Civil Procedure Keyed to Cound
Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp
Defendant Fibreboard Corp. was subject to many personal injury suits arising from injuries and exposure to its asbestos products. Defendant had already settled 45,000 claims and wanted to make a “Global Settlement” where they would pay $1.5 billion for claimants that would file a Rule 23(b)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure class action (limited fund class action). There is no way to opt out under this kind of class action. There was a lawsuit before a California court to determine how much Defendant’s insurers had to pay. The California Court’s ruling would be included in the settlement in the event that the settlement was approved. If the settlement was not approved, Defendant had another agreement drafted where it would pay $2 billion to claimants. Another lawsuit was brought in Texas, wherein claimants wanted Defendants to put the agreed amount in a trust. If no agreement was reached, the claimants had to settle the matter by mediation, arbitration, and a mandatory settlement conference. If nothing came out of it, the claimants could bring a claim against the trust with a limit of $500,000 cap on the amount recovered per claimant. Claimants who had already settled with Defendants and claimants who had pending suits were excluded from the settlement. The District Court found that the class action met the requirements of Rule 23(a) and (b)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and that the class action settlement was “fair, adequate, and reasonable” under Rule 23(e).
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