Mesothelioma victims are confronted with harsh realities on a continuing basis, and that includes the constant ups and downs of pursuing litigation against the companies responsible for their illness. As if it weren’t enough to know that their fatal illness could have been prevented, those seeking justice have to face specious arguments against responsibility and attempts to evade blame. In some cases, the company responsible has filed for bankruptcy, and that can make things even more challenging. A group of victims that had already negotiated a settlement against New Jersey manufacturer Jenkins Bros. was forced to pursue even further action when the bankrupt company’s insurer, Liberty Mutual, tried to pro-rate the payment that they were owed.
Liberty Mutual Attempts to Prorate Settlements with Mesothelioma Victims
There were a total of nine asbestos victims who initially filed a lawsuit against Jenkin Bros. in 2014 and who successfully negotiated a settlement for the damages that they had suffered. Those negotiations were managed by a claims manager for Liberty Mutual, Resolute Management, because the manufacturer had dissolved in 2004 and their insurer had been tasked with paying for the outcomes of the lawsuits.
Resolute Management asserted that Liberty Mutual was not responsible for paying the mesothelioma victims the full amount of the settlement because there was a period during which the company had discontinued their coverage of Jenkins. The victims filed suit against Liberty Mutual, saying that they had become the “party-in-interest” when Jenkins ceased to exist. They also pointed out that the insurer had agreed to insure Jenkins for injuries like asbestos cancer in exchange for large premiums, and that the insurer had been aware of the fact that the company might be forced into bankruptcy.
Judge Agrees with Mesothelioma Victims
In his ruling favoring the mesothelioma victims, Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court system said that Liberty Mutual was required to stand in for Jenkins Bros. “in all relevant and meaningful ways” and that it was entirely wrong to try to apply a pro rata allocation to the settlement agreement.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, it is important that you have guidance from professionals who have experience in dealing with asbestos companies. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.