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).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 5 declined to reconsider its July decision compelling two insurance companies to pay more than $500 million to asbestos personal injury plaintiffs in Johns-Manville Corp.'s bankruptcy case under settlements reached more than 10 years ago (In re: Johns-Manville Corp., [Common Law Settlement Counsel, Statutory and Hawaii Direct Action Settlement Counsel and Asbestos Personal Injury Plaintiffs v. The Travelers Indemnity Company and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, FKA Aetna Casualty and Surety Company], Nos. 12-1094, 12-1150 and 12-1205, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK - A reinsurer in liquidation told the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 19 that a trial court judge erred when considering a motion to dismiss because the judge allegedly made inferences in favor of the defendant/reinsureds instead of the plaintiff/reinsurer (Mariah Re Ltd. [In Liquidation], acting by and through Geoffrey Varga and Jess Shakespeare, in their capacities as Liquidators thereof v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-4062, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK - Although claimants asserted non-bankruptcy claims for violation of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, a New York federal judge on Dec. 18 found that proofs of claim asserted against a bankruptcy entity should be decided by a bankruptcy court (Ronald A. Eriksen, et al. v. Residential Capital LLC, et al., No. 14-CV-7205, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175001).
LONDON - Imperial Tobacco Canada, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, will pay $575 million to settle asbestos-related litigation involving The Flintkote Co., the company announced Dec. 16 in a news release.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Any evidence gleaned from deposing an asbestos trust representative would be cumulative of and more easily obtained through the trust's governing documents, a Rhode Island judge held Dec. 16 (Maureen Gallagher, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5269, Constance Podedworny, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5268, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174226).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Dec. 16 granted New York's superintendent of financial services' petition for an order to liquidate an insurer (In the Matter of UHAB Mutual Insurance Company, No. 452618/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Dec. 12 affirmed a lower court decision compelling appraisal of alleged sinkhole damage to a home insured by an insolvent insurer (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Kenneth Sill, et al., No. 5D13-3363, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 20156).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 16 stayed a suit against an insolvent insurer, noting that the liquidating court had ordered the end of all litigation against the insolvent insurer (Air Tropiques, S.P.R.L. v. Northern & Western Insurance Company, Ltd., et al., No. 13-cv-01438, S.D. Texas).
NEW YORK - Enforcement of a sale order and injunction entered as part of General Motors LLC's (New GM) acquisition of the assets of General Motors Corp. (Old GM) will violate the due process rights of plaintiffs in the ignition switch litigation against New GM, a group of GM vehicle owners argue in a memorandum filed Dec. 16 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (In re: Chapter 11 Motors Liquidation Co., et al., f/k/a General Motors Corp., et al., No. 09-50026, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
NEWARK, N.J. - The New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) attempt to recoup $500 million from reorganized building products company G-I Holdings Inc. for abatement of asbestos property damage should be rejected because the authority cannot support its allegations that asbestos products installed in its buildings are inherently dangerous to tenants or that the dangers of the products create a duty to abate in the interest of public safety, G-I argues in a Dec. 15 brief supporting a motion for summary judgment in New Jersey federal bankruptcy court (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Chapter 11 debtor Yarway Corp. and its corporate parent will pay $325 million to fund an asbestos personal injury trust in return for protection from all claims alleging that Yarway's products caused asbestos injuries, according to a term sheet filed Dec. 12 in Delaware federal bankruptcy court for a settlement on a consensual plan of reorganization for the debtor (In re: Yarway Corporation, No. 13-11025, D. Del. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Dec. 9 denied a request by the committee representing asbestos claimants in Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC's bankruptcy case to reopen the record of the hearing held to estimate Garlock's asbestos liability, rejecting the committee's contention that new evidence shows that Garlock committed a fraud upon the court (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Delaware federal court and federal bankruptcy court on Dec. 10 both approved a plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Specialty Products Holding Corp. and affiliates after the plan, which establishes two asbestos personal injury trusts totaling nearly $800 million, was accepted by more than 99 percent of asbestos claimants and received no objections (In re: Specialty Products Holding Corp., et al., No. 10-11780, D. Del. Bkcy.; In re: Specialty Products Holding Corp., et al., No. 14-246, D. Del.).