Baltimore Asbestos Lawsuits Getting Sorted Out (a Little)

A Maryland federal bankruptcy judge refused to reconsider a ruling to lift an automatic stay in prolific Baltimore asbestos defendant Lloyd E. Mitchell Inc.’s Chapter 11 case so that a settlement with the debtor, two insurers, and a law firm representing 9,000 Baltimore asbestos personal injury claimants can be completed.

Mitchell was a Baltimore mechanical contracting business that went out of business almost 40 years ago and is now in the not so lucrative business of defending against asbestos meso claims. Peter G. Angelos and Peter T. Nicholl have filed an unbelievable 9,000 asbestos claims against Mitchell.

Over the years, there have been tons of issues with insurance coverage and bankruptcy filings. Maryland Casualty and Travelers figured out a way to get their claims against Mitchell resolved, at least the Angelos’ plaintiff claims. But to do that, they have to lift the bankruptcy stay. Of course, the Nicoll plaintiff objected, fearing – with reason – there would be no money left for their claims.

On behalf of their clients, the Nicholl firm argued the judge did not conduct an evaluation to make the call as to whether it made sense to lift the bankruptcy stay for these asbestos settlements. The bankruptcy court disagreed, noting the wide discretion a trial judge has in deciding these types of things.

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