DALLAS, Jan. 20, 2015 — Newly unsealed court documents in the bankruptcy of Garlock Sealing Technologies discredit allegations previously leveled by Garlock against nationally recognized trial law firm Simon Greenstone Panatier, PC, the firm said today.
In January 2014, Garlock filed under seal a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against Simon Greenstone claiming that Garlock, a maker of asbestos gasket material, had been duped into settling certain lawsuits brought by mesothelioma victims fatally injured by asbestos products. In court filings, Garlock said the law firm had concealed evidence that its clients had been exposed to asbestos thermal insulation products, which are not manufactured by Garlock and which Garlock claims are much more dangerous than the asbestos in Garlock’s products.
All documents in the case had been sealed, however, until the court ordered them to be made public. The documents were made available yesterday.
Even a cursory review of the court record, which includes scores of email communications between Garlock’s lawyers and Simon Greenstone, clearly shows that Simon Greenstone never concealed evidence or misled Garlock, said Michael W. Magner, lead attorney for Simon Greenstone.
“To the contrary, it is clear that Garlock knew that it was responsible and was desperate to avoid having the evidence against Garlock aired in public in front of a jury,” he said. “It is beyond the pale that Garlock would make such boldly false claims in order to try and work a better deal for themselves in the bankruptcy.”
“In each of the three cases specifically identified by Garlock as an example of instances in which it was not informed that the victims may have been exposed to asbestos-containing insulation products manufactured by companies other than Garlock, Simon Greenstone’s clients themselves identified exposure to asbestos insulation products in their own depositions,” Magner said. “And Simon Greenstone’s and other defense experts all likewise admitted to and testified about those exposures.”
Garlock is merely trying to re-litigate cases it settled many years ago, Magner said.
“Garlock’s management and attorneys pursued a strategy of settling their cases early to mitigate their losses and save on attorneys’ fees, and they should not be allowed to unravel their deal long after these plaintiffs have died from their illness,” he said.
“This lawsuit is – at its core – an attempt to close the courthouse doors to those individuals who contracted a fatal illness from their exposure to asbestos,” Magner said. “Many of those victims are military veterans who were exposed to regular doses of asbestos while honorably serving their country. Providing them and their families with a modest level of financial compensation is literally the least Garlock can do.”