By Brent Kendall
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked the Obama administration for its views on a Pfizer Inc. (>> Pfizer Inc.) appeal that seeks to block a series of asbestos lawsuits related to products manufactured by its Quigley Co. subsidiary.
Pfizer argues that the lawsuits, filed in Pennsylvania on behalf of individuals allegedly harmed by asbestos-containing Quigley insulation products, should be barred by a bankruptcy-court injunction related to Quigley's chapter 11 proceedings. That injunction stopped plaintiffs from bringing Quigley-related asbestos claims against Pfizer while Quigley's bankruptcy case was ongoing.
Asbestos lawyer Peter Angelos, who filed the lawsuits, argued that despite the injunction, certain asbestos claims against Pfizer could proceed because they were based on legal theories not covered by the injunction. The lawsuits argued that Pfizer itself was the product manufacturer because its logo appeared on Quigley documents, advertising and products.
Last April, the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Mr. Angelos could bring the lawsuits against Pfizer. The Supreme Court, in a short written order, asked the U.S. solicitor general to file a legal brief expressing the Obama administration's views on whether the justices should hear the case.
The case is Pfizer Inc. v. Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, 12-300.
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