KBP is acting on behalf of beleaguered engineering firm Turner & Newell which went into administration after its parent company US giant Federal Mogul, collapsed.
RSA claims that when an original insurance policy was taken out by T&N in 1969 with RSA’s predecessor The Royal, it did not include asbestos-related illnesses.
At a preliminary hearing last week the court found in favour of KBP, giving it the right to obtain all information regarding T&N’s insurance claim. The information will enable it to prepare for the full hearing which is due to take place in January 2003.
In January, KBP is expected to base its claim on the principle that any exclusions RSA asserts are not valid under the policy. If the case succeeds, two in three of T&N’s employees will receive some compensation. ‘Neighbourhood claimants’, who contracted asbestos-related illnesses from living in affected areas will have to find other ways to claim.
KBP was appointed administrator to T&N in October 2001, when its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following an avalanche of asbestos-related lawsuits in the US.
The case, expected to become a landmark in the treatment of asbestos litigation, has become increasingly complex due to differences between UK and US legislation regarding illness compensation lawsuits.
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