BOSTON - In what it deemed a case of first impression, a divided First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 12 found that a trademark licensee retains only the right to seek prepetition damages following a Chapter 11 debtor-in-possession's rejection of the underlying license agreement (Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC, No. 16-9016, 1st Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 870).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Insurers' rights to audit the T H Agriculture & Nutrition LLC (THAN) asbestos trust for evidence fraud must be decided at trial because the insurers and the trust put forth reasonable definitions of what those audit rights are, defeating summary judgment or dismissal, a Delaware state vice chancellor decided Jan. 11 (AIU Insurance Company, et al. v. Philips Electronics North America Corporation, et al., No. 9852, Del. Chanc.).
CHICAGO - Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. gave the go-ahead Dec. 20 to asbestos claimants to pursue a nine-count fraudulent inducement complaint against Oakfabco insurers and a claims management company alleging that they knew that additional coverage was available for asbestos claims when the insurers attempted to settle with Oakfabco before it filed for bankruptcy (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - A federal bankruptcy judge in New York on Dec. 15 denied Rapid-American Corp.'s request to make details of a proposed sale of claims on defunct insurance company, Midland Insurance Co., confidential, saying it had not even tried to give reason for the secrecy (In re: Rapid-American Corp., Chapter 11, No. 13-10687, S.D. Bkcy. N.Y., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 4266).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The revised plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) cannot be confirmed because its treatment of claimants who have not yet developed an asbestos disease is unlawful and it was proposed in bad faith, eight asbestos personal injury claimants tell the Delaware federal bankruptcy court in a Dec. 19 objection to the plan (In re Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Supreme Court on Nov. 28 ordered the creation of an asbestos claims court to oversee pretrial proceedings in the state's more than 540 asbestos cases (In re: Asbestos Litigation, No. AC 17-0694, Mont. Sup.).
PITTSBURGH - Negotiations between Chapter 11 debtor Geo. V. Hamilton Inc. and asbestos claimants on the company's proposed plan of reorganization continue, with the parties scheduled to file a report on their progress within a week, according to a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge's Nov. 17 minute order (In re Geo. V. Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-23704, E.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 appointed the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the new Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC, selecting one of three claimants who requested to sit on the committee in addition to the nine claimants proposed by the U.S. bankruptcy administrator (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 entered a judgment of more than $3.5 million against an insurance company in a dispute over the amount of coverage owed to a company's liquidating trust for asbestos personal injury claims, including attorney fees and a $60,000 penalty for the insurer's "vexatious and unreasonable conduct" in the case (In re CFB Liquidating Corporation, f/k/a Chicago Fire Brick Co., et al., No. 01-45483, [Barry A. Chatz, as Trustee for the CFB/WFB Liquidating Trust v. Continental Casualty Company, No. 15-4136] N.D. Calif. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3938).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Georgia-Pacific affiliate Bestwall LLC filed a Chapter 11 petition Nov. 2 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court to create a trust to pay asbestos personal injury claims and receive an injunction forever barring future asbestos claims against the debtor, Georgia-Pacific and their dozens of affiliates (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Reorganized chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace & Co. will receive an additional $1.6 million tax refund from the U.S. government after a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge found Oct. 23 that the Internal Revenue Service used the wrong percentage rate when figuring the refund (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy, 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3679).
NEW YORK - A declaratory insurance coverage action filed by Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. is not the proper vehicle for insurers to use in search of evidence of fraud in the asbestos trust system, the debtor says in an Oct. 20 motion and memorandum seeking protection from the insurers' subpoenas in New York federal bankruptcy court (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
PITTSBURGH - More than 2,000 asbestos claimants from a decades-old consolidated Texas litigation will share up to $178.5 million from the asbestos trust established in the Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) bankruptcy case, according to a notice and settlement filed Oct. 18 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - While a $20 million attorney fee agreement for a settlement between an insurer and asbestos claimants does not say the money is to be divided unevenly among the four law firms that negotiated the settlement, it also does not say the fees are to be divided equally, a New York federal judge found Sept. 29 in reversing a bankruptcy court ruling awarding $5 million to each firm (Bevan & Associates, LPA, Inc., et al. v. Eric Bogdan, et al., No. 16-cv-7154, S.D. N.Y.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge agreed Sept. 25 to reclassify 72 claims against the bankruptcy estate of former Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC from general unsecured claims to asbestos claims (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC does not have to arbitrate an insurance coverage dispute with an insurer based on the plain language of the 1983 policy at issue, Garlock and affiliates argue in a Sept. 22 response to the insurer's motion to force arbitration in North Carolina federal court (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00458, W.D. N.C.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A son cannot pursue claims that an asbestos personal injury trust violated his deceased father's constitutional rights because the trust is a private entity and is not an arm of the government, a Delaware federal judge held Sept. 22 (Matthew D. Pinnavaia v. The Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 16-742, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155340).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The primary asbestos insurer for Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. can pursue appeals of rulings in all three phases of coverage litigation in California state court, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge ruled in a Sept. 20 minute order lifting the automatic stay in the bankruptcy case to allow the appeals to proceed (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal court must decide on remand whether federal or state law controls - and whether a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision impacts - two asbestos trusts' attempt to enforce a settlement under which an attorney agreed to stop filing claims with the trusts due to his pattern of presenting unreliable evidence, a divided Ninth Circuit panel held Aug. 14 (Michael J. Mandelbrot, et al. v. J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust and Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 15-56430, 9th Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sept. 8 declined to review an appellate court's rejection of a widower's attempt to hold a company liable for his wife's death from mesothelioma and finding that the company's "free and clear" purchase of assets in a bankruptcy court auction barred his take-home asbestos exposure claims (Jacqueline S. Wagner, et al. v. Standard Steel LLC, et al., No. 80 EAL 2017, Pa. Sup.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 24 denied an insurer's request to sue a company's asbestos trust in state court over the amount of coverage owed for asbestos personal injury claims, issuing a strong rebuke to the insurer's attorneys, who claimed that the trustee knew the claims he submitted to the insurer did not trigger the polices at issue (In re CFB Liquidating Corporation, f/k/a Chicago Fire Brick Co., et al., No. 01-45483, N.D. Calif. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 2411).
CHICAGO - A federal court in Illinois correctly dismissed fraud and racketeering claims leveled by frequent asbestos defendant John Crane Inc. (JCI) against two law firms and their principals for lack of jurisdiction because the asbestos cases giving rise to the claims did not occur in Illinois, one of the firms argues in an Aug. 16 brief to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (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.).
NEW YORK - Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. and the asbestos claimants in its case asked a New York federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 15 to stop the debtor's insurers from enforcing subpoenas they issued to six asbestos claims-processing facilities, saying the subpoenas are "facially overbroad and seek material that is wholly irrelevant" to the issues in an insurance coverage adversary action (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 4 approved a $4.5 million asbestos insurance coverage dispute settlement between Chapter 11 debtor Oakfabco Inc. and one of its insurers over objections by asbestos claimants' representatives, after the insurer added $1 million to the deal (In re: Oakfabco, Inc., No. 15-27062, N.D. Ill. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 2201).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An insurer of an affiliate of former Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC sued Garlock, its parent and another former debtor affiliate in North Carolina federal court on Aug. 2, seeking to force the Garlock parties to arbitrate a dispute over whether the insurer owes any money to the parties under an excess policy issued in 1983 (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00458, W.D. N.C.).