In re Joint Eastern and Southern District Asbestos Litigation
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
14 F.3d 726 (1993)
The Keene Corporation purchased a manufacturer of asbestos-containing products, and within 10 years, it was embroiled in approximately 190,000 asbestos personal-injury claims. Despite settling almost half of those claims, Keene continued to be sued in about 2,000 new asbestos cases per month. To avoid bankruptcy, Keene filed suit in federal district court and requested class-action certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(1)(B) for a class of all persons with past, present, and future asbestos claims against it. Keene’s complaint, which sought a declaratory judgment that Keene was not liable to the defendants for asbestos-related injuries, also sought court assistance to negotiate and approve a settlement to resolve the claims with the limited funds Keene had available at the time. Keene further alleged that such a settlement would avoid a potential bankruptcy for Keene and give the claimants a more fair and expeditious settlement of their claims than what they would receive in a bankruptcy proceeding. The district court found that a limited fund existed and certified a class under Rule 23(b)(1)(B). The court also enjoined Keene and all class members from continuing or initiating any asbestos-related claims against Keene—exempting those cases already in trial. An appeal was taken.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Winter, J.)
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