury could infer exposure to the company’s asbestos-containing products and whether juries should hear about other companies dismissed from the case (Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust v. William Edward Busch Jr., No. 59, Sept. Term 2018, Md. App.).
ST. LOUIS — A jury’s $4.69 billion asbestos-talc ovarian cancer verdict stands after a Missouri judge turned away challenges to jurisdiction, timeliness, causation and compensatory and punitive damage awards on Dec. 19 (Gail Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1522-CC-10417, Mo. Cir., St. Louis Co.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Dec. 18 approved a $12.4 million settlement between Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. and the last remaining insurers challenging the company’s reorganization efforts that will provide additional funding for an asbestos trust (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7 allowed the leading advocacy group for the plaintiffs’ bar to argue in support of nine asbestos bankruptcy trusts in their fight to stave off an appeal filed by Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., which demand “full access” to trust claimants’ data in search of fraud (In re: AC&S, Inc., et al., No. 18-1951, 3rd Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 17 granted a motion by an asbestos insurer filed the same day to dismiss its appeal in its failed attempt to arbitrate a coverage dispute with reorganized Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 18-2088, 4th Cir.).
ROME, Ga. — New Chapter 11 debtor The Fairbanks Co. criticized the U.S. trustee Dec. 17 for his objection to the appointment of a longtime asbestos claimants’ delegate as future claimants’ representative (FCR) for the case, saying the trustee is wasting time for no good reason when the company just wants to begin reorganizing (In re The Fairbanks Company, No. 18-41768, N.D. Ga. Bkcy.).
EUREKA, Calif. — Despite finding that a woman encountered asbestos from defective Johnson & Johnson baby powder, a California jury on Nov. 14 found that the exposure was not a substantial factor in causing her mesothelioma (Carla Allen v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. DR180132, Calif. Super., Humboldt Co.).
NEW YORK — With a settlement pending between two insurers and Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. over asbestos insurance coverage, the debtor tells a New York federal bankruptcy judge in a Dec. 13 filing that allowing summary judgment motions on two issues will go a long way toward resolving the rest of the case against the only remaining insurer defendant (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A bankruptcy court’s approval of settlements between Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. and several asbestos insurers should be affirmed because the court properly allowed the policies at issue to be sold back to the insurers “free and clear” of contribution and breach of contract claims by nonsettling insurers, the debtor says in a Nov. 20 Washington federal court brief on appeal (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., Nos. 3:18-cv-5637 and 3:18-cv-05638, W.D. Wash.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A determination when a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization is substantially consummated is a question of fact to be made based on a U.S. Bankruptcy Code provision, so an asbestos debtor’s inclusion of a predetermined consummation date in its plan is not appropriate, a Washington federal bankruptcy held Dec. 4 in sustaining objections from insurers (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 3804).
TRENTON, N.J. — Did a bankruptcy judge err in appointing Lawrence Fitzpatrick as the future claimants’ representative (FCR) for Duro Dyne National Corp.’s Chapter 11 case? This question is one of several issues in the U.S. trustee’s appeal of Fitzpatrick’s appointment, the trustee says in a Dec. 3 filing in New Jersey federal bankruptcy court (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Railcars outfitted with asbestos insulation caused a man’s mesothelioma, a federal jury in Kansas held Dec. 10 in awarding $139,500 (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan.).