Ford joins request to unseal transcripts in asbestos trial

March 19, 2014 – 6:54 am ET

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in seeking transcripts of a trial in which a bankruptcy judge ruled the “impropriety of some law firms” representing asbestos individual-damage plaintiffs led to “unfairly inflating recoveries against” Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, a unit of EnPro Industries Inc.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Legal Newsline filed papers early this month asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George R. Hodges in Charlotte, N.C., to unseal the January trial transcript. Just before the trial, Hodges ruled that the proceeding would be closed to the public.

Ford joined the fray on March 14, saying it “may have been induced into inflated settlement in some of the very same cases” that Hodges reviewed in his viewpoint. For attainable use in cases in which Ford paid asbestos settlements, the automaker would like Hodges to unseal the transcript, trial exhibits and disclosures by the asbestos plaintiffs lawyers about their clients.

Aetna Inc., the insurance organization, filed final month for lists of the lawyers’ asbestos clientele.

Hodges said in his January decision that claimants lawyers previously withheld evidence about the comparative degree of publicity to Garlock’s products. Legal Newsline stated Hodges’s view manufactured “misconduct by asbestos plaintiffs and their lawyers the target of nationwide debate.”

The official committee of Garlock asbestos claimants final week asked Hodges to throw out Legal Newsline’s March filing. In accordance to the committee, the publication currently has an appeal pending from the judge’s decision to close the trial to the public and that must bar the publication from looking for the same relief.

Hodges stated in his January view that $ 125 million was the “reasonable and reliable” estimate of present and potential liability for mesothelioma claims. The asbestos claimants sought nearly $ one.3 billion.

Garlock, based in Palmyra, N.Y., filed for Chapter 11 safety in June 2010 and later submitted a reorganization prepare for complete payment of present and long term asbestos individual-damage claims. The prepare addresses 100,000 asbestos claims. For particulars, click right here for the Nov. thirty, 2011, Bloomberg bankruptcy report.

EnPro can make engineered items, like diesel and organic-gas engines. It has operations in the United States and 10 other countries.

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