NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge on March 16 expanded the services of the special insurance counsel for asbestos personal injury creditors in the Chapter 11 case of Rapid-American Corp. to include insurance coverage litigation expected to be filed against the debtor's remaining excess insurers (In re: Rapid-American Corporation, No. 13-10687, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - With a second confirmation hearing for The Flintkote Co.'s plan of reorganization set for August, the Delaware federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the case on March 13 gave the debtor more time to file a plan, solicit votes on it and remove bankruptcy prepetition causes of action (In re: The Flintkote Co., et al., No. 04-11300, D. Del. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The most efficient forum for Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC's four adversary complaints accusing several asbestos plaintiff law firms of fraud is in North Carolina, where Garlock's bankruptcy case is pending, a federal judge in that state ruled March 9 in denying the law firms' motions to transfer the cases to the states where the underlying cases were heard (Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Waters & Kraus, LLP, et al., No. 14-130; Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Belluck & Fox, LLP, et al., No. 14-118; Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Shein Law Center, Ltd., et al., No. 14-137; and Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, APLC, et al., No. 14-116, W.D. N.C.).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 3 affirmed a lower court decision in favor of an insolvent insurer, holding that a bank did not prove that a purported forgery on a lease guaranty instrument caused the bank's loss of more than $2 million (BancInsure, Inc. v. Highland Bank, No. 13-3324, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3260).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Senate on Feb. 27 unanimously adopted legislation requiring plaintiffs to submit sworn statements disclosing asbestos bankruptcy trust submissions and taking other measures that will allegedly contribute to transparency in the process.
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 23 stayed an appeal by an attorney seeking to force six asbestos trusts to resume processing his claims until the court decides whether to dismiss the appeal at the request of the trusts for lack of jurisdiction (Michael J. Mandelbrot, et al. v. Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 14-4173, 3rd Cir.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida judge on Feb. 19 ordered a Nevada-domiciled insurer into an ancillary receivership after the insurer was put into liquidation in its home state (State of Florida, ex rel., the Florida Department of Financial Services v. Sensible Home Warranty, LLC, No. 2015-CA-0273, Fla. Cir., 2nd Cir., Leon Co.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 20 reversed and remanded a lower court, holding that ordering the state's insurance guarantor to participate in an appraisal of a home's sinkhole damage is at odds with the guarantor's statutory mandate (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, Inc. v. Donna Frank, No. 2D13-5453, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 2352).
WORCESTER, Mass. - T&N Ltd.'s bankruptcy plan envisions claims against it for the purpose of accessing nontransferable asbestos-insurance assets, but provides no extension of the bankruptcy stay past discharge, a panel of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 11 (Nora M. Barraford, et al. v. T&N Limited, f/k/a T&N PLC, et al., Katherine Lydon, et al. v. T&N Limited, et al., No. 14-1281, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2129).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico bankruptcy judge on Feb. 5 denied a request by objectors to retain the proceeds from the sale of a utility company because a state receiver allegedly undervalued the water rights belonging to a bankrupt company (In Re: Picacho Hills Utility Company, Inc., No. 13-10742, D. N.M. Bkcy.; 2015 Bankr. LEXIS 371).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 6 reversed and remanded a lower court decision against the state's insurance guaranty association, citing a recent case in which the appellate court determined the guarantor's obligations based on the statutory definition of "covered claim" that stood when the insurer at issue became insolvent (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, Inc. v. Darlene Waters, No. 2D13-4455, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 1585).
NEW YORK - Bankruptcy courts do not have jurisdiction to award compensation to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney and his retained legal accounting professionals out of assets in a 401(k) plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Feb. 5 (In the Matter of: Robert Plan Corporation [Kenneth Kirschenbaum v. United States Department of Labor], No. 14-1144, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1807).
PHILADELPHIA - A Delaware federal judge's decision to reject Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production's objections to the sale of six patents was proper, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 5 (In re: DDMG, No. 13-4278, 3rd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fraudulent concealment of exposure evidence by asbestos personal injury attorneys "is far closer to the norm that the exception," a law professor said at a U.S. House subcommittee hearing Feb. 4 on the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, while one asbestos attorney testified that there is no significant fraud in the asbestos trust system and that the House bill is just another tactic of asbestos producers to delay payments to dying victims.
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 27 issued an agreed-to protective order designating as confidential nine agreements between Chapter 11 debtor The Budd Co. Inc. and insurance companies involving the settlement or defense of asbestos personal injury claims and documents related to any reserves established by Budd for asbestos-related claims (In re: The Budd Company, Inc., No. 14-11873, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, on Jan. 26 reintroduced a bill that would amend the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to require asbestos trusts to submit quarterly reports containing detailed information on claims made to the trusts.
MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Supreme Court on Jan. 23 reversed a trial court's establishment of a final bar date because an insurer's liquidation estate has ample assets and the final bar date would be unfair to insureds and others with long-tail asbestos-related claims (In re Ambassador Insurance Company, Inc., No. 2013-184, Vt. Sup.).
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa insurance commissioner will liquidate CoOportunity Health Inc., a consumer-owned health insurance company started with $146 million in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) funds, it announced Jan. 23 (State of Iowa, et al. v. CoOpportunity Health Inc., No. N/A, Iowa Dist., Polk Co.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on Jan. 20 ordered an insurance company into rehabilitation and appointed the state's acting director of insurance as rehabilitator (People of the State of Illinois, ex rel. James A. Stephens, Acting Director of Insurance of the State of Illinois v. Millers Classified Insurance Company, an Illinois domestic stock insurance company, No. 2015CH00885, Ill. Cir., Cook Co., Chanc. Div.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Several asbestos plaintiffs' law firms and attorneys deny allegations by Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC that they schemed to defraud Garlock in tort system cases and say that complaints filed against them by Garlock should be dismissed because Garlock knew of the exposure evidence the law firms and attorneys allegedly withheld, according to answers to the complaints filed Jan. 21 in North Carolina federal court (Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Waters & Kraus, LLP, et al., No. 14-130; Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Belluck & Fox, LLP, et al., No. 14-118; Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Shein Law Center, Ltd., et al., No. 14-137; and Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, APLC, et al., No. 14-116; W.D. N.C.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A federal judge in Delaware on Jan. 16 agreed with a bankruptcy court judge's ruling that a plaintiff company could not pursue environmental law claims against Flintkote Co. because Flintkote no longer owns the property at issue (In re: Flintkote Company, No. 12-1176-LPS, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5406).
SEATTLE - Pfizer Inc.'s relationship with Quigley Co. Inc. did not make it liable for the latter company's asbestos-containing products, a federal judge in Washington held Jan. 12 (Shareleen Sprague, personal representative of the estate of James Olson v. Pfizer Inc., No. 14-5084, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3236).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC's reorganization will include $357.5 million in funding to resolve current and future asbestos personal injury claims under an agreement reached with the court-appointed representative of future asbestos claimants, according to a news release issued Jan. 13 by Garlock's parent (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A bar date for prepetition claims, including future claims by unknown persons who have yet to manifest any sign of illness from exposure to asbestos, must be established in the Chapter 11 case of Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) but may be extended later for cause shown, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge held Jan. 7 (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.; 2015 Bankr. LEXIS 27).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana on Jan. 5 granted a motion for summary judgment to a state's insurance guarantee association, holding that a claim in a trucking accident was not covered by an insolvent insurer's policy (Telimathy Barnett v. James L. Bullock, et al., No. 12-cv-00326, M.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147).