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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Summary Judgment Affirmed in Favor of Successor Premises Owner Where Bankruptcy Code Extinguished Claims

Jacqueline and Thomas Wagner filed suit against Standard Steel LLC for Ms. Wagner’s alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of take home exposure from the work clothes of her husband. Mr. Wagner worked as a laborer and crane operator at Freedom Forge from 1970-72. Freedom Forge filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2001. Appellee Standard Steel LLC purchased the sale of Freedom Forge’s assets in 2002. The bankruptcy court confirmed the sale and found: 1) the sale price was fair and reasonable at an …

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Non-Malignant but Not Malignant Claims Part of Bankruptcy Estate

This case is part of the consolidated asbestos products liability multidistrict litigation (MDL 875), and is on the court’s maritime docket. The plaintiffs alleged the decedent William Lawrence was exposed to asbestos while working aboard various ships. Ship owners represented by Thomson Hine (the defendants) filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied.

In 1996, Mr. Lawrence brought claims for non-malignant asbestos-related disease against various defendants, including the defendant ship owners. Two months later, Mr. Lawrence filed for bankruptcy and did not list …

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Certification of Class for Unmanifested Asbestos Claims in Bankruptcy Court Denied

Debtors filed voluntary petitions for relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court; certain debtors’ subsidiaries have potential liability related to former employees’ alleged exposure to asbestos in power plants owned or operated by debtors’ predecessors. The bankruptcy court issued an order setting a bar date for all asbestos claimants, establishing requirements for proofs of claim for manifested and unmanifested asbestos claimants, and notice procedures. Appellants filed a motion seeking to have the court, among other things, certify a class of persons holding unmanifested asbestos claims. …

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