Court delays Manville trust suit against tobacco industry
NEW YORK, May 31 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Wednesday agreed to delay the trial of the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust's suit against the tobacco industry seeking reimbursement for claims paid to asbestos victims who smoked.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion by Philip Morris Cos Inc. and other cigarette companies seeking to postpone the trial until after the appeals court holds arguments on July 14. The tobacco industry is seeking a ruling that would result in dismissal of the suit, which had been set for trial in Brooklyn federal court on July 5.
The trust is suing the tobacco companies to recover money paid to asbestos victims in settlements or court judgments alleging that some of the injuries were caused by a combination of smoking and asbestos exposure.
Last year U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein dismissed the suit on jurisdictional grounds but the trust later refiled the case and the judge allowed it to proceed.
Johns Manville Corp. had been the largest producer of asbestos, but a flood of personal injury suits drove it to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1982. It emerged from bankruptcy in 1988 and its reorganization plan set up a trust operated independently of the company that would pay claims to asbestos victims.
The Denver-based company is now a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building products.