July 2013 Garlock Estimation Trial In North Carolina: Ruling By Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges Rejects Company’s Attempt To Reveal Confidential Claims Information From Other Asbestos Trusts

We have been monitoring the former asbestos company Garlock Sealing Technologies’ bankruptcy estimation trial that started July 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina and being presided over by federal bankruptcy judge George Hodges.

On the second day of this Garlock bankruptcy trial came the first significant ruling, as reported by HarrisMartin Publishing in this article, “Bankruptcy Judge Denies Garlock’s Attempts to Remove Confidentiality Designations for Asbestos Trust Claim Details” (7/23/13, subscription required):

The bankruptcy judge overseeing the estimation trial on Garlock Sealing Technologies’ liabilities for future mesothelioma claims has rejected the asbestos defendant’s attempts to remove confidentiality designations from evidence relating to asbestos trust claims, HarrisMartin is reporting.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina reached the decision this morning, sources said. Garlock had claimed in its motion to remove the designation that “the problem of discrepancies between tort disclosures and Trust claims and other bankruptcy filings has become an issue of major public concern.”

For some background information regarding this ongoing estimation trial concerning the Garlock asbestos bankruptcy and for more about the company’s attempt to reveal confidential claims information from other asbestos trusts we refer you to this July 21, 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “To Fight Asbestos Cases, Garlock Uses Other Claims as Defense”, from which we get these basic facts:

Garlock filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2010 under the crush of thousands of lawsuits from people who had inhaled cancer-causing asbestos fibers and pinned the blame on working with its gaskets and packing materials….

A special provision of the bankruptcy code was created to allow companies to shed asbestos liability by setting up trusts to pay the claims of people who fall ill in the future.

Garlock estimates its future claims will total $125 million; the claimants committee predicts claims against Garlock will reach about $1.3 billion.

We will continue to monitor the Garlock asbestos bankruptcy estimation trial here in North Carolina and report significant developments here.


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