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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Some Overview Information for the General Motors Asbestos Trust

GM has been in the news of late as to the implications of its 2009 bankruptcy for the switch recall litigation. So, a brief overview of  its asbestos trust.

As is true for most other asbestos trusts,  there is very little transparency. The web site, for example:

  1. does not identify the trustee(s) of the trust; 

  2. does not identify the futures representative;

  3. does not identify the members of the trust advisory committee;

  4. does not mention if the trust files annual reports;

  5. does not provide copies of any annual reports it files with the court

The trust, however, does provide some information. Claim forms can be downloaded, and there is an email address to contact for information.

Even though the trust opened less than three years ago, its home page reports that the trust is currently paying 7% of estimated claim values. It states:

“Payment Percentage Notice:

The Trustee of the MLC Asbestos PI Trust has been engaged in a process, as provided in the Trust Distribution Procedures (the “TDP”), with the Trust Advisory Committee (the “TAC”) and the Legal Representative for Future Claimants (the “Futures Representative”) regarding the determination of the initial payment percentage.

As required by Section 4.2 of the TDP, the Trustee took into consideration current estimates of the number, types and values of present and future claims against the Trust, the value of assets currently available to the Trust for claims payments, anticipated administrative and legal expenses, and all other material matters that we and our advisors considered to be reasonably likely to affect the sufficiency of the Trust’s assets to pay a comparable percentage of full value to all holders of claims against the Trust. Further, the Trustee received and relied on advice from both the Trustee’s advisors and the respective advisors of the TAC and the Futures Representative.

As a result, with the consent of the TAC and the Futures Representative, the Trustee has set the initial payment percentage at 7%.”

Consistent with its general lack of transparency, the web site does not make public any of the data analyzed in the “process” that resulted in paying 7%.

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