Federal Court Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges Gives Asbestos Defendant Garlock What They Wanted And More, Which Is Unfortunate For Mesothelioma Victims

Last summer we were monitoring a bankruptcy estimation trial for the former asbestos company Garlock Sealing Technologies in Charlotte, North Carolina and being presided over by federal bankruptcy judge George Hodges.

This Garlock Chapter 11 case is In re Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, 10-bk-31607, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of North Carolina (Charlotte).

And on January 10, 2014 Judge Hodges issued his ruling which was fully in favor of Garlock as reported in this Bloomberg article published on the InsuranceJournal.com website, “EnPro’s Garlock Wins Trial on Asbestos Liability; Judge Hits Claimants’ Lawyers”:

Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, a unit of EnPro Industries Inc., emerged victorious after a trial with official representatives of asbestos personal injury claimants.

Adopting the company’s estimate, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George R. Hodges in Charlotte, North Carolina, concluded that $125 million is the “reasonable and reliable” estimate of present and future liability for mesothelioma claims.

Hodges rejected the claimants’ methodology and experts’ reports who contended the liability was about 10 times larger, or almost $1.3 billion….

Hodges said it was proper to use Garlock’s method of deciding the degree of the company’s “legal liability” by looking at the merits of claims. He rejected the claimants’ method of using Garlock’s historical settlements to extrapolate how much it would cost to settle present and future claims.

The opinion boils down to Hodges’s conclusion that those who became sick had “relatively low exposure” to Garlock’s products and that the company’s liability should be “relatively de minimus.”

Certainly a disappointing result for those individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma after working with and around Garlock’s asbestos-containing products in the past.


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