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Webinar: An asbestos defendant’s legal liability—the experience in Garlock's bankruptcy asbestos estimation trial

July 29, 2014
1:00–2:30 pm EST

View an archive recording of the webinar

This webinar will explain the legal and economic distinction between a defendant’s asbestos-related expenditures in the tort system and its legal liability. Economically, these two concepts are interrelated but distinct. As Dr. Bates will discuss, the costs of litigating cases for both plaintiffs and defendants affect their decisions whether to settle or try cases. In asbestos cases, the difference in costs between plaintiffs and defendants of gathering claimants’ exposure information and other transaction costs drives the distinction between tort expenditures and legal liability and can result in a defendant’s tort expenditures being multiples of its actual liability. As a consequence, for some asbestos defendants, settlement history in the tort system is not a direct measure of their legal liability. Instead, as in the Garlock matter, reliably estimating liability requires consideration of factors that determine liability under applicable tort law, including potential damages than can be awarded to plaintiffs against the defendant after taking into account the fault of and payments from other defendants and the likelihood of plaintiffs’ success at trials. An accurate estimation of a defendant’s aggregate asbestos liability therefore requires gathering data regarding claimants’ demographic characteristics and sources of asbestos exposure history and exposure allegations in order to identify alternative exposures and sources of compensation that claimants might have. These data then can be used as inputs to a model that reconciles a defendant’s legal liability to its tort expenditures and that properly estimates the defendant’s pending and future legal liability instead of extrapolating its tort expenditures.

Mr. Cassada, Garlock’s lead counsel, will discuss the legal framework for estimation that was applied in the Garlock case. Dr. Gallardo-García will discuss the data gathered in the case and how it was used to construct the Garlock Analytical Database used by Dr. Bates in his analysis. Dr. Bates will discuss how he determined that Garlock’s tort expenditures were multiples of its legal liability and how, using the data in the Garlock Analytical Database as inputs to the Bates White Economic Model of Liability and Settlements he offered an estimate of Garlock’s legal liability for mesothelioma claims of less than $125M, which was adopted by the bankruptcy court.


Related information

Press release: Judge adopts Charles Bates’ liability estimate for Garlock’s pending and future asbestos personal-injury claims