300 East Second Street, Suite 1410
Reno, Nevada 89501
June 22, 2015 is the last day the Trusts will be able to process claim offers, releases and payments in the current claim processing system. Please send all signed releases to each of the Trusts before this date. If, for some reason, releases are not received by this date, the releases will be processed in the new system which will mean an approximate six week delay.
June 26, 2015 is the last day you may submit new claims or resubmit claims through the existing site to the existing system. At 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Savings Time on Friday, the Trusts will close access to the existing claim processing system for all submitting firms. However, if you have a claim that has a potential statute of limitations issue, please submit your claim to the appropriate Trust in paper format to the following address:
Please note that between June 26, 2015 and July 20, 2015 firms may submit paper claims if they so choose.
June 29, 2015 Prior to this date, the Trusts will send out firm reports which will include the status of all the claims submitted by your firm. Once you receive the reports, we ask that you immediately compare your firm report to your database and let us know if any claim is not accounted for within the report you receive.
July 13, 2015 the Trust staff will begin data entry on the Trust side of the new system. If your firm has not previously worked with and/or filed claims with a Web based system and is interested in training, please let us know. Once we begin to accept claims we will set up go-to-meetings for individual firm training.
July 20, 2015 is the day the Trusts plan to begin accepting new claims and resubmissions of pending claims in the new system.
August 2015 the Trusts are planning on making claim payments within the first few weeks of August for releases received after June 22, 2015.
The Trusts appreciate all your patience and assistance as we change our filing system. We believe and hope that the changes will allow each firm to view its claims online, as well as run reports concerning claims.
Please feel free to contact Laura Paul directly concerning claims, dates or any other concerns you may have with claim processing. The Trusts will continue to notify each firm as we get closer to July 20, 2015.
The following notification was sent on this date to firms which submit, and may in the future submit, claims to the Trust.
On behalf of the Western Asbestos Settlement Trust, J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust, Thorpe Insulation Settlement Trust, and the Plant Asbestos Settlement Trust (collectively “Trusts”), we are writing to all attorneys and firms who regularly submit, and may in the future submit, claims to these Trusts to request your cooperation with the Trusts’ ongoing effort to insure that only reliable evidence is provided in support of claims.
As you likely know from the Trusts' websites, issues in litigation concerning Michael J. Mandelbrot and the Mandelbrot Law Firm were reduced to judgment in 2014. (See the attached copies of the Judgment and some of the related documents.)
In discharging Trust responsibilities to scrutinize all evidence for reliability, and in light of recent information that Mr. Mandelbrot has continued to be actively involved, we are asking that your firm confirm to the Trust that the evidence you are submitting is in compliance with the Court Order, and especially to inform the Trust if and, if so, where Mr. Mandelbrot has been involved in preparation of evidence submitted under oath or affirmation in support of claims. Most specifically, we are reviewing declaration and interrogatory evidence concerning exposure. If you have questions that you would like to discuss with the Trust, please email or call us. We are following up at this time informally to determine if further investigation and/or audits will be required.
The Trustees, with the consent of the TAC and the Futures Representative, have increased the Payment Percentage to 48% of the total liquidated claim value. After necessary updates to the claims processing system and payment procedures have been completed, claims will be paid in accordance with this change. All eligible previously paid claims, including pre-petition liquidated claims, should receive the additional amounts due as a result of this Payment Percentage increase by the end of December, 2014.
The Trust will transfer claims filed by Mandelbrot to substitute counsel upon receipt of a written representation from Mandelbrot consenting to the transfer of each affected claim, as well as a written representation from substitute counsel accepting the transfer.
The Trust will transfer claims to counsel providing to the Trust a written representation and warranty that it possesses the client’s authorization to accept the transfer and handle the claim. To avoid doubt, counsel are encouraged to include copies of pertinent client authorization(s).
Where the representation and warranty does not show it has been copied to Mandelbrot (Michael J. Mandelbrot c/o The Mandelbrot Law Firm, 505 A San Martin Drive, Suite 200, Novato, California 94945), the Trust will promptly forward such representations and warranties to Mandelbrot. Absent objection supported by reliable evidence of a lack of client authorization, the Trust will modify its records to reflect transfer of claims to the counsel representing and warranting that it possesses client authorization within fifteen days.
Trust Distribution Procedures
Section 6.2 Content of Claims Materials
The Claims Materials shall include a copy of this TDP, such instructions as the Trustees shall approve, and Trust Claim forms. The Trust Claim forms shall be submitted with supporting documentation in accordance with the relevant criteria as set forth below and in compliance with Section I of the Matrix. At a minimum, the unliquidated Trust Claim form shall require submission of sufficient information to prove, and any relevant information tending to disprove exposure, disease and damages including:
(a) All relevant information called for in the San Francisco Superior Court General Order 129 Form Interrogatories, Set 1 and Set 2 and Minnesota Plaintiffs Set 1 Answers to Defendant's Interrogatories including the required complete occupational history and identification of other exposures, with the information relevant to exposure used to qualify this claim for the particular category highlighted and the pages tabbed.
(b) If the claimant was involved in any type of asbestos litigation, a complete copy of any litigation interrogatory responses created in support of that claim must be submitted to the Trust regardless of the jurisdiction in which the lawsuit was filed with any information exposures asserted in this claim highlighted and the pages tabbed (or, if applicable, noting that the interrogatories contain no reference to exposures asserted in this claim). In addition, the claimant who was involved in any type of asbestos litigation must identify all prior depositions of the claimant and produce them upon request.
(c) If the Claimant is utilizing the Trust Approved Interrogatories (set forth on the Trust Web site), portions of litigation interrogatories that were amended after the litigation was concluded or declarations to establish the Trust Claim, the responses and/or declarations must meet the following requirements:
(i) The interrogatories and/or declarations must be verified or made by a person who is competent to testify to the information stated in the interrogatories and/or declarations and the person must have personal direct knowledge of the factual information relevant to the claim and the answers and/or declarations must provide sufficient background information to explain how the person verifying the interrogatories and/or the declarant(s) acquired the personal direct knowledge of factual matters relevant to this claim, to allow the Trust to determine the credibility of the person verifying the interrogatories and/or the declarants;
(ii) Where the person lacks personal direct knowledge, the answers and/or declarations must provide sufficient information to explain how, when and from what sources the person verifying the interrogatories and/or the declarants acquired any indirect knowledge of factual matters relevant to the claim;
(iii) The interrogatory responses and/or declarant must provide specifics about the claimant’s (or claimant’s decedent’s) exposure and not use boilerplate wording;
(iv) If the person verifying the interrogatories and/or declarants relied upon documents as the basis for the responses given in the interrogatories and/or declarations (i.e. military records, social security records, etc.), those documents must be specifically identified and relevant portions of any such documents included in the supporting documents attached to the claim;
(v) The truth of the facts asserted in the interrogatories must be affirmed or verified under the penalty of perjury and any declarations must be made under penalty of perjury;
(vi) All declarations must be specific to the claim. In appropriate circumstances, the Trust may accept expert opinions pertaining to issues that are of general application and that are relevant to the specific claimant’s claim.
(vii) The Trust shall have the right to interview by phone or in person (always with the participation or presence of claimant’s counsel), anyone who verifies interrogatories, or has provided information to the person verifying the interrogatories or who submits a declaration in support of a claim submitted to the Trust.
(d) Medical records, medical reports and/or death certificates evidencing the claimed disease, with the diagnosis highlighted and the pages tabbed. For lung cancer and other cancer cases, evidence of markers or other factors which would lead to an upward adjustment under the Matrix will be highlighted and the pages tabbed. For Grade I claims, evidence of x-ray and PFT values that would lead to an increased award will be highlighted and the pages tabbed.
(e) For Serious Asbestosis claims, evidence to support this categorization will be highlighted and the pages tabbed.
(f) For an Injured Person seeking a multiplier for an economic loss in excess of the base case amount, an economic report of evidence supporting claimed wage/pension/home services loss, with total claimed loss highlighted and the page tabbed.
(g) For an Injured Person seeking a multiplier for medical expenses in excess of the base case amount, an affidavit summarizing medical expenses, or submission of medical bills to substantiate the total claimed amount.
(h) An endorsed/filed copy of the face page of the complaint or equivalent proof of commencement of litigation if applicable, or alternatively a certification under Section 5.1.
(i) Social Security records, front or identifying face page and portions relevant to facts asserted in connection with the claim of deposition transcript(s), union records, railroad records, military records (including leave records), or any other employment records all highlighted and tabbed. If such records are unavailable, the claimant or representative attorney must explain why such records are unavailable and attest that every reasonable effort has been made to obtain them.
Case Valuation Matrix
Section I. General Claim Provision
a. Minimum and Maximum Values. All claims after being valued at their respective base case value and any appropriate adjustments are subject to the following minimum and maximum values.
(i) Minimum Value. Any Injured Person who has submitted an approved claim under a Compensable Disease category and has submitted a Trust Claim form to the Trust with all required documentation as outlined in the Trust Distribution Plan and herein, will receive a minimum of 10% of the Average Value of the claim for that disease in the controlling jurisdiction.
(ii) Maximum Value. Any Injured Person who has submitted an approved claim under a Compensable Disease category and has submitted a Trust Claim form to the Trust with all required documentation as outlined in the Trust Distribution Plan and herein, will receive a maximum of four times the Average Value of the claim for that disease in the controlling jurisdiction, unless it qualifies as an Extraordinary Claim as defined in Section IX of the Matrix.
b. Medical Diagnoses. Any diagnosis of pulmonary asbestosis shall be made by a (i) a Pathologist, who personally reviewed the Injured Person’s pathology, or (ii) an Internist, Pulmonologist or Occupational Medicine Physician who actually examined the Injured Person. These findings will be contained in a detailed narrative written report of the examination. All medical diagnoses in the Matrix are required to be made by Board-Certified physicians in appropriate specialties to a level of reasonable medical probability. Specifically, medical reports that only come to a conclusion that findings are “consistent with” asbestos-related disease will not, standing alone, be sufficient to establish compliance with the medical criteria in the Matrix. Medical experts who are not Board-Certified but who meet equivalent medical experience and expertise requirements may be approved by the Trust with the consent of the Trust Advisory Committee (“TAC”) and Futures Representative upon application by a Claimant.
c. Record Review Exception. Notwithstanding subsection (b) above, in the event that the Trust determines upon adequate showing under penalty of perjury that good cause exists to excuse either (1) personal review of Injured Person’s pathology by a Pathologist; and/or (2) actual examination of the Injured Person by an Internist, Pulmonologist or Occupational Medicine Physician, the Trust in its exercise of discretion may permit those medical professionals to submit their diagnosis of pulmonary asbestosis on the basis of a review of the Injured Person’s medical records (“Record Review Claim”), provided however, the Maximum Value for any such claim shall be the limit set in Section VIII for Individual Review. Examples of record review claims would be wrongful death actions where no pathology exists, or Injured Persons who are in such extremis or other circumstances exist that no such examination is practicable.
d. Claimant’s Burden to Submit Credible Reliable Claim Information. Information submitted in support of a claim must comply with recognized medical standards (including but not limited to standards regarding equipment, testing methods, and procedures) and/or legal evidentiary and authenticity standards.
(i) While the Trust will not strictly apply rules of evidence, information provided in support of claims must be reliable and credible so that the Trust and, if needed, ADR neutrals are fully informed regarding the foundations for facts asserted in support of claims. The Trust normally will accept copies instead of authenticated copies of x-ray reports, laboratory tests, medical examinations, other medical records and reviews that otherwise comply with recognized medical and/or legal standards unless circumstances indicate that the copies of the and /or the tests, reports, or review are not authentic or are otherwise unreliable.
(ii) The Trust normally will accept copies instead of authenticated copies of deposition testimony, invoices, affidavits, business records, deck logs, military service records (including leave records) or other credible indirect or secondary evidence in a form otherwise acceptable to the Trust that establishes an Injured Person’s occupation, occupational history, business or other losses or the Injured Person’s presence at a particular ship, facility, job site, building or buildings or location during a time period in which the asbestos-containing material for which Western is responsible was present, unless circumstances show that the information being submitted is unreliable.
(iii) Examples of unreliable information include where the circumstances raise questions of authenticity of copies or where persons authoring or verifying facts offered in support of a claim lack direct knowledge of such facts but fail to reveal and describe what facts, and how and from what sources they learned those facts, they relied upon as the basis for their assertion of such facts. Under these circumstances, the Trust and any ADR neutrals shall apply the rules of evidence to exclude evidence where the witness or verifying party declines to provide such foundational information, e.g., on grounds that the information relied upon is privileged or confidential.
e. Trust’s Right to Require Additional Evidence. The Trust may require the submission any other evidence to support or verify a Trust claim, including but not limited to additional exposure information, x-rays, laboratory tests, medical examinations or reviews, medical reports, or other medical evidence all of which must also meet the requirements of Section I (d) above.
f. Conspiracy Theory Claims Prohibited. Claims based on conspiracy theories that do not involve exposure to asbestos-containing materials sold, installed or removed by Western are not compensable under this Matrix.
Section VII. Exposure Requirements
a. Standard Exposure Criteria. Subject to Section 6.2 of the Trust Distribution Procedures, exposure to asbestos-containing material for which Western is responsible can be established by evidence described in Section I (d) and (e) above. The Trust shall have the right to consider all other appropriate evidence of exposure and may establish appropriate alternative exposure criteria after consultation with the TAC and the Futures Representative. The burden shall be on the Claimant or Injured Person to establish exposure to Western products by credible reliable evidence.
Please see the Second Amendment to and Complete Restatement of Matrix.
New claims or deficiency responses can now be received either in paper or CD format mailed to the Trust at 300 East Second Street, Suite 1410, Reno, Nevada 89501. The electronic template, as well as the paper claim form, are located on the Trusts’ Websites under the “Claims” tab. Further, firms will need to continue to bookmark and highlight the information relied upon within the supporting documents as set forth in the claim filing instructions on the website.
All paper claims and CD format submissions will be date and time stamped when they are received at the Trusts. The Trusts will continue to maintain a master file separate from the system for each claim received, until the Trusts are back online.
The Trusts will continue to return all deficient claims or offers in paper format. You will receive a Content Deficiency Letter (CD Letter) or Release Authorization Letter (RA Letter) via US mail or other mail carrier. The Trust will not send the entire claim form or supporting documents back to the submitting firm, only the portion deemed relevant to the deficiency will be returned.
In order to cure any deficiency, you may submit a copy of the CD letter and only include the documentation necessary to cure the deficiency either in paper or CD format sent via US mail or other mail carriers. You do not need to resubmit the entire claim package.
The Trust will continue to work towards being able to receive claims in an electronic format.
Under the terms of an agreement between these Trusts and Michael Mandelbrot, and subsequent order of the Bankruptcy Court, Mandelbrot must transfer all claims for which he serves or has served as counsel to a new attorney of record by July 23, 2014.
If you chose to select new counsel to represent you, or to represent yourself in connection with your claim(s) with the Trusts, YOU MUST DO SO BY JULY 23, 2014 OR YOUR CLAIM MAY BE DEEMED WITHDRAWN. THIS MAY DELAY OR ELIMINATE YOUR RIGHTS TO PAYMENTS FROM THE TRUST(S), including initial payments and any further payments from the Trust(s) in the event of an increase in payment percentage/funds received ratio, and MAY REQUIRE ADDITIONAL FILING FEES in the event you elect to re-submit your claim following withdrawal.
YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH COUNSEL REGARDING THIS NOTICE.
For additional information regarding this notice, and the background giving rise to this dispute, please see the Bankruptcy Court’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Order Following Trial, and Judgment, which have been posted on each of the Trusts’ Web sites.
All paper claim submissions will be date and time stamped as they are received at the Trusts. The Trusts will create a master file for each claim received and when the Trusts’ claims processing systems are operating, the Trust will reduce all paper submissions to an electronic format and input them into the claim processing systems as they were received.
Until further notice, the Trusts will return all deficient claims in paper format. You will receive a Content Deficiency Letter (CD Letter) via US mail or other mail carrier. The Trusts will continue to use deficiency codes and reviewer notes regarding the reason the claim is deemed deficient. The Trust will not send the entire claim form or supporting documents back to the submitting firm, only the portion deemed relevant to the deficiency will be returned.
In order to cure any deficiency, you may submit a copy of the CD letter and only include the documentation necessary to cure the deficiency in paper format sent via US mail or other mail carriers. You do not need to resubmit the entire claim package. The Trust will date and time stamp the documentation received and will add it to the claim’s master file.
The Trusts will continue to issue offers on valid claims.
Please continue to follow the current procedures and return the original signed release to the Trust via US mail or other mail carriers within the time allowed pursuant to the Trust Distribution Procedures (TDP) Section 6.3. If the Trusts find that the release is deficient, the Trusts will contact you via phone or e-mail and if necessary send a release deficiency letter.
The Trusts are working diligently to minimize the impact of requiring paper format for filing and processing claims on the payment of claims.
Claimants who desire to exercise their right to Arbitration under Section 5.9 of the First Amendment to and Complete Restatement of the Western Asbestos Company/Western Mac Arthur Co./Mac Arthur Co. Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust Distribution Procedures (“TDP”) may do so by providing the Trust’s Administrator with a written request for Arbitration within ninety (90) days of either a claim being rejected by the Trust, or a rejection by the claimant of a Trust offer. Upon receipt of a written request for Arbitration, the Trust within ten (10) days, will send to claimant an Election Form and Agreement for Binding or Non-Binding Arbitration.
If the Trust has already received an Evaluation by Document Election Agreement prior to January 14, 2014, that claim is unaffected.
Ships removed from the Western Built List:
Modifications to the Western Ships Built List:
Ship removed from the Western Ships Repaired List:
Ship added to the Western Ships Repaired List
Ships removed from the Western Built List:
Ship removed from the Western Repaired List:
Ships added to the Western Built List:
|Shipyard||Start Date||End Date||Name of Ship||Contents|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||1-Dec-47||1-Dec-48||ADM D.W. TAYLOR||scrapped 1974|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||1-Apr-48||1-Apr-49||ADM F.B. UPHAM||scrapped 1984|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||1-Sep-44||1-Sep-45||ADM W.L. CAPPS||sunk 2000|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||4-Feb-43||4-Feb-44||CHICKSAW||struck 1999|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||28-Mar-43||28-Mar-44||CREE||sunk 1978|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||20-Feb-19||20-Feb-20||HAZELWOOD||scrapped 1935|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||29-Apr-43||29-Apr-44||LIPAN||sunk 1990|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||29-May43||29-May-44||MATACO||scrapped 1979|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||25-Sep-42||25-Sep-43||MENOMINEE|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||29-Sep-43||29-Sep-44||MOLALA|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||30-Oct-43||30-Oct-44||MUNSEE||struck 1969|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||17-Dec-43||17-Dec-44||PAKANA||sunk 1975|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||31-Mar-42||31-Mar-43||PAWNEE||struck 1962|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||12-Feb-44||12-Feb-45||POTOWATOMI||suck 1965|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||6-May-44||6-May-45||QUPAW||struck 1992|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||24-Jun-44||24-Jun-45||Sarsi||lost 1952|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||22-Sep-44||22-Sep-45||SERRANO|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||12-Jun-42||12-Jun-43||SIOUX|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||3-AUG-44||3-AUG-45||TAKELMA|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||15-Sep-44||15-Sep-45||TAWAKONI|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||18-Sep-44||18-Sep45||TENINO||struck 1961|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||26-Dec44||26-Dec-45||TOLOWA||struck 1970|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||13-DEC-42||13-DEC-43||UTE||sunk 1991|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||17-Feb-45||17-Feb-45||WATEREE||sunk 1945|
|Bethlehem Steel -- San Francisco, CA||24-Mar-45||24-Mar-46||WENATCHEE|
Posted 03/03/11RESOLVED that the Trustees, in agreement with the TAC and Futures Representative, do hereby amend the Western Asbestos Settlement Trust Case Valuation Matrix Section IV (vii) as follows:
vii. Medical Causation. The following adjustments apply to Injured Persons who have different smoking histories and/or medical findings than those described for the base Other Cancer case. In no event can any of the adjustments listed below be combined for an overall causation adjustment in excess of 3.0 OCA.
|Pathological diagnosis of asbestosis, or occupational levels of asbestos bodies or asbestos fibers in lung tissue||2.0 OCA|
|Clinical diagnosis of asbestosis (in absence of pathological diagnosis)||1.5 OCA|
|No radiographic evidence of asbestos exposure and no Increased fiber burden as a marker of asbestos exposure||.25 OCA|
|Lifetime non-smoker||2.0 OCA|
|1-20 pack-years of smoking||1.2 OCA|
|Over 80 pack-years of smoking||.6 OCA|
|Diagnosis over 10 years since Injured Person quit smoking||1.2 OCA|
|Diagnosis over 15 years since Injured Person quit smoking||1.5 OCA|