WEST COVINA, Calif. — A California jury on May 24 added $4 million in punitive damages to an asbestos-tainted talc verdict against Johnson & Johnson, bringing the total verdict to $25.75 million, sources told Mealey’s Publications. The company has now been hit with more than $142 million in damages a little more than a month (Joanne Anderson, et al. Borg Warner Corp., et al., BC666513, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota court on May 21 affirmed a $3.7 million asbestos verdict, rejecting a defendant’s claim that experts testified that every exposure to asbestos caused disease, that the expert testimony did not support the verdict and that the court should have applied 2003 amendments to the joint and several liability standard (Jenella Conda v. 3M, et al., Nos. A17-1381, A17-2040, Minn. App., 2018 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 423).
WILMINGTON, Del. — The due process violations suffered by future asbestos claimants from the reorganization plan of Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) are so egregious that the plan’s treatment of the claimants demands reversal, eight such claimants told a Delaware federal court May 21 in their appeal of the plan’s confirmation (Sherry Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 18-381, D. Del.).
PHILADELPHIA — Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc. continued their fight to have unfettered access to asbestos claimants’ data from nine asbestos trusts, saying in a May 11 case summary in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that lower courts violated their rights by limiting their access to the information (In re: AC&S, Inc., et al., No. 18-1951, 3rd Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 15 gave a South Carolina hospital pursuing asbestos property damage claims against former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. more time to respond to the court’s order that it may not have jurisdiction over the hospital’s latest appeal in the long-running dispute (In re Grace & Co., et al., No. 18-1960, 3rd Cir.).
CHICAGO — Requests by Oakfabco Inc. insurers and a claims management company to dismiss fraud allegations leveled in an adversary case by Oakfabco’s Asbestos Claimants’ Committee failed May 15 when an Illinois bankruptcy judge found that the committee’s claims are pleaded sufficiently enough to withstand a motion to dismiss (Asbestos Claimants Committee v. American Casualty Company of Reading, PA, et al., No. 18-00002, N.D. Ill. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 1461).
SAGINAW, Mich. — A Michigan judge on April 23 entered a $1,926,618.92 judgment against Ferro Engineering Division of ON Marine Services Co., after a jury found the defendant’s negligence a proximate cause in a man’s lung cancer (Parrott v. ON Marine, No. N/A, Mich. Cir. Saginaw Co.).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio jury on May 3 found a railroad 60 percent liable for a former employee’s asbestos-related lung cancer, awarding the man $4,508,488 on his Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) claim (Kevin E. Howell v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. CV-15-846529, Ohio Comm. Pls., Cuyahoga Co.).
CHICAGO — Attorneys representing Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. and counsel for the debtor’s asbestos claimants will not get paid until progress is made in the nearly three-year-old case, an Illinois federal bankruptcy judge ruled May 17 (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware erred in using the interest rate provided for in the Chapter 11 plan of W.R. Grace & Co. in calculating a tax refund owed by the Internal Revenue Service because the agency’s recoupment rights are not “claims” under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the IRS says in its May 2 opening brief on appeal to the district court (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., United States v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 17-cv-1588, D. Del.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. have had enough, filing their second motion May 7 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court to dismiss the case, accusing the company and its primary insurer of using the bankruptcy forum to better their own interests to the detriment of asbestos disease sufferers (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court on May 14 agreed to review a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that maritime law permits holding a manufacturer liable for third-party asbestos-containing replacement parts (Air and Liquid Systems Corp, et al. v. Roberta G. DeVries, et al., No. 17-1104, U.S. Sup.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on May 8 gave Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC four more months to remove any lawsuit filed against the company to a district court (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — The Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust has an “unequivocal right” to be reimbursed by the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust for payments made to asbestos claimants, and the Manville Trust’s nonpayment constitutes breach of a 1994 indemnity agreement among asbestos producer Johns-Manville and asbestos product distributors, including Thorpe, the Thorpe Trust says in an April 20 motion for summary judgment 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.).
ALAMEDA, Calif. — A California jury on May 2 awarded $6,811,189 in a former freelance construction worker’s asbestos case, finding gun plastic cement manufacturer Amcord Inc. 20 percent liable for a man’s mesothelioma (Kenneth Kramer v. 3M Co., No. RG16799603, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 1 once again affirmed that claims involving workplace warnings and safety measures fall outside the scope of U.S. Navy contracts requiring the use of asbestos and affirmed remand of an asbestos case (Robert J. Templet Sr. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-30676, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 11214).
NEW YORK — A New York law firm insists on appeal in federal court that Johns-Manville Corp.’s insurance broker can be held independently liable for asbestos personal injury claims, arguing in its April 13 opening brief that barring a claimant’s in personam claims against the broker is a clear violation of the claimant’s due process rights (The Bogdan Law Firm v. Marsh USA, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-01228, S.D. N.Y.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal bankruptcy court on April 18 issued a final decree closing the 17-year-old Chapter 11 case of G-I Holdings Inc. affiliate ACI Inc., finding that the case has been “fully administered” (In re: G-I Holdings Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135, 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
CHICAGO — The Asbestos Claimants’ Committee in the Chapter 11 Case of Oakfabco Inc. fired back April 11 at bids by Oakfabco insurers and a claims management company to dismiss the committee’s fraud claims against them for allegedly hiding asbestos policies from the debtor, saying in two response briefs that its allegations are sufficient to send the claims to trial (Asbestos Claimants Committee v. American Casualty Company of Reading, PA, et al., No. 18-00002, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Unable to resolve their dispute over a $1.6 million tax refund through mediation, the Internal Revenue Service and reorganized chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace & Co. agreed April 2 on a briefing schedule for the IRS’s appeal in Delaware federal court of a bankruptcy judge’s ruling in favor of W.R. Grace (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., United States v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 17-cv-1588, D. Del.).