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.).
PITTSBURGH — The relatively brief and uncomplicated Chapter 11 case of insulation distributor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc. came to an end June 13 when a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge issued a final decree closing the case (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge’s ruling that the reorganization plan for former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. trumps the federal rules for class certification makes a bankruptcy court’s denial of certification for a class of property owners an appealable decision, a South Carolina hospital tells the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a June 8 jurisdictional statement (In re Grace & Co., et al., No. 18-1960, 3rd Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A recent lawsuit in a string of actions seeking to hold insurers of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. liable for claimants’ asbestos diseases should be dismissed because a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge has already found that the claims are barred by the protections afforded the insurers in W.R. Grace’s reorganization, one insurer argues in a June 15 filing (Barbara Hunt, et al. v. Maryland Casualty Company, No. 18-50402, D. Del. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Nothing in late-added allegations supports the conclusion that Crane Co. conspired with the U.S. Navy to hide the dangers of asbestos, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware said June 6 in recommending judgment for the defendant (Marguerite MacQueen v. Warren Pumps LLC, et al., No. 13-831, D. Del., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41749).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware jury on June 8 awarded a widow $40,625,000 in compensatory damages for her husband’s fatal mesothelioma, finding Ford Motor Co. 20 percent liable and following the award up with $1 million in punitive damages (Larry Knecht, et al. v. Borg-Warner Corp., et al., No. N14C-08-164, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
MADISON, Wis. — A jury could not conclude from the presented evidence that household or environmental exposures to asbestos led to two individuals’ mesotheliomas, a federal judge in Wisconsin held June 8 in granting a premises owner summary judgment (Pamela Kilty, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-515, Scott Spatz, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-726, W.D. Wis.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An asbestos judgment winner can proceed with her appeal in a California court to recover more than $360,000 from Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co., despite objections by the company and its primary insurer, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge ruled June 14 in a minute order lifting the automatic bankruptcy stay (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
DES MOINES, Iowa — A $4 million asbestos verdict improperly built on closing arguments asking the jury to punish the defendant, so the case must be retried, the Iowa Supreme Court held June 1 (Shari Kinseth, et al. v. Weil-McLain Co., et al., No. 15-0943, Iowa App., 2018 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 59).
NEW YORK — The future claimants’ representative (FCR) in the landmark bankruptcy case of Johns-Manville Corp. did not represent an asbestos claimants’ in personam claims against the company’s insurance broker, so the broker can be held independently liable for asbestos personal injury claims, a claimant’s law firm says June 8 on appeal in New York federal court (The Bogdan Law Firm v. Marsh USA, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-01228, S.D. N.Y.).