Published on February 20, 2023
A recent decision to dismiss Johnson & Johnson’s controversial bankruptcy filing has given those troubled by the company’s talk more than hope: it has also inspired a mesothelioma victim to speak out against a similar Georgia- to act in the Pacific. Years after Georgia-Pacific formed Bestwall in a “nearly identical” move, Wilson Buckingham has asked the court to dismiss the subsidiary’s bankruptcy filing.
The company’s bankruptcy strategy prevented mesothelioma victims from seeking compensation
Mr Buckingham was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2020. He, along with thousands of others, filed lawsuits against Georgia-Pacific, accusing the company of negligence in exposing it to asbestos. But all of their personal injury claims were stalled by Georgia-Pacific after it shifted its asbestos liabilities to Bestwall, a subsidiary they formed in 2017 and for which they immediately filed for bankruptcy protection.
This maneuver is known as the “Texas Two-Step” and is the same strategy Johnson & Johnson used when forming and filing for bankruptcy for LTL Management to avoid compensating victims of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer for diseases caused by talc. The US Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently denied that move, agreeing with victims that LTL had shown no signs of financial distress at the time of filing and that the move was intended to preempt liability to victims.
Mesothelioma Victims Again Into Georgia Pacific Bankruptcy Proceedings
Mr. Buckingham’s lawsuit isn’t the first time mesothelioma victims have argued against the Georgia-Pacific bankruptcy maneuver. Plaintiffs unsuccessfully tried to dismiss the Bestwall bankruptcy in 2019, but hope the Third Circuit’s recent ruling will prompt the North Carolina courts overseeing the Bestwall case to look at the filing with “new eyes.”
In their bankruptcy court lawsuit, mesothelioma victims find that despite assurances from the company, nothing has been done to compensate asbestos victims for the past five years. They also point out that Georgia-Pacific paid nearly $2.5 billion in dividends to its parent company last year, raising questions about the company’s claim of “financial distress.”
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FREE Mesothelioma Pack Written by Terri Oppenheimer Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the main author of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes knowledge is power, and she is committed to sharing news about the effects of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and the stories of victims.
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