Asbestos Firm Ordered to Turn Over Client Information in Garlock RICO Case

Posted by

U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen affirmed a previous judge’s refusal to quash subpoenas issued by Garlock Sealing Technologies to 29 law firms, including Baron & Budd, Brayton Purcell, and Williams Kherker Hart Boundas. Garlock argued that the client records sought from these firms could help establish a pattern of racketeering by Belluck & Fox.  Though Judge Mullen agreed with Belluck & Fox’s assertion that the discovery requests were broad, he noted, “[y]et, so is the fraud in which Plaintiffs are alleged to have engaged.”

In addition to Belluck & Fox, Garlock currently has Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) lawsuits against Simon Greenstone of Dallas, Stanley-Iola of Dallas, Shein Law Center of Philadelphia, and Waters & Kraus of Dallas.  These suits were filed just days before a landmark ruling in 2014 in its bankruptcy case.  During the 2013 trial that decided how much money Garlock was to deposit into a bankruptcy trust to compensate asbestos victims, Garlock was permitted full discovery into the cases of 15 plaintiffs.  As a result, the evidence showed that plaintiffs’ attorneys often delayed submitted claims to the bankruptcy trusts while the lawsuits against solvent defendants like Garlock was were still pending.  Accordingly, Garlock argued that this was done in an effort to place more blame on Garlock, a sentiment with which Judge George Hodges ultimately agreed.  Thus, Judge Hodges ordered Garlock to put just $125 million in the trust, more than $1 billion less than what the plaintiffs’ attorneys had requested.