ASBESTOS NEWS DAILY - Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
Asbestos Mesothelioma: Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
We connect you with experienced Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts Mesothelioma Asbestos lawyers. If have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or an Asbestos related illness we can help you file a claim.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts diagnosed with Mesothelioma and other Asbestos related diseases have legal options and may seek compensation through Mesothelioma litigation.
Filing a claim against the companies that are responsible for your asbestos exposure will help you gain compensation for medical costs and pain and suffering associated with asbestos-related illnesses. A Mesothelioma lawyer can help you pursue compensation for the following things:
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Group support for yourself and loved ones
- End-of-life expenses
We help patients and their families make educated, informed decisions about how to proceed with filing Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and other asbestos-related cancer claims.
We will walk you through the entire process of connecting with an experienced Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts Mesothelioma Lawyer and also help you find a qualified Mesothelioma doctor.
Asbestos Bankruptcy – Asbestos Company – Asbestos Claims
Pennsylvania company is 89th to collapse under asbestos claims
4/23/2010 10:39 AM By Steve Korris
PHILADELPHIA - Durabla Manufacturing, aPennsylvania company that made sealing products, collapsed under the weight of 108,000 asbestos suits.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno ofPhiladelphia, responsible forasbestos claims nationwide, received notice on April 12 of Durabla'sbankruptcy.
Asbestos litigation has bankrupted 89 companies in 28 years, according to the Crowell Moring firm inWashington. Among the earliest was Johns-Manville in 1982; and among the latest was General Motors last year.
Durabla received its first asbestos claim in 1980, Mark Eckard ofWilmington wrote for owner David Moser on Jan. 7.
Primary coverage of $8.5 million lasted until 2002, Eckard wrote, paying 16,017 claims at an average of $531.
Durabla had closed about 62,000 cases without payment by then, he wrote, but about 79,000 cases remained open between 2002 and 2009.
Durabla showed a profit in 2002, he wrote, and retained earnings of $1,113,555.
It showed a profit three of the next four years, he wrote, but sales didn't cover overhead and Durabla ceased operation in 2007.
It has spent cash and marketed securities to wind up its affairs, defend litigation and protect insurance coverage, he wrote.
As of last June 30, he wrote, it had $318,847 in cash and $1.5 million in coverage.
Eckard represents Moser, who is being sued personally over asbestos claims.
Moser started an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court, seeking a declaration that he wouldn't have to defend asbestos suits individually.
Eckard wrote that as Durabla exhausted coverage in 2008, claimants started suing Moser and two companies as alter egos.
Durabla lawyer Chad Toms of Wilmington did not submit a list of creditors to bankruptcy court, instead identifying 20 firms with the most plaintiffs.
Weitz and Luxenberg, ofNew York City, leads the group with 33,649 plaintiffs.
Jaques Admiralty Law Firm of Detroit nearly matches that, with 33,111.
Peter Angelos and Peter Nicholl ofBaltimore represent about 8,000 and 7,000.
Morris, Sakalarios and Blackwell of Hattiesburg, Miss., represents about 5,000.
About 4,000 suits come from otherMississippi firms: Conway and Martin ofGulfport; Byrd and Associates of Jackson; Foster Law Group of Ocean Springs; and Porter and Malouf of Ridgeland.
Brent Coon and Associates of Dallas represents about 3,000, and so does Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer of New York City.
Motley Rice of Mount Pleasant, S.C., did not make the list, but it entered an appearance in bankruptcy court 15 days after Durabla filed its petition.
According to Crowell Moring in Washington, the following is a list ofasbestos bankruptcies:
1982: UNR Industries, Johns-Manville, Amatex, Unarco
1983: Waterman Steamship
1984: Wallace & Gale
1985: Forty-Eight Insulations
1986: Philadelphia Asbestos, Standard Insulations, Prudential Lines, McLean Industries, United States Lines
1987: Gatke Corp., Todd Shipyards, Nicolet Inc.
1989: Raymark/Raytech, Delaware Insulations, Hillsborough Holding Co.
1990: Celotex, Carey Canada, National Gypsum
1991: Eagle-Picher Industries, H.K. Porter Co.
1992: Kentile Floors
1993: American Shipbuilding, Keene Corp.
1995: Lykes Bros. Steamship
1996: Rock Wool Manufacturing
1998: M. H. Detrick, Fuller-Austin, Brunswick Fabricators
1999: Harnischfeger Corp., Rutland Fire Clay
2000: Babcock & Wilcox, Pittsburgh Corning, Owens
Corning/Fibreboard, Armstrong World Industries
2001: Burns & Roe, G-I Holdings, Skinner Engine, W.R. Grace, USG Corp., E.J. Bartells, United States Mineral Products, Federal Mogul, Murphy Marine Services, Insul, Swan Transportation
2002: North American Refractories, Kaiser Aluminum, GIT/Harbison-Walker/AP Green Industries, Plibrico, Shook & Fletcher, Porter-Hayden, Artra Group, Special Metals, Asbestos Claims Management Corp., AC and S, JT Thorpe Co. (Texas), A-Best Products, Western MacArthur/Western Asbestos
2003: C.E. Thurston, Combustion Engineering, Congoleum, Mid-Valley (Halliburton subsidiaries), Muralo Co.
2004: Flintkote/Flintkote Mines, Oglebay Norton, Special Electric, Quigley Co., Utex Industries, JT Thorpe Inc. (California.)
2005: API Inc., Lake Asbestos of Quebec Ltd., Asarco, Brauer Supply
2006: Dana Corporation, ABB Lummus Global, Lloyd E. Mitchell Co.
2007: Thorpe Insulation, Pacific Insulation
2008: Hercules Chemical, Christy Refractories, T H Agriculture & Nutrition
2009: Plant Insulation Co., General Motors (However, GM disavows intent to proceed as asbestos bankruptcy, but trustee appointed asbestos claimants committee and GM moved to appoint a future claims representative).
2010: Durabla Manufacturing
U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Asbestos Exposure – Asbestos Related Deaths
Posted Feb 2, 2010
Congoleum Seeks Court Nod for $100M Settlement With Insurers Over Asbestos Claims - CBL
By Citybizlist Staff
MERCERVILLE, N.J. -- Congoleum Corp. (OTC: CGMC) is seeking court approval of a$100 million settlement it has reached withnine insurance companies and the New Jersey insurance guaranty associations overasbestos claims, according to an 8-K filing with the U.S. and Securities and Exchange Commission.
TheMercerville, N.J.-based manufacturer of sheet and tile flooring filed a motion with theU.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking approval of the deal. Under the agreement, theinsurers will pay $100 million, of which$97 million can be used to settle asbestos claims. The companies were not named in the 8-K filing.
The court is to hear the motionFeb. 19.
Separately, Congoleum isappealingorders of aU.S. bankruptcy court thatdismissed its latest reorganization plan.
Congoleum has manufacturing units inTrenton,N.J.; Marcus Hook,Pa.; andCedarhurst,Md.
Form 8-K filing: http://tinyurl.com/yzvfmsu
Also atCitybizlist, see:
Congoleum Disclosure Statement Hearing Adjourned
Congoleum to Submit Listing Requirement Compliance Plan to Amex
Bankruptcy Court Issues Opinion on Congoleum Reorganization Plan
Asbestos Trust – Asbestos Company – Asbestos Bankruptcy Claims
Asbestos claims lead RPM Int'l units to bankruptcy
Tue Jun 1, 2010 11:42am EDT
* RPM units files for bankruptcy due to asbestos claims
* More than 10,000 asbestos lawsuits filed
* Shares of RPM slip 0.8 percent
By Tom Hals
WILMINGTON, Delaware., June 1 (Reuters) - Subsidiaries of RPM International Inc (RPM.N) filed for bankruptcy as the chemical company seeks to resolve thousands ofasbestos-related lawsuits, according to court documents.
The parent company also asked the bankruptcy court for an injunction to prevent it from becoming a target of the plaintiffs who brought asbestos lawsuits against the bankrupt subsidiaries, according to court documents filed on Monday.
The bankrupt subsidiaries, Specialty Products Holding Corp and Bondex International Inc, are planning to use Chapter 11 to establish a trust for the payment of asbestos-related claims.
Special Products Holding is a direct parent to operating companies that produce coatings and finishings, including DayGlo Color Corp, the world's largest producer of daylight florescent pigments.
The operating companies and RPM International are not part of the bankruptcy.
The two subsidiaries also want a permanent injunction from any further asbestos claims due to products they made or sold.
"This action has been taken to once and for all resolve the asbestos-related Bondex legacy liability," said Frank Sullivan, RPM's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Many of the alleged asbestosliabilities, that are at the heart of more than 10,000 lawsuits against the bankrupt subsidiaries, stem from Reardon Co, which was acquired in 1966. Reardon sold home patch and repair products that contained asbestos until 1977, and other products containing asbestos into the 1980s.
The bankrupt subsidiaries also sold other products containing asbestos until 1972.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in manufacturing. It has been banned by theU.S. government after it was proven to cause cancer, often in people who were exposed by breathing in asbestos particles.
The bankrupt subsidiaries had fiscal year 2009 revenues of $329 million and $19 million of pretax income, which is less than 11 percent of RPM's consolidated total.
Until 2003, insurance covered 90 percent of the asbestos-related costs, according to court documents. Since then, insurers have claimed exhaustion and stopped making payments.
In 2005 to 2009, the bankrupt subsidiaries have incurred asbestos costs between $60 million and $82 million annually.
Asbestos-related claims have forced many companies into bankruptcy.
Specialty chemical makers W.R. Grace & Co (GRA.N), for example, has been operating in Chapter 11 since 2001. Babcock & Wilcox usedbankruptcy to establish an asbestos trust that has been accepting claims since 2006.
Several attorneys who have brought lawsuits against Bondex did not immediately return calls for comment.
Shares of RPM International were down 0.8 percent at $19.66 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The case is In re Specialty Products Holding Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 10-11780. (Reporting by Tom Hals; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
Asbestos Trust Fund – Asbestos Lawsuit
Asbestos-Death Study Says Wayne Co. Number Is High
Group ranks it 15th in nation; more at risk
Mar 5, 2004 |Detroit Free Press
WayneCounty, a place where asbestos-dependent industries flourished for decades and millions of pounds of asbestos-laden ore was processed, has the 15th-highest number of asbestos-related deaths nationwide since 1979, according to a study released Thursday.
The study, by the Environmental Working Group, based inWashington,D.C., estimates raw numbers of deaths, not rates, so it is of limited value in identifying asbestos hot spots.
But it is the first time anyone has made a scientific estimate of deaths frommesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer the government began tracking in 1999 separate from other cancers, said Jon Corsiglia, a spokesman for the environmental group.
The mesothelioma death numbers are drops in the bucket compared to other types of cancers, researchers admit, but they may be a precursor to a wave of illnesses in the coming decade as those exposed to asbestos 15 to 30 years ago begin to show symptoms.
"We have no idea how many people were seriously exposed," said Richard Wiles, a vice president with the group.
He also said people who lived or worked with Zonolite brand insulation manufactured for years inDearborn and still in hundreds of thousands ofMichigan attics may be at risk.
WayneCounty had between 248 and 391 mesothelioma deaths since 1979, and 69 more from asbestosis -- a noncancerous scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos. The study used high and low figures, based on variables used to extrapolate the deaths from general cancer statistics before 1999.
OaklandCounty ranked 81st out of more than 2,300 counties in the study.
The news comes amid political battles over victim compensation playing out in Congress and the Michigan Supreme Court.
The U.S. Senate is expected to debate a plan this spring to establish a$114-billion trust fund financed primarily by industry and insurers to cover asbestos illness claims.
Backers say it will weed out frivolous claims and speed money to sick people. Opponents contend it is not nearly enough money and leaves out many victims.
InMichigan, the Supreme Court is considering shunting all asbestos lawsuits filed by people without malignant cancers to an inactive docket.When and if their disease progresses, the suits would reactivate.
A federal health investigation is under way into facilities across the country, including the former W.R. Grace plant onHenn Street inDearborn, that processed asbestos-contaminated vermiculite for decades. Vermiculite is a mineral used for fireproofing and insulation, including the ubiquitous Zonolite insulation.
The environmental group's study tracked 325 million pounds of contaminated vermiculite to Dearborn, but found that other sites in Michigan received only small amounts of the mineral. They includedReedCity, River Rouge,Grand Rapids,Warren, Elsie andMilan.
Asbestos was used in a wide spectrum of consumer products but has been removed from many. It is still used in brake linings, some cement products and some other applications.
Detroit Free Press
Asbestos Bankruptcy Funds – Asbestos Deaths
Asbestos Diseases Viewed As 'Epidemic'
Study finds 100,000 will die in 10 years
Mar 4, 2004 | Star Ledger
TheUnited States is facing an "epidemic" of asbestos-caused diseases, with some 100,000 people expected to die in the next decade from their past exposure to the dangerous substance, according an analysis of health data by an environmental organization.
"Ten thousand Americans die each year a rate approaching 30 deaths per day from diseases caused by asbestos," said a report to be issued today by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund.
"Asbestos kills thousands more people than skin cancer each year, and nearly the number that are slain in assaults with firearms," said the environmental group.
The study comes as the Senate is preparing to debate legislation that would nullify tens of thousands of asbestos lawsuits and transfer all pending and future claims to a newly created$108 billion victims compensation fund financed by manufacturers and insurance companies.
The Senate is expected to take up this bill at the end of this month or in early April. The measure is backed by the business community, which is seeking to cap its liability and get out from under a flood of lawsuits, but it faces opposition from organized labor and trial lawyers who argue the fund will shortchange victims.
The report, based on an analysis of more than two decades of government mortality records and epidemiological studies, said the 20- to 50-year latency period for asbestos diseases means that a substantial portion of individuals exposed in the 1960s and 1970s are now just showing up.
"EWG Action Fund projects that over the next decade, fourasbestos-related diseases mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and gastrointestinal cancer will claim the lives of over 100,000 Americans," said the report.
"The epidemic is national in scope, affecting every state. And for every life claimed, many more will be compromised by an array of serious, if nonfatal,asbestos-caused illnesses," the report said.
The study notes thatNew Jersey was a prime destination for asbestos mined inMontana, with some 338,000 tons shipped to the state between 1948 and 1993 for use in factories such as the Johns Manville plant inSomersetCounty and W.R. Grace plants in Edgewater andTrenton.
The environmental group said the government data showed at least 2,775 people inNew Jersey were killed by asbestos from 1979 to 2001, the sixth-highest total among the 50 states. It added that its research suggests the number of deaths could be as much as double that figure because of chronic misdiagnosis of asbestosis and mesothelioma and the absence of federal tracking for mesothelioma for nearly all the time period analyzed.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once used widely in many industrial processes because of its fire-retardant and insulating properties. The report said in the mid-1970s, more than 3,000 consumer and industrial products contained asbestos, asbestos product factories polluted neighborhoods and workers were heavily exposed on the job.
When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause lung disease and cancer. As a result, its use has been sharply curtailed in recent years, though it is still found in vehicle braking systems, asphalt roof coatings and gaskets.
EWG Action Fund, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group that focuses on researching toxins in the environment, said in its report that hazardous conditions persist today, even in workplaces where asbestos use is regulated.
Asbestos diseases overwhelmingly affect older men, according to the study. It found deaths from asbestos have been increasing steadily for the last 20 years in theUnited States, are still on the rise and will peak around 2015.
The study also said the highest death toll has come from asbestosis and mesothelioma. But it said the mortality rate of asbestosis was three times greater than the rate of mesothelioma between 1979 and 2001.
More than 625,000 people have filed lawsuits for asbestos-related injuries over the years. By the end of 2000, businesses and insurers had paid out more than $54 billion in claims, according to a 2002 Rand Corp. study.
Rand found that more than 300,000 cases were still pending and another 500,000 to 2.4 million claims could be filed in the years ahead, costing businesses upward of $210 billion. There are more than 3,000 asbestos lawsuits pending in theNew Jersey court system.
In addition,67 companies have filed for bankruptcy because of their asbestos liabilities, and additional companies are likely to seek Chapter 11 protection.
The defunct New Jersey-based Johns-Manville Corp. was the world's largest producer of asbestos when it declaredbankruptcy in 1982 after being overwhelmed by lawsuits from people who had become sick from asbestos exposure. The company established a trust fund in 1988 that is paying only 5 percent of the value of the claims against it to reserve funds for future victims. As of October, the fund had settled 570,000 damage claims for $3.2 billion and had 43,000 claims pending.
One majorbankruptcy case now pending in federal court inNew Jersey involves five companies -- W.R. Grace, Owens-Corning, Armstrong World, U.S. Gypsum and Federal Mogul. All five firms soughtbankruptcy protection after facing huge claims from those injured by asbestos exposure.
Two years ago, U.S. District Judge Alfred Wolin was assigned to try to resolve the extremely complicated case, but tactics he employed to move it along have been challenged by some of the parties who want him removed from the case. A federal appeals court is reviewing that issue.
Asbestos Trust Fund – Asbestos Related Deaths
L.A. Tops Nation In Asbestos-Linked Deaths
Mar 4, 2004 |Los Angeles Daily News
Los AngelesCounty has more asbestos-related deaths than anywhere else in the country, and the incidence of illness caused by the mineral is expected to rise over the next 20 years, a report released today says.
The report by the Environmental Working Group estimated that 1,227 county residents died of asbestos-related illness from 1979 to 2001, slightly more than the 1,051 inCookCounty, Illinois., which encompasses theChicago area. Nationwide, some 10,000 people died of asbestos-related disease in 2002.
Experts saidLos Angeles' large population, plus the widespread asbestos use in the shipping industry and post-World War II construction, help explain the county's high death figures.
"We were just floored when we looked at the deaths from this substance," said Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based environmental group. "We need to think of this as a 50-year problem because we still haven't banned asbestos.
Asbestos fibers can become embedded in the lungs and cause asbestosis essentially, scar tissue in the lungs or a usually fatal form of cancer calledmesothelioma. Not all people exposed to asbestos become ill, but even small amounts can cause mesothelioma.
Until its dangers became well-known, asbestos was commonly used in construction and insulation materials and as a fire retardant. Its use peaked in the mid-1970s, when there were more than 3,000 asbestos-laced products on the market, though there were few safeguards for workers and their families exposed to asbestos dust.
Even today, asbestos is used in some cement pipes, vinyl floor tiles, duct insulation, floor backing and decorative plaster.
Cancer and other diseases linked to asbestos can remain dormant for 20 to 50 years, meaning people who worked with the fibers before safeguards were phased in during the 1970s could still develop potentially fatal illnesses.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has proposed the creation of atrust fund, financed by asbestos manufacturers and insurance companies, to handle lawsuits filed by asbestos victims and their families without bankrupting businesses.
Insurance companies anticipate$120 billion in asbestos claims worldwide and have pushed for national legislation to cut litigation, streamline the compensation process and set aside money to help people diagnosed with asbestos diseases.
"We know that 90 percent of current claimants have no signs of illnesses, but they are trying to get in before all these companies go bankrupt," said Peter Moraga, spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California.
Already, some 70 companies have filed for bankruptcy protection.
Michelle Harrington has filed a $100,000 claim against W.R. Grace, which declared bankruptcy in 2001, in part because of damages awarded in wrongful-death suits stemming from its mine inLibby,Mont., where some 200 townspeople died from asbestos-related diseases.
The owner of Harrington Tools is seeking to be reimbursed for having to clean up asbestos contamination in theWest San Fernando Road building she bought in 1992 a structure previously owned by a company that processed more than 100,000 tons of insulation, using asbestos from the Libby mine.
"Not being my responsibility or my fault, I was absolutely furious," Harrington said. "Private companies cannot be held responsible or accountable for something they never did."
California toxicologists are analyzing historical cancer and cause-of-death data in the neighborhood around theWest San Fernando Road plant as part of a national study of plants that processed the Libby material potentially discovering a new group of victims who might seek compensation.
|Los Angeles Daily News
Asbestos Trust Fund – Asbestos Company – Asbestos Bankruptcy Fund
OwensCorning Bankruptcy Plan Includes $5 Billion Asbestos Fund
Building products makerOwens Corning willpay more than $5 billion to asbestos claimants and as much as $2.27 billion to holders of bank debt as part of a plan to exit federal bankruptcy protection.
The asbestos claimants, creditors and other parties agreed to the plan that would see Owens Corning emerge from more than five years of bankruptcy protection this fall, company lawyer Norman Pernick told a bankruptcy court.
Essentially, the plan shifts the $7 billion in asbestos liabilities off the books of Owens Corning and into a trust that will be established for the plaintiffs.
Owens Corning willpay cash and shares worth more than $5.2 billion into the trust, making it one of the biggest asbestos settlements inU.S. history, said John D. Cooney, whoseChicago law firm, Cooney & Conway, represents the asbestos plaintiffs.
After the plan is approved, "we're asbestos-free,'' Pernick said.
The plan, which has an effective date of Oct. 30, would enable the company to exit bankruptcy with a value of $5.86 billion, according to a settlement sheet obtained by The Associated Press. Existing equity would be wiped out and 131.4 million shares of new stock will be issued.
Shareholders would be given warrants allowing them to buy 5 percent of the company at $45.25 per share for seven years. Bondholders will get 26.6 million of the 131.4 million new shares and warrants to buy an additional 72.9 million shares at $30 per share.
The Toledo, Ohio-based company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2000 in an effort to shield itself from claims for billions of dollars in damages linked to health-endangering asbestos products it made decades ago.
The plan, filed in December, follows years of litigation between attorneys for asbestos claimants, owners of the company's bank debt and others.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal of another plan that would have lumped together the company's assets. Earlier reorganization proposals failed because of disputes between creditors.
Under the original version of the plan, shareholders would have gotten nothing.
Shareholders and some creditors had been hoping for legislation that would set up a national trust to take over asbestos liabilities from companies such as Owens Corning. But a bill that would have established the $140 billion victims' fund was defeated in the U.S. Senate in February, though supporters have vowed to revive it.
Asbestos is a commercial name for minerals that were commonly used in insulation, fireproofing and wallboard materials, and automotive brakes until the 1970s. Asbestos particles, when inhaled, can cause lung scarring, breathing problems, cancer or heart failure.
If approved by the court and creditors, the new plan could mean a windfall for hedge funds that own most of Owens Corning's bank debt.
Holders of about $1.5 billion in bank debt would be paid as much as $2.27 billion in cash, including interest.
Bankruptcy court Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald scheduled a hearing July 10 to review a disclosure statement that outlines the plan.
The proposal then would be sent to creditors for a vote before a confirmation hearing set for Sept. 18.
Owens Corning has agreed topay $4.29 billion in cash into a trustfor asbestos claimants, plus 28.6 million shares of equity in the reorganized company.
"Although nothing can ever repair the loss of lives that has occurred, today's settlement represents a fair resolution for both the victims and Owens Corning,'' Cooney said in a statement.
Anthony L. Gray, an attorney for the shareholders, said he and his clients were pleased with the deal.
"We think that it's a very good result for the holders of the preferred securities and the equity security holders,'' he said. "This was a major step forward for us.''
On the Net:
Owens Corning: http://www.owenscorning.com/
Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust - $53.5 Million Asbestos Verdict
Honeywell Says Asbestos Verdict Was More Than It Had Disclosed
By ALEX BERENSON
Published: April 18, 2002
Honeywell International appears to have misinformed analysts and shareholders about how much of a $53.5 million verdict it is responsible for paying in the case of a man who died of a cancer caused by asbestos.
When the judgment was announced on Feb. 8 in a Manhattan court, Honeywell's stock dove as much as 11 percent during the day, shaving $3 billion off its market value. Honeywell's shares quickly rebounded after the company said it had been found liable for less than $1.1 million of the verdict, a figure that made its way into Wall Street analysts' reports. But the company's statement immediately raised questions among lawyers who had followed the case but were not involved in it. Those lawyers, who included both plaintiff and defense attorneys, said the company's true responsibility was much greater.
Honeywell now says that it must pay at least $11 million of the judgment, according to Peter M. Kreindler, its general counsel. Mr. Kreindler said Honeywell planned to appeal the verdict and had not misled investors about its size. The company does not face financially significant liability from asbestos cases, he said, and has $2 billion in asbestos insurance.
Although $11 million is minor for a company Honeywell's size, investors are nervous about Honeywell's asbestos liabilities. Last winter, investors punished the stocks of several major companies like Halliburton and 3M after a series of multimillion-dollar asbestos verdicts. The companies generally say that they do not expect the litigation to damage their financial health, but most have not discussed their liabilities in detail.
Honeywell faces about 50,000 asbestos injury claims, including nearly 1,000 claims from people suffering from the cancer in this case, mesothelioma. The North American Refractories Company, a former unit of AlliedSignal, which merged with Honeywell in 1999, made bricks that contained asbestos. That businessfaces an additional 116,000 asbestos claims and filed for bankruptcy in January.
In addition, Honeywell may be an especially ripe target for plaintiffs because a manager at Bendix, the Honeywell subsidiary that is the target of the suits because it makes brake linings that once contained asbestos, wrote in a 1966 letter that his response to concerns about asbestos was: ''If you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products why not die from it.''
Based in Morristown, N.J., Honeywell makes everything from specialty chemicals to electronic equipment for aircraft. The company has 115,000 employees and a market value of nearly $33 billion.
The judgment in February, the largest ever for a single plaintiff in an asbestos case, was awarded to Patricia Brown, the wife of Stephen Brown. Mr. Brown, a former brake mechanic and coast guardsman, died of mesothelioma in December 2000.
The jury found Bendix 2.35 percent responsible for Mr. Brown's death. Under most circumstances, that finding would mean Honeywell is responsible for paying 2.35 percent, or $1.26 million, of the verdict under New York state law.
In his comments on the case, Thomas B. Crane, a Honeywell spokesman, emphasized the 2.35 percent figure to reporters and analysts. Mr. Crane said Honeywell's portion of the verdict ''was 2.3 percent,'' according to the Dow Jones Newswires. Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Crane had ''estimated the amount at about $1.06 million.''
Wall Street analysts who follow Honeywell accepted the company's explanation and figures.
Harriet C. Baldwin, an analyst for Deutsche Bank, wrote in a report on Feb. 11 that Honeywell's share of the case was $1.1 million and would be covered by insurance. In an interview this week, Ms. Baldwin recalled that ''that verdict was just over $1 million.'' Similarly, Phua K. Young, an analyst for Merrill Lynch, wrote, referring to the company by its stock symbol, that ''according to HON, if they are successful the possible monetary outcome for the company could be something less (possibly materially less) than the current share of $1.2 million.''
Fire Resistant Insulation – Asbestos Products - $33 Mesothelioma Verdict
Asbestos Suit Brings $33-Million Jury Award
April 04, 2002|LISA GIRION, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In what is believed to be a record asbestos injury verdict inCalifornia, aSan Francisco jury has awarded $33.7 million in a case involving a 60-year-old former electrician with a rare and incurable form of cancer.
Alfred Todak blamed his cancer on his exposure to asbestos on several jobs from 1960 to 1976, including work around insulation and boilers aboard Navy ships and around joint compound on construction sites.
In November 2000, almost 25 years after Todak quit the electrical trade to become an international nursing recruiter, he sought treatment for shoulder pain and learned that he had mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma, which most commonly begins in the lining of the lung, usually is discovered 15 to 40 years after initial exposure.
"This was a recognition of how terrible a disease this is and how really unfair it is to a guy like Mr. Todak," Gilbert Purcell, his lawyer, said Wednesday. "It's a recognition that people are still getting ill ... that we are not out of the woods for people who had exposures into the '70s."
Todak and his wife, Stephanie, sued more than 25 firms with ties to products that contained asbestos and to which he believes he was exposed. The award includes $22.7million for Todak's pain, suffering and loss of income and $11million for his wife's associated losses.
The Todaks will not receive the entire award, even if it withstands appeal, because 18 firms settled for a total of $4.2 million before the verdict, most of them before trial.
Foster Wheeler Ltd., the last defendant remaining when the case went to the jury, was held liable for 30% of the total verdict, or $10.6 million. TheNew Jersey design, engineering and construction firm said it will appeal the verdict. The company said Todak failed to present credible evidence that he was exposed to one of the company's naval boilers, as he had charged.
The largest jury verdict in a single-victim asbestos case came last August. ATexas jury awarded $55.5 million to a former home-building worker who blamed his mesothelioma on the asbestos in a Kelly-Moore Paint Co. joint compound he was exposed to on construction sites in the 1970s.
InCalifornia, the previous record verdict was $20.5 million awarded a year ago to a man who blamed his mesothelioma on a career in aStockton plant that made pipe containing asbestos.
A fire-retardant mineral fiber prized as a cheap source of insulation and filler, asbestos has been used in thousands of products, from floor tiles to automotive brakes. More than 550,000 lawsuits have been filed since the 1970s against companies that made, used or sold asbestos or products that contained it,contributing to the bankruptcies of more than 50 firms.
The Todak decision was the first against Foster Wheeler, which has attempted to settle claims where victims show evidence of injury and exposure to a company product. It has fought claims from people who are not sick or cannot prove exposure.
Through the end of 2001, more than 300,000 claims against the company had been closed without payment, and 220,000 had been settled, a company spokesman said. Foster Wheeler had 110,000 claims pending at the end of the year.
Among the companies that settled with Todak was Viacom Inc., which picked up its asbestos liabilities through its acquisition of the former Westinghouse Corp. Viacom agreed to pay Todak $1 million. The entertainment giant spent $21 million on asbestos settlements and defense last year and disposed of about 60,000 claims, according to its latest annual report. Viacom had 106,000 claims pending at the end of 2001.
Asbestos Settlement Trusts - $1.68 Mesothelioma Verdict
Maryland appeals court upholds $1.68M asbestos verdict
Daily Record,The (Baltimore), Jan 4, 2010 byCarynTamber
A $1.68 million award in an asbestos case can stand, the state's second-highest court has held.
The Court of Special Appeals rejected several arguments by the two companies held liable for Carl L.Saville'smesothelioma and carcinoma, including their contention that the trial judge improperly denied their motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
The court held that Saville, a former paper mill worker, presented enough evidence at trial to support a finding that the asbestos-containing products with which he worked caused his illnesses.
"The evidence in this case, taken in a light most favorable toappellee, does not lead to the inexorable conclusion thatScapa [Dryer Fabrics] was not liable and therefore gives us no reason to overturn the trial court's decision to denyScapa's motions for judgment or JNOV," Judge Albert J.Matricciani Jr. wrote for a three- judge panel.
There was enough evidence thatScapa's dryer felts would discharge asbestos, that Saville worked with the product and that he was exposed to it for a long enough period of time,Matricciani wrote.
David J. Shuster ofKramon & Graham P.A., who representedScapa on appeal, declined to comment beyond saying that the company is "evaluating its options." Susan E. Smith ofCrosswhite,Limbrick & Sinclair LLP, who represented the other company, the Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust, did not return a call for comment.
Michael T. Edmonds of the Law Offices of Peter T.Nicholl, who argued the case for Saville, said he expects the companies to petition the Court of Appeals for certiorari.
Edmonds said he is gratified that the Court of Special Appeals accepted his contention that there was "plenty of evidence" to support the theory thatScapa andW&G's products causedSaville's illnesses.
This is the second timeSaville's case has gone to the Court of Special Appeals. In 2005, the appellate court reversed a $3 million verdict, holding thatScapa should have been granted a continuance to conduct additional discovery, since it was added as a defendant only six months before trial.
The case went back to trial, again producing a substantial verdict.
Saville's medical situation is also unusual, according to his lawyer. About 90 percent of people diagnosed withmesothelioma, an asbestos-linked cancer, die within five years, according to the American Cancer Society. Saville was diagnosed in 2001 or 2002.
Edmonds said Saville, now 66, was diagnosed with lung cancer first, and when doctors went to treatit, they discovered and treated themesothelioma as well. Saville is in pain, but his tumors are not growing discernibly,Edmonds said.
"Mr. Saville is the only person I'm aware of that's survived this long,"Edmonds said.
According to the opinion, Saville worked at the Westvaco Pulp and Paper Mill inLuke,Md. from 1964 to 1978. He was responsible for cleaning dryer fells, which are used in paper production.
After he developed cancer, he suedScapa and W&G. He also filed suit against three other parties but settled with them before trial.
At the second trial,Scapa and W&G presented a limited case against the other defendants, eager to minimize their own liability but afraid that proving that the cross-defendants' products contributed toSaville's injuries would imply that their products did, too. This produced what the Court of Special Appeals called "a rather unusual trial on the cross-claims with no one to defend them, during which appellants simply read evidence into the record."
After the verdict,Scapa moved for JNOV onSaville's claims and on its cross-claims against the three defendants that settled, and W&G moved for JNOV just on the cross-claims. Judge John M. Glynn denied both motions.
On the cross-claim issue, the Court of Special Appeals held that Saville andW&G's motion had to fail because they had not moved for judgment at any point during trial, a prerequisite for a JNOV motion.
The appellate court also rejectedScapa's argument that Glynn should have reduced the judgment to account for payments Saville received from bankruptcy settlement trusts. The company had argued that the trusts were joint tort-feasors, necessitating a reduction in the judgment, because they dispense funds in compensation for damages allegedly caused by asbestos.
"Scapa presents an interesting theory, and there is some support in case law for this proposition, but there is no evidence on the record that can support its application to this case,"Matricciani wrote. "The burden was onScapa to prove joint tort-feasor status of anyclaimed bankruptcy settlement trusts, and this was not done."
The appellate court also dismissed other claims byScapa, including its contentions that Glynn improperly excluded deposition testimony ofSaville's former co-worker on possible alternate exposure to asbestos and that the judge should not have admitted evidence from afterSaville's asbestos exposure.
WHAT THE COURT HELD
Case:Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc. et al., CSA No. 540, Sept. Term 2008.Reported. Opinion byMatricciani, J. Filed Dec. 29, 2009.