NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals handed Johns-Manville Corp.’s insurance broker a win Feb. 19 in a long-running dispute over whether asbestos claimants can hold the broker liable for their injuries in state court. They can’t, the Second Circuit said, reversing a district court’s finding that their due process rights were violated in Johns-Manville’s bankruptcy case (In re Johns-Manville Corp., Marsh USA, Inc. v. The Bogdan Law Firm, No. 18-2531, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 5019).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Fair Share Act does not upset the state’s traditional per capita apportionment of fault in strict liability cases, but does permit the inclusion of settled asbestos bankruptcy entities on the verdict sheet, a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Feb. 19 (William Roverano, et al. v. John Crane Inc., et al., No. 27 EAP 2018, Pa. Sup., 2020 Pa. LEXIS 1035).
PHILADELPHIA — Approval of a claims bar date and reorganization plan for Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) did not violate the due process rights of people who develop asbestos diseases in the future because the plan leaves them a good chance to have their claims reinstated by a bankruptcy judge when they arise, the Third Circuit U.S Court of Appeals held Feb. 18 (In re: Energy Future Holdings, et al., No. 19-1430, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 4947).
PHILADELPHIA — A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling does not support the proposition that a bankruptcy claims bar date order is a final order, holders of “unmanifested” asbestos claims told the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 31, while Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) said the bar date is a final order under the high court’s holding, meaning an appeal by the claimants is untimely (In re: Energy Future Holdings, et al., No. 19-1430, 3rd Cir.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal bankruptcy judge committed reversible error in denying an insurer’s bid to vacate a stay order barring its contribution claims against other insurers for asbestos claims against Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc., the insurer argues in a Jan. 31 reply brief on appeal in federal court (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., et al., No. 3:19-cv-5648, W.D. Wash.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 31 mostly upheld her ruling issuing an injunction in the Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC protecting the debtor and affiliates, including Georgia-Pacific LLC, from asbestos claims but warned that she won’t decide until a reorganization plan confirmation hearing which parties are entitled to permanent injunctive relief (Bestwall LLC v. Those Parties Listed on Appendix A to Complaint, et al., No. 17-03105, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 29 entered a temporary restraining order halting the prosecution of all asbestos personal injury claims against new Chapter 11 debtor DBMP LLC and its affiliates, including the former CertainTeed Corp., pending a hearing on injunctive relief to further protect the debtor and affiliates (DBMP LLC v. Those Parties Listed on Appendix A to Complaint, et al., No. 20-03004, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New Chapter 11 debtor DBMP LLC asked a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge Jan. 23 to appoint the members of an ad hoc asbestos claimants’ committee to the official committee for the duration of the case (In re DBMP LLC, No. 3:20-bk-30080, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — New Chapter 11 debtor Paddock Enterprises LLC asked a Delaware federal bankruptcy court on Jan. 22 to appoint a longtime advocate for future asbestos disease sufferers in corporate bankruptcies as the future claimants’ representative (FCR) for its case (In re Paddock Enterprises, LLC, No. 20-10028, D. Del. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 17 declined to reconsider his decision to stay a declaratory judgment dispute between Chapter 11 debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. and their main asbestos insurer pending resolution of the debtors’ plans to reorganize (Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 3:19-cv-467, W.D. N.C.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana jury in October 2019 awarded $8,214,479.35 to the widow and four children of a man exposed to asbestos as an insulator, sources told Mealey Publications (Elray Lege,et al. v. Union Carbide, et al., No. 2016-5598, La. Dist., Orleans Parish).
NEW YORK — Plaintiffs’ premature disclosure of the deposition testimony of Johnson & Johnson’s chief executive officer warrants an award of fees and costs, a New York justice held Jan. 17. But whether the plaintiffs are entitled to depose more company employees is a question for the special master, he said (Donald Minassian, et al. v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. 190399/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Having never previously suggested that producing records of pre-2002 asbestos litigation posed a burden, Honeywell International Inc. cannot reasonably rely on the argument in a motion for reconsideration, a federal magistrate judge in Kentucky said Jan. 6 (Jack Papineau, et al. v. Brake Supply Company Inc., et al., No. 18-168, W.D. Ky.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A newly formed affiliate of frequent asbestos personal injury defendant CertainTeed LLC filed a Chapter 11 petition on Jan. 23 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court looking to permanently resolve CertainTeed’s asbestos liabilities through establishment of a settlement trust (In re DBMP LLC, No. 3:20-bk-30080, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 said it wants to know what asbestos claimants and Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) think about the impact a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has on their dispute over the constitutionality of discharging claims of future but yet unknown disease sufferers (In re: Energy Future Holdings, et al., No. 19-1430, 3rd Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — A trial court did not err in rejecting a couple’s challenges to expert testimony that talc was free of asbestos, and because they offered no competing expert testimony, the judge properly granted summary judgment, a California appeals court held Jan. 22 (Ann Patrice Gibbons, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., No. B288031, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK — A couple’s asbestos personal injury claims against Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. will be heard in New York state court; a federal judge on Jan. 15 remanded the case because the debtor removed it too late (Anna Nocelli, et al. v. Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-cv-1980, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9025).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal bankruptcy court’s denial of an insurer’s bid to vacate a stay order barring its contribution claims against other insurers for asbestos claims against Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. is only an interlocutory ruling and is therefore not appealable, the other insurers, who have settled with the debtor, say in a Jan. 10 appellee brief in federal court (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., et al., No. 3:19-cv-5648, W.D. Wash.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal bankruptcy judge issued a scheduling order Jan. 16 for resolution of the remaining issues in a long-running dispute between Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. and insurers over coverage for asbestos liability while the parties await his ruling on their last round of summary judgment briefing (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis jury on Dec. 20 returned a verdict for Johnson & Johnson in a case in which the plaintiff claimed that asbestos in the company’s talc product led her to develop ovarian cancer (Vickie Forrest v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1522-CC00419-01, Mo. Cir., St. Louis Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.