ASBESTOS IN THE NEWS
Supreme Court to consider $500-million asbestos settlement fund in Manville-Travelers case
December 16 - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to consider reinstating a $500 million settlement of asbestos-related lawsuits against the Travelers Companies, Inc., former insurers to Johns-Manville Corp.
In 2004, a Southern District of New York bankruptcy judge ordered the creation of a $500 million fund to pay claims against Travelers, but that was overturned by an appellate court.
Reinstatement of the settlement fund would block any new lawsuits against Travelers arising out of the insurance company's long relationship with Johns-Manville Corp., once the world's largest producer of asbestos. Asbestos is commonly found in old home insulation and is known to cause asbestos lung cancer, mesothelioma and other deadly diseases.
The Johns-Manville connection
In the early 1980s, Johns-Manville filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection against a tide of asbestos-related lawsuits that threatened to sink the company. Travelers was Manville’s primary insurer at the time.
When Manville’s reorganization plan was confirmed in 1988 claimants nationwide began suing Traveler’s directly, claiming that it conspired to hide the dangerous health effects of asbestos. New lawsuits against Travelers will be blocked if the Supreme Court reinstates the settlement.
The Second U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in New York had overturned bankruptcy court approval of the $500-million settlement fund, saying a bankruptcy court judge lacked the authority. The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the question of the bankruptcy court’s power early next year, and reinstatement of the settlement fund.
Asbestos, the silent killer
Despite the serious health problems linked to asbestos exposure, asbestos is still imported and used in the United States. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. imported and used an estimated 1,820 tons of asbestos in 2007.
Government sources estimate that in the next decade more than 35,000 people nationwide will be diagnosed with the deadliest form of asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. This disease is most often the result of industrial workplace exposure to asbestos – and usually contracted through employers’ blatant disregard for the health and safety of their workers.
Time to seek justice!
That’s why people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their family members have strong cases in court. Weitz & Luxenberg has protected the legal rights of workers for 25 years – longer than most law firms in the nation. And in that time its attorneys have won several billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for its clients.
If you have a mesothelioma injury, please complete the form on this page for an absolutely free legal evaluation of your complaint. There is no cost to you until we achieve a settlement or a verdict.