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).
TACOMA, Wash. — Recent Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. asked a Washington federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 3 to confirm its plan of reorganization, which channels asbestos claims to a liquidating trust, the day after the judge approved the plan’s disclosure statement (In re: Fraser's Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy.).
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.