The Garlock asbestos bankruptcy has generated significant interest from attorneys representing plaintiffs and defendants as well as from companies and insurers involved in asbestos litigation. Although the impact on litigation throughout the country has been uneven, courts seem to be more willing to take a proactive role in ensuring that transparency is provided in disclosing information related to bankruptcy trust claims.
In the meantime, the allegations of potential withholding of alternative exposure evidence seems to have contributed to Garlock’s agreement with future asbestos claimants. The company recently announced a $358 million settlement of all asbestos injury claims and a revised reorganization plan.
The new agreement, while representing nearly double the $125 million a bankruptcy judge had estimated as Garlock’s liability is significantly lower than the $1 billion plaintiffs’ lawyers were requesting from Garlock.
Consequently, if the Garlock reorganization plan is approved, other companies may find asbestos bankruptcy more feasible than previously.
Additionally, as Daniel Fisher, writing for Forbes notes, other companies and insurers with potential asbestos liability are expected to continue to monitor the Garlock decision and seek to use files emerging from the case to help dispute claims that the companies or insureds’ products were the primary cause of plaintiffs’ illnesses in litigation or to show that plaintiffs may have made conflicting claims against other companies.
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