A potentially large blow was dealt to Pfizer (PFE) recently by the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. It was decided that the company is not immune to asbestos-related lawsuits that have been filed by more than 160,000 plaintiffs against the now-bankrupt Quigley. In 1968, Pfizer bought out Quigley, a company that is under fire for allegedly selling asbestos-containing products, creating a health hazard. Even though Quigley stopped most operations in 1992, and filed for bankruptcy in 2004, these suits are still an issue for Pfizer.
The road to these court dealings has been a long one. It all began in 1999, when attorney Peter G. Angelos started the process of bringing these claims against Pfizer. Angelos claimed that the fact that Pfizer’s company logo appeared on Quigley products made it liable for all of the asbestos-containing products. However, Christopher Loder, a spokesman for Pfizer, cited precedence as reason to refrain from being concerned: “In the history of this litigation, Pfizer has never been found derivatively or directly liable for injuries allegedly caused by Quigley’s asbestos-containing products.”
Loder’s claims seemed to have been confirmed when a United States Bankruptcy judge, Stuart Bernstein, issued a decision that stated that Quigley’s bankruptcy precluded Pfizer from some of the lawsuits that were being filed against it. This decision was great news for the company and it seemed as though it might be off the hook. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
In May 2011, a federal judge in New York reversed the earlier order.To continue reading, click here.