TROY, Mich. — A subsidiary of commercial vehicle and industrial products maker Meritor Inc. is planning a “prepackaged” Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to shed its asbestos liabilities through a Section 524(g) trust — if it wins approval of voting asbestos personal injury claimants, the parent company said in a Dec. 4 news release.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Three asbestos trust claimants cannot pursue breach of fiduciary duty allegations against the trustees because their adversary action was never authorized, though one of the claimants has sufficient standing as a beneficiary of the trust to amend the complaint, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge ruled Nov. 16 (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., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 3673).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 20 allowed Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. to include certain releases and exculpations in its amended plan of reorganization, over the objections of the U.S. trustee and insurers, but said the debtor cannot release an asbestos trust trustee and advisory committee from claims because the trust does not exist yet (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 3662).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 20 approved the disclosure statement for Chapter 11 debtor Duro Dyne National Corp.’s prenegotiated plan of reorganization and set a date for the plan’s confirmation hearing (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The daughter of a man with mesothelioma who was appointed to the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC will succeed her father on the committee as representative of his estate and holder of a wrongful death claim against the debtor after the man died recently, according to a Nov. 20 order in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
LOS ANGELES — A California jury on Nov. 15 found that J-M Manufacturing Co. Inc. acted with malice in exposing a man to asbestos and tacked $15 million in punitive damages on to $15.2 million in compensatory damages it awarded earlier in the week, sources told Mealey Publications (Norris Morgan, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. BC695605, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois jury on Oct. 10 awarded $6,022,814.06 to the family of a pipe fitter who died of mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Sharon Daniels, et al. v John Crane Inc., et al., No. 2016-L-011308, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A bankruptcy court erred in approving settlements between Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. and several asbestos insurers and in barring equitable contribution and breach of contract claims by nonsettling insurers against the insurers, the nonsettling insurers told a Washington federal court Oct. 23 (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., Nos. 3:18-cv-5637 and 3:18-cv-05638, W.D. Wash.).
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Once again, a South Carolina jury hearing an asbestos-talc case informed the judge that it could not reach a verdict against Johnson & Johnson, culminating on Nov. 15 in a second mistrial in the case in just six months (Bertila Boyd-Bostic v. Imerys Talc America, et al., No. 17-CP-16-0400, S.C. Cir., Darlington Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 8 denied requests by Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. to employ as professionals two experts to help estimate the debtor’s future asbestos liability, but said the company is free to hire the experts without court approval and seek reimbursement for their fees (In re: Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., No. 18-41245, W.D. Wash. Bkcy.).
TRENTON, N.J. — With new Chapter 11 debtor Duro Dyne National Corp. already on the path to reorganization, a New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge on Oct. 17 denied a request by asbestos insurers to lift the automatic bankruptcy stay so a New York state court coverage case can proceed (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
COLUMBIA, Tenn. — A Tennessee jury awarded a widow $2,071,216.21 in her case alleging that her deceased husband was exposed to asbestos in industrial pipes and fittings. The jury’s Sept. 19 verdict held the lone remaining defendant 13 percent liable, sources told Mealey Publications (James Davis, et al. v. Ameron International Corp., et al., No. 15734, Tenn. Cir., Maury Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana jury on Oct. 23 returned a $5,474,934.20 asbestos verdict against shipyard Main Iron Works for a man’s fatal mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Donald Foret v. Taylor-Seidenbach Inc., et al., No. 2015-9079, La. Dist., Orleans Parish).
TRENTON, N.J. — A U.S. trustee in the Chapter 11 case of Duro Dyne National Corp. is continuing his fight against the usually routine appointment of a future claimants’ representative (FCR), on Oct. 31 appealing a New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge’s order naming a longtime representative for future asbestos claimants as FCR (In re: Duro Dyne National Corp., et al., No. 18-27963, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
SEATTLE — Washington state recognizes the apparent manufacturer doctrine, and when applied from a reasonable consumer’s perspective, the doctrine creates genuine issues about whether Pfizer Inc. held itself out as the manufacturer of the now-bankrupt Quigley Co. Inc.’s asbestos-containing refractory products, the state’s divided high court held Nov. 1 (Margaret Rublee, et al. v. Carrier Corp., et al., No. 94732-5, Wash. Sup., 2018 Wash. LEXIS 718).
NEW YORK — Midland Insurance Co., which is in liquidation, cannot prorate its asbestos coverage, a New York trial justice ruled Aug. 10, finding that a trust can pursue the full limits of excess policies issued by the insolvent insurer (In the matter of the liquidation of Midland Insurance Co., No. 041294/1986, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2018 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4668).
CHICAGO — Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. has reached a settlement with the last remaining insurers challenging the company’s reorganization efforts that will provide $2.65 million more in funding for an asbestos trust than a previous settlement amount, according to a notice of successful mediation the debtor filed Oct. 3 in Illinois federal bankruptcy court (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — Only 389 asbestos claimants out of the more than 4,000 claims that the Thorpe Trust seeks indemnification for from the Manville Trust have not already received settlements from both trusts, the Manville Trust reported Oct. 22 to a New York federal bankruptcy judge in the two trusts’ dispute over the indemnification claims (Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust v. Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 1:17-ap-1186, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals must reverse rulings placing limits on how Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc. can use asbestos claimants’ information from nine bankruptcy trusts and remand with instructions to grant them “full access” to the data to use as they wish, the companies argue in an Oct. 5 brief on appeal (In re: AC&S, Inc., et al., No. 18-1951, 3rd Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Insurers and the T H Agriculture & Nutrition LLC (THAN) asbestos trust have agreed on a proposed order that will govern their discovery disputes in a suit over the scope of the insurers’ rights to audit the trust for evidence of fraud, according to an Oct. 19 letter to the court from the trust (AIU Insurance Company, et al. v. Philips Electronics North America Corporation, et al., No. 9852, Del. Chanc.).