CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on July 7 appointed an Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the new Chapter 11 case of two affiliates of Ingersoll-Rand and Trane Technologies at the request of the U.S. bankruptcy administrator (In re Aldrich Pump LLC, et al., No. 3:20-bk-30608, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
TRENTON, N.J. — The federal judge overseeing the talc multidistrict litigation in New Jersey severed the claims of 744 plaintiffs involved in 12 cases and remanded some the cases while finding jurisdiction lacking in others June 29 (Dawn Hannah v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 18-14637, Amy Johnson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-1423, Maureen Kassimali, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-5534, Darren Cartwright, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-5535, Sherron Gavin, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-10319, Amanda Reising, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-10320, Cynthia Gibson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-14637, Eleanor Barsh, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 17-17103, Lisa Hittler, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-17106, Tashay Benford, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-5590, Laura McConnell, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-9365, Cynthia Kannady, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-13476, D. N.J.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An expert witness is allowed to offer opinions on how pollution cleanup costs for a Superfund site in Seattle should be allocated among responsible parties, including Chapter 11 debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc., a federal bankruptcy judge ruled in a June 24 docket entry (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on June 19 granted motions by asbestos claimant representatives to strike an expert’s declaration and a brief from Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC on estimating the company’s liability for mesothelioma claims after the representatives called the pleadings hearsay and impermissible legal conclusions (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Two mining companies that supplied talc to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) filed an adversary action in Delaware federal bankruptcy court on June 15 against J&J and another former talc supplier, Chapter 11 debtor Imerys Talc America Inc., seeking a declaration that they have valid indemnity rights against J&J for asbestos claims and that those rights have not been transferred to the debtor (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 19-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
BALTIMORE — There are no valid grounds to impose sanctions on an asbestos plaintiff’s attorney for continuing to litigate claims against a reorganized corporate debtor even after learning that the claims were barred by the company’s bankruptcy case, the plaintiff argues in a June 23 supplemental brief in opposition to the company’s bid to have her pay its attorney fees (In re RailWorks Corporation, et al., No. 01-64463, L.K. Comstock & Company, Inc. v. Irene Reibie, et al., Adv. No. 19-00199, D. Md. Bkcy.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A global resolution to all coverage disputes that will see insurers of defunct Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. pay $21 million to resolve the company’s asbestos personal injury claims was approved June 22 by a Washington federal bankruptcy judge (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two newly formed affiliates of industrial manufacturing giants Ingersoll-Rand and Trane Technologies filed a Chapter 11 petition on June 18 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court after corporate restructurings left the affiliates holding all of the former companies’ asbestos liabilities (In re Aldrich Pump LLC, et al., No. 3:20-bk-30608, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
By Kevin McKie
NEW YORK — Evidence that tobacco products a man used would have included warnings and whether he saw or regarded them creates questions for a jury and does not entitle two defendants to summary judgment, a New York justice held June 16 (Anne Marie Fahey, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 190231/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2671).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on June 18 appointed the candidate of Chapter 11 debtor Paddock Enterprises LLC to represent future asbestos personal injury claimants after rejecting the candidate of the U.S. trustee and the trustee’s request to appoint an examiner for the case (In re Paddock Enterprises, LLC, No. 20-10028, D. Del. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — A hearing on a request by Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. to sell its rights to priority claims in an insolvent insurer’s liquidation case drew more bidders for the claims, and a New York federal bankruptcy judge on June 11 approved the highest offer received at the hearing, bringing in $108,000 more to the bankruptcy estate (In re: Rapid-American Corporation, No. 13-10687, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
CHICAGO — The majority of a First District Illinois Appellate Court panel on June 12 affirmed a trial court’s ruling in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that the insured’s primary policies are not annualized and are each subject to a per-occurrence limit of $20 million (John Crane Inc. v. Allianz Underwriters Insurance Co., et al., No. 1-18-0223, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 6th Div., 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 369).
TRENTON, N.J. — Commercial activities cannot be considered efforts at influencing governments and are not protected speech, plaintiffs in the federal action involving talc tell a New Jersey federal judge in a June 9 brief in defending claims against and advocacy group (In re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Litigation, MDL No. 2738, No. 16-2738, D. N.J.).
HONOLULU — Factual and other differences in 56 fraudulent concealment claims against asbestos defendant Cleaver-Brooks Inc. preclude a consolidated trial, a federal judge in Hawaii said June 8 (Terry N. Agena, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks Inc., et al., No. 19-89, D. Hawaii, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99993).
By Evelyn Fletcher Davis
TRENTON, N.J. — Holding a manufacturer liable for asbestos-containing replacement parts where it originally incorporated such parts and the product required them provides the biggest remedy for the smallest cost, a majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court said June 3 in affirming an appellate court ruling and remanding (Arthur G. Whelan v. Armstrong International Inc., et al., No. A-40/41/42/43/44/45/46-18, N.J. Sup.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A bankruptcy judge did not have jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction protecting Georgia-Pacific and its spin-off affiliate, Chapter 11 debtor Bestwall LLC, because it failed to account for the improper corporate restructuring of Georgia-Pacific, asbestos claimants’ representatives tell a North Carolina federal court in their May 29 reply briefs on appeal (Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants of Bestwall LLC v. Bestwall LLC, No. 3:20-cv-103, Sander L. Esserman v. Bestwall LLC, No. 3:20-cv-105,W.D. N.C.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal judge in a June 2 docket entry closed an appeal in a long-running dispute over whether asbestos claimants can pursue state court claims against insurers of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. after the parties belatedly notified the court that the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed in December to hear a direct appeal (Continental Casualty Co., et al. v. Jeremy B. Carr, et al., No. 1:19-cv-1871, D. Del.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on June 1 approved an incentive bonus plan for two executives of Chapter 11 debtor Imerys Talc America Inc. that was modified after the U.S. trustee objected to the plan (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 19-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).