DALLAS, March 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Recently released documents in the Garlock Sealing Technologies' bankruptcy show that the company decided to settle asbestos claims filed by attorneys from Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, partly because the Texas-based law firm has some of "the best trial lawyers in the country" and the risk of taking the cases to trial was too high.
In a series of internal "major expense project approvals" released March 4, Garlock's own advisers provided the justification for settling hundreds of asbestos exposure lawsuits. The documents devote multiple pages to cases handled by Simon Greenstone's predecessor firm, Simon, Eddins & Greenstone.
One document recommended that Garlock approve a $3.1 million settlement involving 19 of the firm's lawsuits that were awaiting trial in Los Angeles in 2008. The settlement came to roughly $163,157 per case.
"The deal, although rich, is favorable and advisable," the document states. "First, the per case average is down from what we have recently paid on mesothelioma claims handled by Simon, Eddins & Greenstone in not only California, but in other jurisdictions as well. In the recent past, we have paid Simons (sic), Eddins & Greenstone $300,000 and above on various mesothelioma claims.
"Second, the deal provides certainty relative to very high risk cases, in an extremely bad jurisdiction, being handled by some if (sic) the best trial lawyers in the country," the document states.
The Garlock communications also reference "high risk" facts and concerns about trial venue.
Garlock sued Simon Greenstone in 2014, claiming the company had been duped into settling certain lawsuits brought by mesothelioma victims fatally injured by asbestos products. The recently released documents provide further justification of Simon Greenstone's assertion that Garlock settled with Simon Greenstone's clients because it was a good business decision, according to attorney Michael W. Magner, who represents the firm in that suit.
"Garlock is simply trying to reduce the amount of money it must pay to those harmed by its products," Mr. Magner says. "As anybody can tell from reading the major expense project approvals, it is clear that Garlock based its decision to settle on the facts of the case, the venue and the quality of the legal representation.
"We have said all along that unsealing the record would prove that Garlock's suit is nonsense, and these documents are the smoking gun," Mr. Magner says. "Garlock's attempts to reduce what the company owes its victims are nothing but revisionist history and an attempt to discourage victims of asbestos products from seeking just compensation. Garlock made a considered decision to do what most civil litigants do: settle. If the company isn't happy with how those cases turned out, it has no one to blame but its own officers, attorneys and consultants."
For more information or to obtain electronic versions of the major expense approval reports, contact Amy Hunt at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC