T.K. Kim Jul. 25, 2013, 1:49pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) -- The estimation trial to determine the extent of liability a company that manufactures gaskets owes claimants exposed to asbestos from its products has resumed with expert witnesses called to the stand.

Attorneys for Garlock Sealing Technologies called several industrial hygienists Wednesday to give testimony on their expertise in conducting exposure assessment evaluations before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina. As Garlock's witnesses laid out their credentials on direct examination, opposing attorneys sought to undermine their credibility by questioning their impartiality as paid experts.

"You sell your time?" Scott Frost, an attorney for the claimants, asked Fred Boelter, an industrial hygienist retained by Garlock who testified he first started researching asbestos issues while inspecting facilities in the 1970s.

"Yes," Boelter replied. Boelter said he has served as an expert for several asbestos defendants but has not been retained as an expert by any asbestos plaintiffs since 1989. Frost continued questioning Boelter on an asbestos study he authored on Garlock gaskets that had been funded by Garlock's parent company.

Boelter denied knowing at the time that the funds came from a company related to Garlock. Boelter testified that he was approached to conduct the study because he had developed an expertise in examining asbestos exposure stemming from gaskets. Boelter contended that it is his competency that draws asbestos defendants to retain his services, not because of any partiality.

The bankruptcy trial is scheduled to resume Thursday.

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