The judge in a federal bankruptcy court has reaffirmed the decision to keep the record closed regarding the gasket maker Garlock. Garlock is one of countless companies that declared bankruptcy after exposing countless victims to asbestos in its products. Garlock has been accused of withholding evidence in cases involving asbestos exposure and mesothelioma tied to its products. The federal judge closed the record in a January decision and reaffirmed that decision this week.
The January decision reduced the amount Garlock was ordered to pay asbestos victims by nearly $1 billion. The judge re-set the amount to approximately $125 million. At the heart of the initial decision were accusations that some of suits against Garlock involved withheld evidence that victims were exposed to multiple sources of asbestos. If a person develops mesothelioma after having been exposed to asbestos by numerous companies, it is impossible to tell which product carried the fibers that caused the illness. Withholding evidence of exposure by some or all of the companies other than Garlock would lead to a larger claim against one company.
Asbestos cases often involve apportionment of liability. Different states have different standards for determining the percentage of responsibility one company might bear when several companies exposed a person to asbestos. An important part of selecting an attorney to handle a mesothelioma case is finding someone with the experience to demonstrate liability and seek the full compensation to which you are entitled. The issues can be complex and require the attention of an experienced advocate.
Source: WFAE 90.7, “Federal Bankruptcy Judge Reaffirms Landmark Asbestos Decision,” by Michael Tomsic, 5 December 2014