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Judge Refuses to Revisit Garlock Estimation Proceeding

In January of 2014, Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges ruled in favor of Garlock Sealing Technologies and codefendants Garrison Litigation Management Group and The Anchor Packing Company in a decision that ended years of litigation. At issue was a bankruptcy case and the question of how much money Garlock should be required to place into an asbestos bankruptcy trust. Garlock had estimated the appropriate amount at $125 million dollars, while plaintiffs’ attorneys had placed Garlock’s liability at an additional $1 billion.

At the heart of Jude Hodges’ decision was a finding that previous awards and settlements paid by the company, which were what the plaintiffs’ based their numbers on, were not an appropriate basis because they were based on withheld evidence of asbestos exposure from other companies.

In response to the judge’s ruling, the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants filed a motion alleging misconduct on the part of the defendants. They stated, “The Committee has discovered through its own outside efforts that Garlock has violated this court’s orders to produce documents to the Committee, and that these violations permitted Garlock to present false testimony to the court at the estimating hearing – false testimony the court incorporated into its findings.” The defendants argument against this motion indicated that there was little substance in the filing, and that it did not address the “fundamental bases of the court’s estimation opinion.” They state that,“None of this is warranted by a motion that does not bother to mention the fundamental foundations of the court’s opinion and casts no doubt on the few findings it does challenge.” The judge reviewed the plaintiffs’ motion and indicated that he saw nothing to convince him of misconduct, or of anything that would change his original decision.

According to EnPro Industries, parent company of Garlock, the judge’s recent decision not to reopen the case will allow them to proceed with establishing the bankruptcy trust so that those who have been injured by the asbestos exposure can receive the money that they are due. Stephen Macadam, EnPro president and CEO, issued a statement saying, “I look forward to their being able now to fully focus on advancing the case toward plan confirmation.”

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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