On March 31, 2005, the federal district judge overseeing Owens Corning bankruptcy proceedings ruled that all pending and future asbestos claims against the company should be assigned an estimated value of $7 billion, considerably less than the $11 billion requested by plaintiffs’ attorneys representing asbestos claimants. The decision was a modest victory for WLF, which had filed a brief urging that plaintiffs’ lawyers not be permitted to make off with the lion’s share of the corporation’s assets by inflating the asbestos-related liability claims of their clients. In particular, WLF argued that the judge should not permit any asbestos claimants to recover punitive damages, because there is no rational basis for continuing to inflict punishment on a company that has already been driven into bankruptcy due to its asbestos-related liabilities. The judge agreed, ruling that the estimated value of claims should not include any amount for punitive damages.
Owens Corning v. Credit Suisse First Boston