- Volume 17, Issue #11
- 7th Circuit Says Jurisdiction Lacking For John Crane's RICO Claims Against Firms
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 4 agreed with a federal judge that fraud and racketeering suits filed by frequent asbestos defendant John Crane Inc. (JCI) against two law firms and their principals do not belong in Illinois federal court just because JCI is located in that state (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., Nos. 17-1809 and 17-1926, John Crane Inc. v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, et al., No. 17-1814, 7th Cir.).
- Maryland Casualty Says Latest Insurer Liability Action Should Get The Boot
WILMINGTON, Del. - A recent lawsuit in a string of actions seeking to hold insurers of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. liable for claimants' asbestos diseases should be dismissed because a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge has already found that the claims are barred by the protections afforded the insurers in W.R. Grace's reorganization, one insurer argues in a June 15 filing (Barbara Hunt, et al. v. Maryland Casualty Company, No. 18-50402, D. Del. Bkcy.).
- Insurer, Claims Company Deny Fraud Claims, Seek To Remove Bankruptcy Reference
CHICAGO - Fraud allegations leveled by the Oakfabco Inc. Asbestos Claimants' Committee against insurers and a claims management company involving missing asbestos policies fail because the committee cannot even prove that the policies exist, the insurers and company say May 30 in an Illinois federal bankruptcy adversary case (Asbestos Claimants Committee v. American Casualty Company of Reading, PA, et al., No. 18-00002, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
- Representation, Standing Debated In Bid To Hold Johns-Manville Broker Liable
NEW YORK - The future claimants' representative (FCR) in the landmark bankruptcy case of Johns-Manville Corp. did not represent an asbestos claimants' in personam claims against the company's insurance broker, so the broker can be held independently liable for asbestos personal injury claims, a claimant's law firm says June 8 on appeal in New York federal court (The Bogdan Law Firm v. Marsh USA, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-01228, S.D. N.Y.).
- Kaiser Gypsum Directed To Assume Insurers' Asbestos Coverage Agreement
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on May 29 ordered Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. to assume a settlement agreement among the debtor's insurers for payment of asbestos claims, saying the assumption is conditioned on approval of Kaiser's plan to send stayed asbestos claims back to the tort system (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
- Hospital, W.R. Grace Dispute 3rd Circuit's Jurisdiction In Latest Appeal
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge's ruling that the reorganization plan for former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. trumps the federal rules for class certification makes a bankruptcy court's denial of certification for a class of property owners an appealable decision, a South Carolina hospital tells the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a June 8 jurisdictional statement (In re Grace & Co., et al., No. 18-1960, 3rd Cir.).
- Kaiser Gypsum Stay Lifted So Claimant Can Collect Asbestos Judgment
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An asbestos judgment winner can proceed with her appeal in a California court to recover more than $360,000 from Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co., despite objections by the company and its primary insurer, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge ruled June 14 in a minute order lifting the automatic bankruptcy stay (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
- W.R. Grace Says Facts, Law Are On Its Side In Row Over Tax Refund Interest
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Internal Revenue Service gets the facts wrong and misreads the law in arguing for a reduced interest rate on a tax refund to former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co., the company said June 1 in the IRS's appeal in Delaware federal court (United States v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 17-cv-1588, D. Del.).
- Bankruptcy Judge Closes Geo. V. Hamilton's Chapter 11 Case
PITTSBURGH - The relatively brief and uncomplicated Chapter 11 case of insulation distributor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc. came to an end June 13 when a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge issued a final decree closing the case (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
- Delaware Jury Hits Ford With $41.6M Asbestos Verdict
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware jury on June 8 awarded a widow $40,625,000 in compensatory damages for her husband's fatal mesothelioma, finding Ford Motor Co. 20 percent liable and following the award up with $1 million in punitive damages (Larry Knecht, et al. v. Borg-Warner Corp., et al., No. N14C-08-164, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
- Iowa Supreme Court Orders Retrial Of $4 Million Asbestos Verdict
DES MOINES, Iowa - A $4 million asbestos verdict improperly built on closing arguments asking the jury to punish the defendant, so the case must be retried, the Iowa Supreme Court held June 1 (Shari Kinseth, et al. v. Weil-McLain Co., et al., No. 15-0943, Iowa App., 2018 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 59).
- Judge: Weyerhaeuser Escapes Household, Environmental Asbestos Exposure Claims
MADISON, Wis. - A jury could not conclude from the presented evidence that household or environmental exposures to asbestos led to two individuals' mesotheliomas, a federal judge in Wisconsin held June 8 in granting a premises owner summary judgment (Pamela Kilty, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-515, Scott Spatz, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-726, W.D. Wis.).
- Magistrate Judge Says Allegations Fall Short Of Asbestos Conspiracy Claim
WILMINGTON, Del. - Nothing in late-added allegations supports the conclusion that Crane Co. conspired with the U.S. Navy to hide the dangers of asbestos, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware said June 6 in recommending judgment for the defendant (Marguerite MacQueen v. Warren Pumps LLC, et al., No. 13-831, D. Del., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41749).
- Johnson & Johnson Loses Second Asbestos Trial; Punitives Push Award To $25.75M
WEST COVINA, Calif. - A California jury on May 24 added $4 million in punitive damages to an asbestos-tainted talc verdict against Johnson & Johnson, bringing the total verdict to $25.75 million, sources told Mealey's Publications. The company has now been hit with more than $142 million in damages a little more than a month (Joanne Anderson, et al. Borg Warner Corp., et al., BC666513, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
- Minnesota Court Affirms $3.7M Award, Rejects Expert, Liability Challenges
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota court on May 21 affirmed a $3.7 million asbestos verdict, rejecting a defendant's claim that experts testified that every exposure to asbestos caused disease, that the expert testimony did not support the verdict and that the court should have applied 2003 amendments to the joint and several liability standard (Jenella Conda v. 3M, et al., Nos. A17-1381, A17-2040, Minn. App., 2018 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 423).