NEW YORK — A provision in a 1970s insurance policy for asbestos liability can only be read to allow an insurer of Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. to reduce the policy limits to zero by offsetting a previous settlement amount, the insurer argues in an Aug. 7 reply in support of its summary judgment bid in a New York federal bankruptcy court adversary action (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Nonparty insurers create federal jurisdiction in five asbestos personal injury cases against their dissolved insured simply because the company’s receiver changed the case name, a federal judge held July 26 in dismissing the action (Roxanne Falls, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., Timothy W. Howe, et al. v Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., James Michael Hill v. Advance Auto Parts Inc., et al., Denver D. Taylor, et al. v Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No.19-1948, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124742).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on July 29 denied asbestos claimants’ request to dismiss or transfer the Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC, saying the case is not “objectively futile” despite the claimants’ argument that it was filed as a sham to save the company’s parent billions of dollars (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy., 2019 Bankr. LEXIS 2373).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC and certain affiliates, including Georgia-Pacific LLC, are now shielded from asbestos personal injury claims until the debtor reorganizes after a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on July 29 issued an injunction enjoining the claims (Bestwall LLC v. Those Parties Listed on Appendix A to Complaint, et al., No. 17-03105, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — A federal bankruptcy judge in New York on July 18 refused to remand a legal malpractice case and declined a motion seeking his abstention from the case, which is an adversary proceeding in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Tronox Inc., on grounds that the matter involves allegations that could have arisen only as a result of the bankruptcy proceeding (Stanley Waleski v. Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads [In re: Tronox Inc.], No. 09-10156, Adv. No. 19-1087, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy., 2019 Bankr. LEXIS 2217).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Those holding claims other than asbestos talc claims against Chapter 11 debtor Imerys Talc America Inc. have until Oct. 15 to file proofs of claim after a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on July 25 approved a request by the company to establish a bar date for non-talc claims (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 19-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — The trustees of the Swan Transportation Co. Asbestos and Silica Settlement Trust will resign to settle breach of fiduciary duty claims leveled by three trust claimants, with a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge issuing an order July 16 dismissing the case per a joint stipulation so the settlement can be memorialized (In re: Swan Transportation Co., No. 01-11690 [Richard Smith, et al. v. W.D. Hilton, Jr., et al., No. 17-50053], D. Del. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal bankruptcy judge on July 10 turned down a request by the asbestos personal injury trust established in the Thorpe Insulation Co. Chapter 11 case to reconsider her denial of the trust’s bid for summary judgment on the issue of whether the Johns-Manville Corp. asbestos trust must indemnify the Thorpe trust for settlements made to claimants of both companies (Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust v. Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 19-04039, S.D. N.Y.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal bankruptcy judge on July 3 granted asbestos claimants of Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. relief from the automatic stay so they can continue their lawsuits seeking damages only from the company’s insurers (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — There is no federal jurisdiction to transfer 2,400 state court talc and asbestos actions against Johnson & Johnson to Delaware federal court based on the Chapter 11 filing of its main talc supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., and even if there were, the court must abstain from transferring the cases “both in the interest of justice and the interest of comity with the state courts,” a federal judge held July 19 (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-mc-00103, D. Del., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120572).
TACOMA, Wash. — An insurer of Chapter 11 asbestos debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. on July 17 appealed to federal district court a bankruptcy court’s denial of its bid to vacate a stipulated order it entered into with the debtor’s settling insurers so it can continue to pursue state court contribution and breach of contract claims against the settling insurers (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., et al., No. 3:19-cv-5648, W.D. Wash.).
TRENTON, N.J. — The plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 asbestos debtor Duro Dyne National Corp. is in the hands of a New Jersey federal court after a bankruptcy judge on July 16 sent the district court proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and a recommendation to confirm the plan (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
SEATTLE — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 17 upheld a federal judge in Idaho’s ruling that American Smelting and Refining Co. (ASARCO) could not seek contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) from Union Pacific Railroad Co., finding that the judge did not err when 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 Railroad Co., No. 18-35713, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21168).
WILMINGTON, Del. — The prepackaged plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Maremont Corp. is fully approved and became effective July 9, establishing a multimillion dollar trust to resolve and pay asbestos claims, the debtor says in a Delaware federal bankruptcy court notice (In re: Maremont Corporation, et al., No. 19-10118, D. Del. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — A New York appellate court on July 8 further reduced what was once a $10 million award for future pain and suffering, telling the plaintiff she must accept $500,000 for what was a month of future pain and suffering or face a new trial. The court affirmed the liability finding and $5 million award for past pain and suffering (Frank Gondar v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190079-2015, 9722, 9721, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Div.).
HELENA, Mont. — Transporting vermiculate in the 1970s was not an abnormally dangerous activity for a railroad, and federal law preempts any claims arising from “small traces” of asbestos contamination, BNSF Railway Co. tells the Montana Supreme Court in a July 8 brief (BNSF Railway Co. v. The Asbestos Claims Court of the State of Montana, et al., Nos. OP 19-0085, Mont. Sup.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on June 27 lifted the automatic stay in the Chapter 11 case of Imerys Talc America Inc. to allow state court appeals of two asbestos liability judgments against the debtor totaling more than $48 million to proceed under stipulations allowing the judgments to be collected from bonds if the appeals are unsuccessful (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-bk-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Excess insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Imerys Talc America Inc. will have to wait for the outcome of an adversary proceeding in Delaware federal bankruptcy court to find out what coverage is available for asbestos claims under policies issued to the debtor and affiliates after the court on June 28 denied the insurers’ request for relief from the bankruptcy stay to allow a California court to decide the coverage issues (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 19-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on June 19 remanded a woman’s lawsuit claiming that a deceased man’s exposure to asbestos-containing talc products sold by Johnson & Johnson caused him to develop mesothelioma and die, finding that the bankruptcy filing of the company that supplied talc to Johnson & Johnson does not trigger federal jurisdiction (Louisemarie Honor v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 19-10760-RWZ, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103057).
NEW YORK — A mesothelioma sufferer seeking to vacate a bankruptcy court ruling that her premises liability claim against a subsidiary of former Chapter 11 debtor Johns-Manville Corp. is enjoined by a bankruptcy injunction used a New York federal judge’s local rules on May 30 to remind him that her appeal has been fully briefed and waiting for a decision for more than two years (Lynda Berry v. Graphic Packaging International, Inc., No. 16-5817, S.D. N.Y.).