KCIC has launched BEV, its Bankruptcy Evidence Verification tool — designed to help defense attorneys quickly identify sources of exposure that potentially link claimants to bankrupt companies.
BEV is the latest addition to KCIC’s Ligado Platform. More than a year in development, BEV ensures that evidence of asbestos-containing products made by bankrupt companies is preserved within the record of the tort system.
“Given that bankrupt companies are no longer named on complaints and have disappeared from interrogatories, the best, and last, chance to obtain a plaintiff admission is during a deposition,” says Jonathan Terrell, President of KCIC. “We designed BEV to serve as a weapon in the post-Garlock era, with the means to keep all bankrupt companies in evidence and accountable for their fair share of liability. Rather than defense counsel tediously researching thousands of job sites and products, BEV pulls together an extensive collection of bankruptcy trust data into one access point.”
BEV is comprised of a comprehensive and searchable database, sourced with public data from post-bankruptcy trusts and supplemented with product pictures, as well as other exposure evidence. Defense counsel can use the tool in real time to uncover evidence based on work history, products, industry, or occupation — allowing exploration of other potential exposure sources and assisting with more targeted questioning in depositions.
Each year, more than 8,000 U.S. companies are named on complaints alleging exposure to asbestos-containing products. According to KCIC research, an average of 68 entities are named on each complaint; however, that number does not take into account bankrupt companies. As defendant companies have gone into bankruptcy, protections afforded by Chapter 11 and the subsequent Plans of Reorganization safeguard them from being named on complaints, but evidentiary standards are still to be upheld. The landmark Garlock case drew attention to the mysterious phenomenon of evidence disappearing from the record after asbestos product liability defendants file for bankruptcy. BEV combats this injustice and strives to encourage integrity in the tort system by keeping all bankrupt companies in evidence.
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