The recent ruling by a federal appellate court that Pfizer can be named as a defendant in suits for asbestos puts the drugmaker in the position of continuing to drag out a 30 year dispute. The suits would be carried out in state courts and are in relation to asbestos-containing products manufactured by a Pfizer subsidiary that has long since gone bankrupt.
The issue at hand concerns insulation made by Quigley Company Inc., the subsidiary bought by Pfizer in 1968. The insulation products were found to contain asbestos and as many as 160,000 plaintiffs brought suits against the company. Quigley filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004 as part of an arrangement by Pfizer to settle with over 80 percent of the plaintiffs in the case. However, Pfizer was not entirely off the hook thanks to an injunction issued in the bankruptcy case that declared several pending suits still valid.
For individuals exposed to asbestos by taking this drug who are located near their area, Philadelphia asbestos attorneys can help victims of asbestos-related disorders to get compensation from companies like Quigley. Attorneys who concentrate their practice on asbestos cases have the skill needed to help clients even in situations where would-be defendants have gone bankrupt. In this case, Pennsylvania lawyer Peter Angelos put forth the argument that Pfizer was liable for Quigley’s cases because it had its label on the asbestos-containing products and thus should not be protected by the injunction.
The three judges in the federal appellate court upheld Angelos’ reading of the bankruptcy code language and issued a 34-page ruling naming Pfizer as a defendant in asbestos related liability cases. The case is currently in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.