A unanimous 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals panel today ordered Travelers Insurance to pay asbestos victims more than $500 million to comply with a settlement Travelers first agreed to in 2003. Travelers was the primary insurance carrier for Johns-Manville Corporation, once the world’s largest asbestos product manufacturer.
In 2003 Travelers agreed to pay $445,000,000 as a settlement with thousands of asbestos victims of Johns-Manville, under the policies it had written while JM was manufacturing asbestos and asbestos products. After Travelers reneged on the settlement, the bankruptcy court added $65,000,000 of interest to the total amount owed.
The case wound up in the Supreme Court in 2009, which ordered that individual claimants could not file claims against various Travelers units, and reinstated the original 2003 Travelers settlement, sending the case back to the bankruptcy court. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland ruled in 2011 that Travelers still had to comply with the 2003 settlement, but the insurance company appealed. A federal district court judge, John Koeltl, agreed with Travelers and threw out the settlement in 2012. This decision today reinstates it – again.
This litigation has taken so long that the judge who originally approved the settlement in 2004 and reinstated it again in 2011, Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland, died in January of this year.
Although Travelers has not announced its plans in response to today’s ruling, we can reasonably expect that once again it will be appealed and justice will again be delayed.
Thornton Law Firm represents thousands of persons harmed by asbestos and asbestos products. We have been litigating mesothelioma and asbestos disease cases since 1978. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, tell us your story here or call our Boston asbestos attorneys at 888-632-0108. Even though this case has stretched out over a decade, the time limits for bringing action as the injured party are short & strictly enforced. Do not delay seeking legal advice.