The number of significant mass-tort bankruptcy filings is rising, e.g., LTL Management (J & J Talcum Powder), 3M Combat Earplug, Hair Relaxer, Boy Scouts, and Opioid bankruptcies. The interplay between bankruptcy and the tort system under such circumstances, often involving an MDL, raises issues of first impression. The bench and bar have struggled to develop effective and fair practices and procedures to meet these new challenges.
The Center will hold a bench-bar leadership conference addressing issues arising in mass-tort bankruptcies in November 2024. The conference will address judicial estimation of tort claims, the feasibility of amending Bankruptcy Rule 9031 to permit the appointment of a special master, the revision of proof of claims to require additional information and postpone the bar dates for tort claims, as well as examining the treatment of settlements and judgments in the MDL after the reorganization plan has been approved. The bankruptcy court’s use of a Rule 706 expert to estimate the value of all tort claims will be considered as a model in mass-tort MDLs as a means to facilitate settlement negotiations (not to set a settlement cap).
Panel 1 – Appointing Evid. R. 706 expert to aid the parties in a mass-tort MDL understand testimony from competing experts on the value of tort claims and facilitate settlement negotiations as well as examining the feasibility of amending Bankruptcy Rule 9031 to permit the appointment of a special master
Panel 2 – Revising proof of claim to require additional information for tort claims, including some evidence of exposure or injury
Panel 3 – Improving better communication and collaboration between MDL transferee judge and bankruptcy judges
Panel 4 – Consultations between bankruptcy court and mass-tort MDL leadership counsel to discuss status of attorney’s fee arrangements in MDLs
Panel 5 – State Attorneys General Role in Mass-Tort Bankruptcies
CHATHAM HOUSE RULE
The conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule: “[P]articipants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), or that of any other participant, may be revealed.”
The registration fee for the conference is $1,200, which includes conference materials, a continental breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch, a group reception on Thursday evening, and grab-and-go snacks at adjournment. Two or more lawyers registering from the same law firm receive major discounts (single registrant – $1,200; second registrant – $950; and third and each additional registrant – $800). Early-bird registrations, in-house, and company discounts available.
CLE credit is being applied for from the state of New Jersey.