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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Finally – An Asbestos Bankruptcy Court (Garlock) Provides Easy Access to 2019 Statements About

One specific example of  bankruptcy court secrecy run amok involves 2019 statements.  At long last,  an asbestos bankruptcy court (the Garlock court) has acknowledged that the 2019 forms are not confidential, AND did not require defendants to say “mother may I”  to obtain access.  See here for some prior history and rulings in the Garlock case. Instead, under the new order, free access now can be accomplished in efficient ways.  A free access copy of the order is online here. Legal Newsline has the story here, but not the order. Kudos to Garlock for getting this done, and ending this aspect of the secrecy farce that surrounds asbestos bankruptcies.

Why is this a big deal? It will do much to reveal which plaintiff’s firms have how many claims – and which claims – in asbestos bankruptcies.

For more background, consider the following. 2019 statements disclose who controls or own claims in bankruptcy cases. A few years ago, an opinion by Bankruptcy Judge Gropper created a stir among the hedge funders and others who buy and sell claims. See here (excellent 2007 article by Kirkland in non-asbestos context). In 2011, the rule was amended (because the finance community and friends can get legislation done even when others cannot.) See here  (November 30, 2011 post on from Weil bankruptcy blog).

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