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Arbitrators’ award boosts asbestos case settlement for refinery and chemical workers

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

More than 2000 refinery and chemical workers and their families in southeast Texas, US will be awarded another US$140 million for asbestos exposure thanks to an arbitration award and settlement of a nearly 30-year-old legal case.

The award, from a three-judge arbitration panel, comes in addition to a previously agreed-upon US$38 million settlement in the case, Cimino v. Raymark Industries, which began in 1990. Altogether, a bankruptcy trust will pay US$178 million to resolve the claims of the workers and their families.

The panel's decision brings an end to one of the longest-running civil litigations in history. The 2288 plaintiffs were originally diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma, between 1985 and 1987. When the cases were tried as a class action in 1990, the plaintiffs prevailed and the court entered judgments totalling more than US$1.3 billion.

But after 10 years of motions, transfers and appeals, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found against the plaintiffs, reversed the judgments and sent the cases back to the trial court. The remaining defendant, Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC), subsequently filed for bankruptcy and the Cimino plaintiffs waited another 16 years before having the opportunity to file bankruptcy claims and litigate their right to compensation from the PCC Asbestos Trust.

Representing the plaintiffs with Bryan Blevins of Beaumont, Texas-based Provost Umphrey, L.L.P. were Glen Morgan of Reaud, Morgan & Quinn L.L.P. and Joseph Rice of Motley Rice LLC.

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