In early January 2014 Judge George R. Hodges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina made a controversial ruling that Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC’s liability for present and future asbestos-mesothelioma legal claims is $125 million. This was far less than the $1 billion that had been asserted by the asbestos claimants’ counsel during the proceeding. In re Garlock Sealing Techs., No. 10-31607 (Bankr. W.D.N.C. Jan. 10, 2014)
Last month, however, lawyers for those asbestos claimants filed a motion to reopen that so-called “bankruptcy estimation trial” because it produced an estimation order which is “tainted”. Essentially, their contention is that Garlock “has committed a fraud upon the court” by means of false testimony and the manipulation of critical evidence in this asbestos bankruptcy proceeding.
From the MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION OF THE OFFICIAL COMMITTEE OF ASBESTOS PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMANTS TO REOPEN THE RECORD OF THE ESTIMATION PROCEEDING (63-page PDF document) filed June 4, 2014, at the start of the Introduction section:
Garlock has misled this Court. It has invited this Court to conclude, based on incomplete disclosures, misstatements and gross generalizations, that, in every case that mattered, it was the victim of improper withholding of evidence by plaintiffs’ lawyers, and that if only they had been honest, Garlock could not have been found liable for killing people with its asbestos-containing products and would have settled virtually all cases for nuisance value.
Of course, Garlock’s counsel will be filing a brief in opposition to this asbestos claimants’ motion to reopen, and that should make for some more “interesting” reading as this Garlock asbestos-mesothelioma bankruptcy saga continues.
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