Defendants related to uber-sized Lyondell Chemical are now seeking to use a recent chapter 11 injunction to try to bar claims that benzene caused a blood cancer. The defense motion makes no mention of the chapter 11 proceeding including any “futures representative” type of person acting on behalf of future claimants. The motion also makes no pretense of any effort to notify persons previously exposed to benzene. It will be interesting to see if the history of asbestos bankruptcy outcomes repeats itself in benzene litigation.
In light of the orders entered as to Agent Orange claims and various other types of claims, it’s hard to imagine how these bankruptcy court orders can be deemed constitutionally proper when they take away state law tort claim rights through government action with no futures representative, no meaningful notice and no payment for the property rights taken from claimants. The claimants include both co-defendants and underlying tort claimants. This prior post discusses some of the many authorities (which are not mentioned by Lyondell, in its motion papers).
Lyondell’s motion is online.