W. R. Grace’s reorganization plan has been approved by the U.S. district court of Delaware, opening the door for the chemical and material company to finally emerge from its decade-long bankruptcy protection.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith Fitzgerald approved of Grace’s reorganization plan, leaving only the federal District Court in Delaware to give final passage. Peter A Chapman, president of Bankruptcy Creditor’s Service, predicts that the higher courts will rule quickly, hopefully within a month’s time.
Grace, based in Columbia, Maryland, originally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011 after more than 100,000 asbestos personal injury claims had been made against the company. W.R. Grace’s asbestos liability stem from chrysotile asbestos mine that it once operated out of Libby, Montana. Asbestos exposure from the mine in Montana as well as Grace asbestos containing products sold and distributed throughout the country have caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of asbestos related illnesses. Asbestos, once inhaled or ingested, leads to fatal illnesses, such as mesothelioma (often referred to as "asbestos cancer"), asbestosis (scarring of the lungs) and other asbestos related diseases.
The way the bankruptcy process works is that while Grace was waiting approval of its reorganization plan, all asbestos lawsuits and mesothelioma claims against the company were put on hold. As part of the reorganization plan, if Fitzgerald’s ruling stands and is not appealed and final approval is granted by the District Courts, an asbestos trust will be set up to pay property owners as well as personal injury claimants who can prove their illnesses are a result of exposure to asbestos by W.R. Grace products.
The company reports that Funding for the trust will come from a variety of sources including cash, warrants to purchase common stock, insurance proceeds, payments from third parties, and deferred payment obligations.
This is great news for those who have died from or been diagnosed with mesothelioma and have been waiting for more than a decade to compensated. If you have any questions about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or an asbestos bankruptcy claim, contact our office today at 1-800-440-4262 to speak directly with one of our attorneys. For the past 30 years, our law firm has exclusively handled asbestos lawsuits, making us both leaders and experts in our field.
For further details about the ruling, the case is In re: W.R. Grace & Co, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-00199 and W.R. Grace & Co, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 01-01139.