CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) – The debtors in the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy proceeding filed the first wave of documents on Monday in response to Judge George Hodges’s unsealing order.
The debtors – which include Garlock, Garrison Litigation Management Group and The Anchor Packing Company – filed the Joint List of Sealed Materials Not Subject to Seal in conjunction with the Asbestos Claimants Committee and the Future Claimants’ Representative in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
The list includes roughly 120 exhibits that all three parties agreed have not been made subject to any motion to seal.
Some of the disclosed exhibits include:
-Expert reports and rebuttal reports;
-A letter forecasting Garlock’s future asbestos expenditures;
-Several internal reviews of asbestos liability estimates;
-Summary of trust payment percentages and values;
-EnPro’s asbestos history, forecast, budget and projection;
-Garrison’s cash flow forecast and year-to-date cash flow;
-Asbestos claims estimate assessing various values and filing volume scenarios;
-Internal reviews of asbestos liability estimates; and
The disclosure comes after U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., ruled in favor of Legal Newsline on July 23, concluding that evidence alleging fraud on the part of asbestos attorneys should not have been sealed.
Cogburn, a President Barack Obama-appointee who took the bench in 2011, concluded that sealing documents and witness testimony is the exception, not the rule, to handling alleged “confidential” information. As a result, he reversed Hodges’ denial of the motions seeking access to evidence admitted under seal and remanded the proceedings back to the bankruptcy court with instructions on how to handle the unsealing process.
“As a gatekeeper, a judge must consider sealing as the exception to the rule, give the public notice of its intent to seal, require counsel to provide valid reasons for such extraordinary relief, and then explain that decision as well as the reason why less drastic alternatives were not employed,” Cogburn wrote.
As a result, Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges released an order stating that any party wishing to keep documents under seal must file a motion to seal, and all documents not subject of a sealing motion were supposed to be released by Sept. 21.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Heather Isringhausen Gvillo at email@example.com