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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Seven Manufacturers/Suppliers Obtain Summary Judgment As Plaintiff Could Not Meet the Causation Standard

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, April 28, 2021

In this asbestos action, the plaintiff alleged that the decedent Carl Gay developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos numerous the defendants’ products. Six defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff did not properly identify their products. Specifically, they argued that the plaintiff could not show that the decedent was exposed to their respective products with the necessary frequency, regularity, and proximity to cause his mesothelioma. They also argued that the plaintiff …

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Steam Equipment Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Product Identification Grounds

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, April 28, 2021

The plaintiff alleged that the decedent, Carl E. Gay, was exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force from 1946 to 1958 and 1958 to 1967, respectively; and while employed by General Electric Co. from 1967 to 1974 and Stone and Webster from 1974 to 1989; and from performing Shadetree automotive work beginning in the 1940s. Mr. Gay was deposed over the course of nine days and …

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Two Navy Defendants Dismissed on Personal Jurisdiction Grounds Under U.S. Supreme Court Ford Decision

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, April 28, 2021

The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos during his 22-year career as a Machinist’s Mate in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1980. He filed suit against numerous defendants, including Alfa Laval, Inc. and Viad Corp. in Florida. Only one of the ships on which the plaintiff served while in the Navy was stationed in Florida during the time that he was onboard—the U.S.S. Pawcatuck, which was docked …

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Summary Judgment Upheld as to Manufacturer and Supper of Asbestos Insulation

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, April 27, 2021

On June 11, 2017, Charles F. Connor (the decedent) died at the age of 90 of mesothelioma. Following his death, his son Darrell Connor (the appellant), individually and as executor of Mr. Connor’s estate, brought a wrongful death action. The appellant named 22 defendants and stated a plethora of causes of action arising under both federal and North Carolina law. All of the appellant’s claims boil down to one straightforward accusation: that the …

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Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand in Talc Case Granted; In-State Defendant Properly Joined

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, April 22, 2021

In this asbestos action, Lynne Roy (the decedent) contended that she developed mesothelioma after using various talc products throughout her life. She filed a complaint in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans where she alleged several state law based claims, including strict liability, negligence, professional vendor liability, failure to warn, breach of warranty, defective design, and civil conspiracy. The complaint only named one in-state defendant, K&B. With regard to K&B, …

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Summary Judgment to American Oil Company Defendants Upheld on Appeal Pursuant to Sabetian

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate Division, April 20, 2021

The plaintiff appealed from an entry of summary judgment to defendants Chevron Corporation, Chevron U.S.A., Inc., and Texaco, Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corporation and ExxonMobil Corporation. The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while an Iranian citizen working for the National Iranian Oil Company from the late 1950s to 1980, in facilities controlled by the defendants. On the defendants motions for summary judgment, the trial court found that they did not owe …

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Molding Compound Defendant’s MSJ Denied as Federal Court Abandons Iowa’s Sole Proximate Cause Defense

U.S. District Court for Middle District of North Carolina, April 15, 2021

Plaintiff Marion Reed brings this case on behalf of his deceased wife, Barbara Reed, the decedent, who worked for a Square D manufacturing plant from 1972 to 1976, and died in 2017 from mesothelioma. Defendant Reichhold Liquidation, Inc. moved for summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs’ claims against it. Reichhold argued that the evidence established that the conduct of Square D was the sole proximate cause of the decedent’s injuries and that …

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Naval Defendant Denied Reconsideration of Summary Judgment Regarding Government Contractor Defense

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, April 14, 2021

In this asbestos action, decedent Arthur Hammell served on the USS Charles H. Roan in the 1960s. During this time, the Roan was equipped with forced draft blowers manufactured by Westinghouse. Westinghouse previously moved for summary judgment on several grounds, all of which were denied by Judge Michael Shipp, as previously reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker.

Thereafter, Westinghouse moved for reconsideration of Judge’s Shipp’s ruling with regard to their government contractor …

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Motions for Summary Judgment on Causation Issues Denied as Issues of Fact Exist

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

In this asbestos action, the decedent, Donald Avakian, was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2017 and subsequently passed away in June 2019. The decedent contended that he worked with asbestos-containing products throughout his career, including friction products and floor tiles.

Two defendants moved for summary judgment. They argued that the plaintiff cannot establish general or specific causation against them. Specifically, the floor tile defendant set forth that “plaintiff has not offered any scientific evidence to prove …

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