Johnson & Johnson’s Indirect Subsidiary Seeks Chapter 11 Protection and Establishment of Trust Relating to Cosmetic Talc Claims

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina, October 14, 2021

On October 14, 2021, LTL Management LLC, an indirect subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, filed papers in connection with pursuing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division. According to its informational brief, LTL Management seeks to “resolve permanently all mass tort claims relating to its cosmetic talc products in a manner that is efficient and equitable to all parties, including current …

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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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Proof of Claim Bankruptcy Documents Ruled Discoverable with Redaction of Settlement Amounts and Sensitive Medical Information

Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Monroe, July 15, 2021

In this case, the plaintiff moved for a protective order granting partial relief from Subpoenas Duces Tecum served on non-party bankruptcy trusts. The plaintiff requested redactions of information regarding settlement amounts, nonparty-affiant personal information, highly sensitive and personal medical issues, and claim specific identification information generated by the trusts. The plaintiff additionally moved for in-camera inspection citing privacy concerns, while conceding that there was not privilege or prejudice.

The defendants opposed …

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North Dakota Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Transparency Act Deemed Constitutional, Plaintiffs Demanded to Disclose Bankruptcy Trust Filings

U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota

In Kotalik v. A.W. Chesterton Co., several defendants filed motions to enforce the plaintiffs’ compliance with disclosure requirements of North Dakota’s Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Transparency Act. Counsel for the defendants as well as plaintiffs moved the court for a hearing on the issue. Lastly, plaintiffs’ counsel moved for a certification of a question to the North Dakota Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Trust Transparency Act.

In its analysis, the court held that plaintiffs …

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Asbestos Claims Against Bankrupt Entities Barred Under Confirmation Order

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Maryland. March 02, 2020

The plaintiffs were various entities who filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in 2001. Their bankruptcy confirmation order set a bar date for the filing of claims by creditors against the entities. Nearly 16 years later, asbestos claimants filed claims for exposure to asbestos in Pennsylvania.  The plaintiffs then filed suit against the asbestos claimants as an adversarial bankruptcy proceeding. Motions for summary judgment were filed by both sides.

The court first set out to …

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Filing Date for Latent Asbestos Claimants Found Not to Violate Due Process in Reorganization Plan

United States Court of Appeals Third Circuit, February 18 2020

DELAWARE – The appellants are latent asbestos claimants who did not file by the bar date set by Chapter 11 bankruptcy but who were subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma. The appellee is Energy Future Holdings Corporation (EFH), which was a holding company for several energy properties. Those subsidiaries became defunct long ago as a result of asbestos litigation. EFH also filed for bankruptcy as a result of vast sums of money owed to asbestos debtors. The …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand Granted Due to Untimely Notice of Removal by Bankrupt Defendant

NEW YORK – On Nov. 29, 2016, the plaintiffs, Anna and Guido Nocelli, both citizens of New York, filed an action in the Supreme Court of New York alleging 11 causes of action related to Anna Nocelli’s, alleged asbestos-related disease. The initial complaint named multiple defendants, including the Union Carbide Corp., that were citizens of New York. The plaintiffs allege they were legally barred from naming Kaiser Gypsum Company  as a defendant in the initial complaint because Kaiser filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in …

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J&J’s Emergency Motion for Provisional Transfer Deemed Unwarranted, Denied

DELAWARE — Non-debtors Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (J&J) filed an emergency motion for provisional transfer, seeking entry of an order directing provisional transfer of approximately 2,400 federal and state personal injury and wrongful death actions, pending the court’s decision on J&J’s motion to fix venue for claims. The motions relate to the chapter 11 cases of Imerys Talc America, Inc. and certain affiliates (debtors), which were filed on February 13, 2019.

The plaintiffs in the approximately 2,400 federal and state …

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Limited Access to Exhibits Filed in Asbestos-Related Bankruptcy Cases was Proper Under Bankruptcy Code Section 107

DELAWARE — Appellants Honeywell and Ford filed a request seeking unlimited access to thousands of exhibits (2019 Exhibits) filed in nine Delaware bankruptcy cases commenced in connection with the debtors’ asbestos-related liabilities (Consolidated Cases). All but one of the nine Consolidated Cases was closed. The appellants argued they were entitled to indefinite access to the 2019 Exhibits, including investigating potential fraud in the claims process and advancing the appellants’ legislative and lobbying activities. The appellees (various Trust Advisory Committees and Future Claimants Representatives) opposed 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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