Insurer Liability Remanded for Further Factual Findings as to Statutory Relationship Requirement

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, September 15, 2021

W.R. Grace & Co. (Grace) operated an asbestos mining and processing facility in Montana from 1963 to 1990. After declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Grace emerged and reorganized. Its reorganization plan included the establishment of an asbestos personal-injury trust, through which all asbestos-related personal injury claims against Grace were to be enjoined and channeled. The question before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit panel involved the Grace insurers and whether they could …

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2021 Second Quarter Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Alert

As previously reported on Asbestos Case Tracker, by the end of the first quarter of 2021 there were 11 trusts which had changes impacting the amount of compensation available to individuals claiming asbestos-related injuries. As the second quarter of 2021 comes to a close, there are now changes to nine trusts, five of which also saw changes at the end of the first quarter. Below is a summary of the changes, to date.

Bankrupt TrustChange
CelotexIncreased its payment percentage from 7.7% to 8%
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2021 First Quarter Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Alert

Asbestos bankruptcy trusts remain a topic frequently monitored and reported on Asbestos Case Tracker.  As the first quarter of 2021 comes to a close, we have seen a number of changes to 11 trusts that will impact the amount of compensation available to individuals claiming asbestos-related injuries. 

Below is a summary of the changes, to date. It will be interesting to see how the PROTECT Asbestos Victims Act, reported on last month, may impact the bankruptcies if it progresses.

Bankrupt TrustChange
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A Matter of Trust: Promoting Truth in New York Asbestos Trust Claims with Legislative Solutions

Previously on Asbestos Case Tracker, we took a look at the successful efforts of certain states to combat manipulation and abuse of the asbestos bankruptcy trust system. These states passed legislation that prevents claimants from being doubly compensated for alleged exposures to asbestos-containing products manufactured, used, or supplied by bankrupt and viable companies. The legislation enabled defendants in the tort system to obtain evidence of alternative exposures submitted only to bankruptcy trusts but not during the course of personal injury litigation.

New York’s Solution

New …

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Third Circuit Denies Defendants’ Request for Unlimited Access to Exhibits Submitted to Bankruptcy Trusts

Defendants Honeywell and Ford Motor appealed the District Court’s decision affirming the denial of “unconditional access” to numerous exhibits submitted in connection with “administering nine asbestos bankruptcies.” The court had previously permitted review of the documents for three months with certain limitations. However, unfettered access was denied as doing so would “pose an undue risk of identity theft and exposure to private medical information.” The court concluded that the bankruptcy code permitted protection from disclosure of information that would “create an undue risk of identity …

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Claimants Committee Motion to Dismiss Denied by Bankruptcy Court; Finding that Bestwall’s Bankruptcy Reorganization was not Filed in Bad Faith

NORTH CAROLINA – Asbestos claimants (claimants committee) in this Chapter 11 case filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case filed by Georgia Pacific (GP) for its acquisition of Bestwall arguing that the petition was filed in bad faith and established a reorganization that was “objectively futile.”

By way of background, GP filed for corporate restructuring in 2017 as a result of “decades long” asbestos litigation liabilities. As many as 64,000 asbestos claims were pending against Bestwall as of the date of the petition alone. …

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Claims Against Manville Insurer Permitted to Proceed For Violation of Due Process

NEW YORK — The plaintiff, Salvador Parra, developed asbestosis after working as an insulator in the 1960s and 1970s. He filed suit in 2009 in Mississippi against numerous Manville-related entities, including Marsh USA, Inc., a Manville insurer. In 1986, Marsh contributed $29.75M to the Manville Trust in exchange for a release of all claims “arising out of or relating to services” performed by Marsh for Manville or “in connection with insurance policies issued to” Manville, and an injunction funneling all future such claims into the …

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Channeling Injunction Prohibits General Motor’s Wrongful Death Suit for Contribution against the Manville Trust

General Motors (GM) filed suit against the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust (Manville) seeking a declaratory order that its state suit against Manville was not barred by the longstanding “Channeling Injunction” of the Manville Corporation’s chapter 11 reorganization (the Plan) and subsequent order confirming the same.

Separate from the declaratory complaint, GM filed suit in Ohio state court against the estate of Bobby Bolen and multiple asbestos defendants including Manville. GM alleged the defendants were jointly and severally liable to GM as it had subrogated …

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Bankruptcy Court Grants Asbestos Defendants Limited Access to Bankrupt Trust Exhibits

Honeywell International, Inc. who was joined by Ford Motor Company moved for an order authorizing “any entity . . . to access, inspect, copy and receive copies of … any and all of the 2019 Exhibits filed with the Court in compliance with the 2019 Order or Bankruptcy Rule 2019.” In other words, Honeywell and Ford were seeking an order allowing it access to the statements and exhibits which asbestos claimants submitted in the captioned cases pursuant to Rule 2019 of the Federal Rules

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Appellate Court Grants New Trial Due to Lower Court’s Error on Jury Charge as to “Recklessness Standard”

In the matter of the Estate of Lee Holdsworth, in the Supreme Court of New York, Erie County (Lower Court), judgment was entered against the defendant Crane Co. upon a jury verdict finding that Crane Co. was 35 percent liable for the damages arising from injuries sustained by Lee Holdsworth (the plaintiff’s decedent) as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products used as component parts with the valves that defendant produced. The jury also determined the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the safety of …

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