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Friday, August 9, 2013

Claimants’ expert in Garlock trial suggests $1.3 billion settlement figure

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) – A consultant tapped by attorneys representing claimants suing Garlock Sealing Technologies for asbestos exposure estimated the gasket manufacturer would need to devote more than $1.365 billion to a trust to settle pending and future claims against the company during testimony given Thursday.

Mark Peterson, a lawyer with a Ph.D. in social psychology who does estimations for trusts, said based on litigation trends from the past five years, the company would need to devote at least that much money to cover liability Garlock would likely face from people who will develop cases of mesothelioma in the coming years.

Judge George Hodges will ultimately decide how much money the company will need to devote to escape bankruptcy. The bankruptcy trial, which began two weeks ago at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina and is expected to end on Tuesday, will determine the estimated liability of the company for current and future asbestos claims.

Peterson’s estimation is in stark contrast with that of a Garlock consultant who came up with a figure of about $270 million in his own estimation. Charles Bates, chairman of the economic consulting firm Bates White LLC and former assistant professor in the economics department at Johns Hopkins University testified about an estimation report his firm created to assess how much Garlock should put in the trust to compensate valid claimants.

Bates estimated $25 million...

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