US law courts have ruled in favour of Crown Cork and Seal's motion for summary judgment, dismissing 376 pending asbestos cases against the company based on recent changes to Pennsylvania corporate successor liability law.
The news will come as a relief to the company as an unfavourable ruling would have meant heavy compensation pay-outs had the court's decision favoured the employees.
"Crown is simply in the bottle cap and can business," said William Gallagher, General Counsel for Crown. "Yet, through the technical application of corporate merger successor liability law, thousands of asbestos claims have been filed against Crown because of Crown's brief connection nearly 40 years ago with Mundet Cork Company, a manufacturer of cork-lined bottle caps that had also owned a small insulation division. Crown's investment of $7 million in Mundet has already resulted in our making more than $350 million in asbestos-related payments."
In 1963, Crown purchased the stock of Mundet Cork Company, and Mundet sold its insulation division within 93 days of this purchase. Thereafter, Mundet, consisting of its bottle cap business, was merged into Crown.