SEATTLE — A federal jury in Washington state on April 6 awarded a widow $1,056,000 in a retrial of a negligence claim against the manufacturer of asbestos-containing dryer felts. In 2009, a different jury awarded her $10.2 million, but the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erased that verdict after it found that the judge erred by not holding a Daubert hearing (Geraldine Barabin v. Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc., No. 07-1454, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54869).
SEATTLE — A Washington state jury on March 15 found that lone remaining defendant John Crane Inc. supplied an unreasonably dangerous product and failed to provide adequate warnings, but that its conduct was not a proximate cause of a man’s mesothelioma (Era Clevenger v. Bartells Asbestos Settlement Trust, et al., No. 16-2-07573-8, Wash. Super., King Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A hospital cannot appeal a Delaware federal bankruptcy court’s refusal to reconsider denial of class certification for asbestos property damage claims against former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. because the ruling was interlocutory and because the appeal is barred by the company’s reorganization plan, a federal judge held March 30 (Anderson Memorial Hospital v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 16-799, D. Del., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53814).
SAN FRANCISCO — Sufficient evidence supports an Arizona federal jury’s $5 million punitive damage verdict against asbestos-defendant Crane Co., and nothing in state law or the 2.8-to-1 ratio of the award to the jury’s economic damages warrants disturbing the finding, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held March 29 (Sandra Brown Coulbourn v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., No. 16-16925, 9th Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy court ruling that Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc. can have access to asbestos claimants’ data from nine asbestos trusts, though with limitations, was affirmed in its entirety March 27 by a federal judge (In re: Motions Seeking Access to 2019 Statements, No. 16-1078, D. Del., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50352).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A judge should find that a man’s mesothelioma was caused by asbestos and that inadmissible asbestos bankruptcy trust forms are insufficient evidence of causation on which to place other potential sources of exposure before the jury, a woman told a federal judge in Kansas on March 26 (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan.).
NEWARK, N.J. — Reorganized Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. on March 14 sought to close the 17-year-old case of its co-debtor affiliate, ACI Inc., asking a New Jersey federal bankruptcy court to issue a final decree because ACI’s case has been fully administered (In re: G-I Holdings Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135, 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The daughter of a man appointed to the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC who died from mesothelioma less than a month after his appointment will succeed her father on the committee as representative of his estate and holder of a wrongful death claim against the debtor, according to a March 26 order in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC facing a long road of bargaining with asbestos claimants and possibly a court hearing to estimate its asbestos liabilities, all caused by an “onslaught of asbestos-related claims,” a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on March 26 gave the company more time to file a plan of reorganization (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on March 26 authorized Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC to sell its $5 million claim against a defunct insurer for a 1982 asbestos policy to a New Jersey claim-purchasing company for $832,500 (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A dispute between the Internal Revenue Service and reorganized chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace & Co. over a $1.6 million tax refund heads back to Delaware federal court on appeal after the parties on March 14 told the court that mediation was not successful (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., United States of America v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 17-cv-1588, D. Del.).
PITTSBURGH — With 99 percent of asbestos personal injury claimants voting to approve the plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc., a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge and federal district court judge confirmed the plan Feb. 27 after a one-day hearing (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Reorganized Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC asked a North Carolina federal bankruptcy court March 9 to issue a final decree and close its long-running case, which included a landmark ruling identifying alleged fraud in the asbestos trust system by attorneys and claimants (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-275, W.D. N.C.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An insurer of Chapter 11 debtor Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. won relief from the automatic bankruptcy stay March 7 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court so it can pursue $2.8 million in reimbursements from other insurers for settlement payments made to asbestos personal injury claimants under a 2009 agreement (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dallas attorney Sander L. Esserman will represent future asbestos personal injury claimants in the Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge ordered Feb. 23 (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A competing bid to purchase an asbestos policy of a defunct insurer of Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC was matched by the original buyer, bringing an extra $82,500 to Bestwall’s estate to benefit asbestos claimants, the debtor says in a March 19 notice filed in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
GALVESTON, Texas — Insurers may largely proceed with their Employee Retirement Income Security Act case seeking recovery of monies they spent on insured’s medical care and for which the insureds allegedly were compensated from asbestos bankruptcy trusts, a federal judge in Texas held March 16 (Humana Inc., et al. v. Brent W. Coon P.C., a/k/a Brent Coon & Associates, et al., No. 16-240, S.D. Texas).
NEW YORK — The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust in New York is in breach of a 1994 indemnity agreement among asbestos producer Johns-Manville Corp. and asbestos product distributors, so it should be ordered to pay its share of $170 million the Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust in California has paid to claimants, the Thorpe Trust says in a Feb. 15 answer and counterclaim in New York federal bankruptcy court (Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust v. Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 1:17-ap-1186, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House of Representatives on March 8 approved a measure proponents claim will shed more light and transparency into the asbestos litigation and bankruptcy claims process.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released a 28-page report March 8 stating that asbestos bankruptcy trusts are paying claimants less and are running out of money to pay future claimants, with overpaid lawyers looking to defraud the trust system to blame in part.