Bankruptcy offers an equitable and practical approach to resolve the complex legal challenges faced by Bestwall LLC.
(WASHINGTON) – The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit urging the court to allow Bestwall LLC’s bankruptcy process to proceed.
Denying en banc review would remove thousands of liability claims from civil court and pave the way for an effective resolution of the complex asbestos litigation. Bestwall LLC, a subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific, has grappled with numerous asbestos claims since its bankruptcy filing in 2017.
“The implications of state attorneys general echoing the arguments of plaintiffs’ lawyers challenging the legitimate use of the bankruptcy process are alarming,” ATRA President Tiger Joyce said. “As we have stated numerous times, plaintiffs’ lawyers are attempting to undermine a fair and efficient resolution for claimants, as provided by Chapter 11, and we support Bestwall’s continuation of the bankruptcy process.”
ATRA’s amicus brief highlights the importance of bankruptcy as a powerful tool to address mass tort litigation claims. It emphasizes that the 4th Circuit panel’s decision, upholds the integrity of state sovereignty, and preserves the purpose of Chapter 11. By permitting the bankruptcy proceedings to move forward, the court can ensure a level playing field for all claimants, uphold fairness, and sidestep the pitfalls of traditional mass tort litigation.
“Resolution of these claims must unequivocally prioritize claimants’ best interests,” Joyce said. “Lawyers’ financial motives must never take precedence over the integrity and fundamental fairness of the bankruptcy proceedings.”
To further complicate matters, a group of 21 state attorneys general inserted themselves into the Bestwall litigation when they filed an amicus brief earlier this month. Their brief raised concerns about consumer protection and supported plaintiffs’ motion for en banc review.
“These alleged consumer protection claims are a thinly veiled effort to support the interests of plaintiffs’ lawyers, rather than genuinely safeguarding consumers’ interests,” Joyce said. “Notably, no state has previously appeared in the bankruptcy proceedings, making the AGs’ intervention an extraneous argument without a valid foundation.”
Bankruptcy offers an equitable and practical approach to resolve the complex legal challenges faced by Bestwall LLC. Unlike traditional mass tort litigation, bankruptcy ensures that claimants receive fair resolution without enduring the uncertainty, delays and expenses often associated with lengthy trials. Moreover, funds approved in bankruptcy to pay legal claims foster a just outcome, creating a level playing field for all claimants.
“In upholding the interests of claimants and prioritizing their needs, the court can contribute to a just outcome in this complex and significant litigation, and help ensure fairness, efficiency, and accountability within the legal system,” Joyce said. “It is critical that the rights of all parties involved are safeguarded and for the court to foster an environment where legitimate bankruptcy use can effectively address complex mass tort claims.”
View ATRA’s full amicus brief In re Bestwall LLC, filed jointly with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Litigation Center, at ATRA.org.
About the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA): Founded in 1986, ATRA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and is the nation’s first organization dedicated exclusively to reforming the civil justice system through education and legislative enactment. ATRA acts as a nationwide network of state-based liability reform coalitions backed by 142,000 grassroots supporters. ATRA works to bring greater fairness, predictability and efficiency to America’s civil justice system. Those efforts have resulted in the enactment of state and federal laws that make the system fairer for everyone.