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Court Sets Owens Corning Asbestos Damage At $7 Billion

Apr 1, 2005 | AP

A federal judge has determined that Owens Corning, the maker of building materials, is likely to owe $7 billion for asbestos damages.

The ruling signed Thursday by U.S. District Judge John Fullam of Philadelphia, is a key action in Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning's long-running bankruptcy case.

Financial creditors of the company argued that the company's asbestos liabilities should be pegged at a number between $2 billion and $3 billion.

Lawyers for asbestos claimants asked for an estimate of $11 billion from the judge, who took extensive evidence on the issue.

Owens Corning is one of the largest of many companies to seek refuge in Chapter 11 from an onslaught of claims for damages from asbestos products that it has long since ceased making.

The asbestos estimation proceedings before Fullam were hotly contested, as the liability amount assigned by the judge sets a baseline for Chapter 11 reorganization plan negotiations.

In broad outline, Owens Corning expects to appease both financial and personal injury creditors with shares in its still successful business operations.

The higher the amount estimated for asbestos liability, the more equity Owens Corning will set aside for people with claims for disease and death caused by asbestos.

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