United States: The Effrontery Of The Asbestos Trust Transparency Legislation Efforts

Last Updated: February 27 2013
Article by Elihu Inselbuch, Ann C. McMillan and Andrew J. Sackett

For more than eighty years corporations that produced and distributed asbestos-containing products — and their insurance companies — have attempted to avoid responsibility for the deaths and injuries of millions of American workers and consumers caused by those products. Since before 1930, they have hidden the dangers of asbestos and lied about their knowledge of those dangers, lobbied to make it harder for workers to sue for their injuries, fought to weaken protective legislation, and to this day continue to deny responsibility. Most recently, these asbestos litigation defendants have created a myth of plaintiff wrongdoing— which they call "double-dipping"—as a pretext for so-called settlement trust "transparency" legislation. This is not what it pretends to be — an effort to make the tort system more responsive — but merely their latest affirmative effort to evade responsibility for their own malfeasance.

It is a fundamental principle of American law that an injured person can recover damages from every entity that has harmed him, and as litigation progresses can settle his claim against one or another of the wrongdoers as he and they may agree. His compensation for his injury is, then, the sum of all the settlements reached. Only in the very rare case that goes to verdict, judgment, and payment (where the payment amount is reduced by an amount determined by the relevant state law to account for payments by settling co-defendants or bankruptcy trusts), is the victim's claim fully satisfied. Only if after verdict, judgment, and payment were a plaintiff to recover from a bankruptcy trust could he be overcompensated and be said to have "double-dipped." Out of the millions of trust claims filed and considered by trusts since 1988, defendants have identified just one case where a trust claim was filed by a plaintiff after judgment and paid by a trust. In that case the judgment was on appeal and had not yet been paid when the trust claim was filed. There is no "double-dipping" problem that needs to be fixed.

To fix this non-problem, front organizations for asbestos defendants have proposed "transparency" laws and regulations at both the federal and state levels. One such law was recently adopted in Ohio. While these proposals masquerade as mechanisms designed to advance even-handed justice, they are, in fact, obvious efforts by asbestos litigation defendants to do an end-run around uniform rules of discovery in the tort system and reverse principles of tort law established hundreds of years ago, including the principle that the plaintiff is the master of his case and may choose which of multiple wrongdoers to sue and with which to settle.

These front organizations include the American Legislative Exchange Council ("ALEC") and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform. ALEC is funded by a variety of corporations, including those facing liability for injuries and deaths caused by their asbestos-containing products. ALEC is also busy advancing the interests of the tobacco industry, health insurance companies, and private prisons — the latter particularly through legislation requiring expanded incarceration of immigrants. While ALEC purports to be a nonprofit, it is little more than a group of corporate lobbyists who write model legislation and then fund free trips for state legislators to luxury resorts, seeking to have them introduce model anti-civil justice legislation in their home legislatures.1 Outrageously, ALEC is funded as a tax-exempt charity, although the IRS has recently received formal complaints challenging the group's nonprofit tax status on the basis that ALEC's primary purpose is to provide a vehicle for its corporate members to lobby state legislators and to deduct the costs of such efforts as charitable contributions.2

The supposed "transparency" sought by asbestos defendants is centered on claims plaintiffs make against trusts established to compensate asbestos victims. These asbestos personal injury trusts were created to resolve the bankruptcies of asbestos defendants overwhelmed by their provable tort liabilities to the people they injured. The trusts are crafted to distribute settlement payments to individuals injured by their bankrupt predecessors' products in amounts reflecting the historic tort system settlement share paid by the relevant predecessor. Because of the hopeless insolvency of their predecessors, the trusts are only able to pay a small percentage of that historical settlement share to each deserving claimant, present and future.

Supporters of these recent proposals claim that "transparency" is necessary to prevent "double-dipping" on the part of plaintiffs — that is, fraudulent multiple recoveries for the same injury, through lawsuits against remaining solvent defendants and trust claims. This assertion is deliberately misleading. Because of the ubiquitous presence of asbestos in industry, multiple companies are almost always at fault for asbestos-related diseases and deaths. Think of the shipyard worker, for example, assisting in the repair of countless U.S. Navy warships. The asbestos-containing products which were causes of his injury included boilers, pipe and thermal insulation, gaskets, and many others. A person so injured can legally recover from every company responsible, including both those he sues in the tort system and the trusts that stand in the shoes of bankrupt defendants. The current efforts by ALEC and its members are nothing more than an attempt to shift solvent defendants' share of responsibility to the insolvent defendants and leave the innocent victims with the resulting shortfall in recovery.

I. TORT SYSTEM ASBESTOS DEFENDANTS AND THEIR INSURERS COME WITH ESPECIALLY UNCLEAN HANDS

a. General Background — Asbestos Disease And Litigation

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used during the twentieth century for industrial, commercial, and residential purposes.3 Because of its tensile strength, flexibility, durability, and acid- and fire-resistant capacities, asbestos was used extensively in industrial settings and in a wide range of manufactured goods.4 Diseases caused by exposure to asbestos kill thousands of Americans every year because asbestos is inherently dangerous. Whenever materials containing asbestos are damaged or disturbed, microscopic fibers become airborne, and can be inhaled into the lungs and cause disease.5 The most serious asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma, a virulent cancer of the lining of the lungs that can be caused by even a short period of exposure, and is inevitably painfully fatal, often within months of diagnosis.6 Other illnesses caused by asbestos include lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural diseases.7 The bulk of asbestos liabilities are for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.

Tens of millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos; more than 27 million people were occupationally exposed between 1940 and 1979.8 Millions of those exposed have fallen ill, or will fall ill in the future; many have died and many more will die as a result of their exposure. Manufacturers — but not workers — were for decades well aware of the significant health hazards posed by asbestos, but production and distribution of new asbestos-containing products continued virtually unabated until the 1970s,9 and in some cases until 2000.10 Asbestos diseases have long latency periods; a person exposed while working may not fall ill for forty years or fifty years, or even longer.11 Thus, even though asbestos production and use has declined, the epidemic of asbestos-related illnesses is expected to continue for decades into the future.

By the early 1900s, medical scientists and researchers had uncovered "persuasive evidence of the health hazards associated with asbestos."12 Manufacturers and insurers knew this, and even as evidence mounted they continued to hide these findings and deny responsibility. In 1918, a Prudential Insurance Company report revealed excess deaths from pulmonary disease among asbestos workers, and noted that life insurance companies generally declined to cover asbestos workers because of the "assumed health-injurious conditions of the industry."13 For decades, asbestos manufacturers were well aware of the dangers of asbestos, but did not protect their workers or the end-users of their products. In a thorough discussion of the history of asbestos use and litigation in the United States, District Judge Jack Weinstein noted:

Reports concerning the occupational risks of asbestos, including the incidence of asbestosis and lung cancer among exposed workers, have been substantial in number and publicly available in medical, engineering, legal and general information publications since the early 1930s. There is compelling evidence that asbestos manufacturers and distributors who were aware of the growing knowledge of the dangers of asbestos sought to conceal this information from workers and the general public.14

As workers and others who had been exposed to asbestos began to get ill in large numbers, litigation began in the 1960s. Of particular importance was evidence uncovered by plaintiffs' attorneys — "[t]hrough persistence, vigorous discovery and creative efforts" — establishing that "manufacturers . . . knew that asbestos posed potentially life-threatening hazards and [chose] to keep that information from workers and others who might be exposed."15 Angered by evidence that information about the dangers of asbestos had been suppressed, juries began awarding large punitive damages.16 As a result of the plaintiffs' success in asbestos suits in the tort system, and the overwhelming number of claims, the point was reached long ago where most workers who fall ill from exposure to asbestos "recover substantial sums through settlement or jury awards."17

b. Evolution Of Filings In The Tort System

Asbestos personal injury litigation began in earnest in 1973 after the Fifth Circuit's decision in the benchmark case of Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corp.18 Borel established that manufacturers and distributors of asbestos products are liable to persons injured as a result of using their products because of their failure to warn regarding the danger of those products.19 Recognizing that many persons have been exposed to a variety of asbestos products made by a large number of manufacturers, under circumstances that make it impossible to ascribe resulting disease to one particular product or exposure, the Borel court found that each and every exposure to asbestos could constitute a substantial contributing factor in causing asbestos diseases, and that each and every defendant who contributed to the plaintiff's aggregate asbestos exposure is legally responsible for the plaintiff's asbestos-related injuries.20 The overwhelming majority of courts throughout the country have accepted the legal principles set out in Borel.21

With this development in the law, the thousands of people killed and maimed by exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products began to sue the manufacturers and distributors of those products. So many people had been injured or killed by asbestos that twenty-five thousand lawsuits were commenced in the next decade,22 and the number of lawsuits continued to rise dramatically through the 1990s.23

c. Trust Formation

Epidemiology makes clear that thousands of people each year for decades to come will fall ill as a result of asbestos exposure, and experience teaches us that most will seek compensation from the manufacturers of the asbestos products that caused their injuries. Attempts to achieve settlements that would provide for the treatment and payment of these future claims are hampered by the difficulty of ensuring that any such settlement agreements would "provide for all future claimants who come forward, so that all who are eligible for compensation are properly compensated and all who are required to pay compensation have taken into account this responsibility in their business planning."24 The overwhelming numbers of people who have been made sick and who are dead or dying from asbestos exposure and the large numbers of future claims have led dozens of asbestos manufacturers to choose bankruptcy to deal with these claims. Asbestos personal injury trusts were created during these bankruptcies to ensure that the tens of thousands of people who are currently sick and dying and the tens of thousands more who science tells us will sicken and die in the future as a result of their asbestos exposure can receive some compensation for their injuries.

1. Manville

The Johns-Manville Corporation was the largest manufacturer and distributor of asbestos products in the twentieth century. Manville officers and directors knew of the dangers of asbestos since at least 1934, and kept this knowledge secret to prevent workers from learning that their exposure to asbestos could kill them. As evidence of Manville's responsibility became known, it was faced with tens of thousands of lawsuits, and, to deal with this liability, filed its Chapter 11 petition for reorganization in August of 1982.25 To solve the problem of future claims, the Manville plan of reorganization pioneered the use of a trust dedicated to the resolution and payment of asbestos claims. The Manville Trust assumed the debtors' present and future asbestos liabilities, and all asbestos claims against the debtors (including those in the future) were directed to the Trust by an injunction—a "cornerstone" of the plan26—channeling all asbestos claims from the reorganized Manville Corporation to the Manville Trust. The channeling injunction was issued pursuant to the bankruptcy court's general equitable powers.27

2. Congress Acts

A substantial portion of the assets conveyed to the Manville Trust from which it would pay claims were equity and debt interests in the reorganized Manville Corporation, which, shorn of its asbestos liabilities, was a profitable forest products and industrial company. The public markets were skeptical about the validity of the channeling injunction, depressing the value of the Trust's holdings. To alleviate concerns about the Manville injunction, and to foster reorganization of asbestos debtors, in 1994 Congress enacted Bankruptcy Code Section 524(g), which statutorily validates the trust and channeling injunction mechanisms pioneered in the Manville case.28 As Senator Brown explained, "[w]ithout a clear statement in the code of a court's authority to issue such injunctions, the financial markets tend to discount the securities of the reorganized debtor. This in turn diminishes the trust's assets and its resources to pay victims."29

Section 524(g) obviates due process concerns with respect to future claimants by providing for appointment of a legal representative to protect their interests.30 The statute gives a debtor the right to propose and have confirmed a plan that will create a trust to which all of the debtor's present and future asbestos personal injury liabilities will be transferred, or channeled, for post-confirmation claims evaluation and resolution.31 The debtor is freed of asbestos claims, in return for funding the trust, and present and future asbestos claimants have recourse to the assets of the trust.

There were not many other asbestos-driven bankruptcies of note in the 1990s — the largest was likely the bankruptcy of the Celotex Corporation and Carey Canada Incorporated (a subsidiary that had been engaged in the mining, milling, and processing of asbestos fiber), which filed for bankruptcy protection in 1990. The Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust was formed in 1998.

This changed in the next decade, however. In 2000 there were sixteen asbestos personal injury trusts; by 2011, there were nearly sixty, with trusts formed by many large asbestos defendants, including Armstrong World Industries, the Babcock & Wilcox Company, Halliburton (Dresser Industries), Owens Corning, and United States Gypsum.32

3. Status Of Corporations Following Bankruptcies

ALEC and its members would like people to believe that the asbestos reorganizations have crippled businesses and put thousands out of work, suggesting that if the claims of victims are not somehow reduced, more corporate disasters will follow. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chapter 11 asbestos bankruptcies rarely result in lost jobs or diminished pensions. Instead, the Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedures allow a company to receive an "automatic stay," which stops all payments to creditors (including payments owed through settlements) and all pending lawsuits, and lets the company reorganize and then prioritize payments.33

Under Chapter 11 and section 524(g), therefore, a company can stop all pending asbestos lawsuits against it and set up a fund to settle all present and future asbestos claims. The automatic stay provision and the injunction available under section 524(g) can also extend to parent and subsidiary companies and protect them from future asbestos lawsuits derived from their affiliated debtor's torts.34 This protection has enabled most companies that have sought bankruptcy protection due to asbestos liabilities to recover and remain economically healthy. For example:

  • Owens-Corning filed for bankruptcy protection in 2000, emerged from bankruptcy in 2006, and by 2011, it had sales of $5.3 billion and 15,000 employees in 28 countries on five continents.35
  • The Babcock & Wilcox Company, which also sought bankruptcy protection in 2000 and confirmed a plan of reorganization in 2006, is now a company specializing in engineering, manufacturing and construction solutions in the renewable energy, clean coal, nuclear power and national security areas, employs approximately 12,000 people, as well as approximately 10,000 joint venture employees, and had 2011 revenues of almost $3 billion.36
  • Halliburton, which formed the DII Industries, LLC, Asbestos PI Trust in 2004, when it emerged from bankruptcy protection, is "one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry," has more than 70,000 employees in roughly 80 countries, and had $25 billion in annual revenue in 2011.37
  • Armstrong World Industries, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of floors, ceilings and cabinets. AWI exited bankruptcy protection in 2006, and by last year had consolidated net sales of approximately $2.9 billion and had approximately 9,300 employees worldwide.38
  • Even Johns-Manville remains an active company. Owned by Berkshire Hathaway, it is a "leading manufacturer and marketer of . . . products for building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing, and roof insulation, as well as fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial and residential applications." It has annual sales of approximately $2.5 billion, "employs approximately 7,000 people and operates 45 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China."39

To read this article in full, please click here.

Previously published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Asbestos, February 20, 2013

Footnotes

1. Am. Ass'n for Justice, ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America 3 (May 2010), http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xbcr/justice/ALEC_Report.pdf.

2. Letter from Marcus S. Owens, Clergy VOICE, to Douglas Shulman, Comm'r. of the IRS, Regarding Violations of the Internal Revenue Laws by the Am. Legis. Exch. Council (EIN: 52-0140979), (June 18, 2012), http://www.scribd.com/doc/98828514/ALEC-IRS-Complaint; Submission to the Internal Revenue Service Under the Tax Whistleblower Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7623(b) Regarding Underreporting of Lobbying and Operation in Furtherance of Private Corporate Interests in Contravention of 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Charitable Status, Common Cause (Apr. 20, 2012), http://www.commoncause.org/atf/cf/%7Bfb3c17e2-cdd1-4df6-92be-bd4429893665%7D/ALEC_FINAL_SUBMISSION_IRS_WHISTLEBLOWER.PDF.

3. U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-11- 819, Asbestos Injury Compensation: The Role and Administration of Asbestos Trusts 6 (September 23, 2011) ("GAO Report").

4. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Asbestos Fact Sheet 1 (2001).

5. EPA, Learn About Asbestos, http://www.epa.gov/asbestos (last visited Jan. 8, 2013).

6. National Cancer Institute, NIH, Malignant Mesothelioma, http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/malignantmesothelioma (last visited Jan. 11, 2013).

7. See Antti Tossavainen et al., Consensus Report: Asbestos, asbestosis, and cancer: the Helsinki criteria for diagnosis and attribution, 23 Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment & Health 313 (1997) ("All 4 major histological types [of lung cancer] (squamous, adeno-, large-cell and small-cell carcinoma) can be related to asbestos."); World Health Organization, Elimination of Asbestos-Related Diseases 1-2 (2006) ("All types of asbestos cause cancer in humans . . .. No threshold has been identified for the carcinogenic risk of chrysotile."). See also American Thoracic Society, Diagnosis and Initial Management of Nonmalignant Disease Related to Asbestos, 170 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 692, 697 (2004).

8. See William J. Nicholson et al., Occupational Exposure to Asbestos: Population at Risk and Projected Mortality— 1980-2030, 3 American Journal of Industrial Medicine 259, 259 (1982); see also American Thoracic Society, The Diagnosis of Nonmalignant Diseases Related to Asbestos, 134 American Review of Respiratory Disease 363, 363 (1986).

9. See In re Joint E. & S. Dist. Asbestos Litig., 129 B.R. 710, 737-38 (E.&S.D.N.Y. 1991), vacated, 982F.2d 721 (2d Cir. 1992), modified, 993 F.2d 7 (2d Cir. 1993) ("Manville I").

10. See Enpro Industries Inc. Form 10-K (Mar. 3, 2009) at 84.

11. Muriel L. Newhouse & Hilda Thompson, Mesothelioma of Pleura and Peritoneum Following Exposure to Asbestos in the London Area, 22 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 261, 265 (1965) (latency period can be as long as 55 years); C. Bianchi et al., Latency Periods In Asbestos-Related Mesothelioma of the Pleura, 6 European Journal of Cancer Prevention 162, 162 (1997) (the latency period in one case was 72 years).

12. Manville I, 129 B.R. at 737.

13. Barry I. Castleman, Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects 5-6 (Aspen Pub. 5th ed. 2005). See also Manville I, 129 B.R. at 737 (internal citation omitted).

14. Manville I, 129 B.R. at 737-38 (internal citation omitted). See also id. at 739 (noting that reports of mesothelioma among asbestos workers had emerged in journals of industrial medicine and hygiene in the late-1940's).

15. Id. at 743 (citing Paul Brodeur, Outrageous Misconduct: The Asbestos Industry on Trial (1985) ("Brodeur").

16. Id. at 745-46.

17. Id. at 749.

18. Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Prods. Corp, 493 F.2d 1076 (5th Cir. 1973).

19. See id. at 1089.

20. See id. at 1095.

21. See, e.g., Rutherford v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 941 P.2d 1203, 1214 (Cal. 1997) (plaintiff may meet the burden of proving exposure to defendant's product caused lung cancer by showing that in reasonable medical probability it was a substantial factor contributing to the plaintiff's or decedent's risk of developing cancer); Jones v. John Crane, Inc., 350 Cal. Rptr. 3d 144, 151 (Ct. App. 2005) ("The testimony of the experts provided substantial evidence that Jones's lung cancer was caused by cumulative exposure, with each of many separate exposures having constituted substantial factors contributing to his risk of injury."); John Crane, Inc. v. Linkus, 988 A.2d 511, 531 (Md.Ct. Spec. App. 2010) ("We conclude that lay testimony describing the amount of dust created by handling the products in question, coupled with expert testimony describing the dose response relationship and the lack of a safe threshold of exposure (above ambient air levels), was sufficient to create a jury question [as to whether the plaintiff's mesothelioma was caused by defendant's asbestos-containing products]."); John Crane, Inc. v. Wommack, 489 S.E.2d 527, 532 (Ga. Ct. App. 1997) ("Expert testimony showed that it is universally agreed that asbestos fibers are intrinsically dangerous and that the respiration of each fiber is cumulatively harmful . . . ."); Blancha v. Keene Corp., Civ. A. No. 87-6443, 1991WL 224573, at *6 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 24, 1991) (every occupational exposure to asbestos "is a substantial factor in bringing about mesothelioma"); Held v. Avondale Indus., Inc., 672 So. 2d 1106, 1109 (La. Ct. App. 1996) (medical evidence showed "no known level of asbestos [exposure] which would be considered safe . . . any [asbestos] exposure, even slight exposures, to asbestos . . . [found to be] a significant contributing cause of the [decedent's] malignant pleural mesothelioma"); Mavroudis v. Pittsburgh- Corning Corp., 935 P.2d 684 (Wash. Ct. App. 1997) (any exposure to asbestos above background contributes to development of mesothelioma); Kurak v. A.P. Green Refractories Co., 689 A.2d 757, 766 (N.J. Super. Ct. App.Div. 1997) ("Where there is competent evidence that one or a de minimis number of asbestos fibers can cause injury, a jurymay conclude the fibers were a substantial factor in causing a plaintiff's injury."); ACandS, Inc. v. Abate, 710 A.2d 944, 989 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1998), abrogated by, John Crane, Inc. v. Scribner, 800 A.2d 727 (Md. 2002) (expert medical witness testified that "each and every [asbestos] exposure that [the decedent] had was a substantial contributing factor in the causation of his disease"); Caruolo v. ACandS, Inc., No. 93 Civ. 3752 9RWS, 1999 WL 147740, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 18, 1999) aff'd in part, vacated in part, 226 F.3d 46 (2d Cir. 2000) (expert medical witness testimony that "[T]here is no way one can say [each asbestos exposure] didn't contribute. To the contrary. All of his exposures contributed to his mesothelioma, including this one.").

22. Brodeur at 73.

23. Jennifer L. Biggs et al., American Academy of Actuaries, Overview of Asbestos Claims Issues and Trends, Mass Tort Subcommittee at 3 (Aug. 2007) available at http://www.actuary.org/pdf/casualty/asbestos_aug07.pdf.

24. Stephen J. Carroll et al., RAND Institute for Civil Justice, Asbestos Litigation 46 (2005) ("RAND Asbestos Litigation Study").

25. See In re Johns-Manville Corp., 68 B.R. 618, 620 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 1986), aff'd, 78 B.R. 407 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), aff'd, 843 F.2d 636 (2d Cir. 1988).

26. See id. at 624.

27. See id.

28. See, e.g., In re Combustion Eng'g, Inc., 391 F.3d 190, 235 n.47 (3d. Cir. 2004). See also H.R. Rep. No. 103- 835 at 3 (1994) (explaining that Section 524(g) is intended to emulate the "creative solution to help protect the future asbestos claimants, in the form of a trust into which would be placed stock of the emerging debtor company and a portion of future profits, along with contributions from [the debtor's] insurers" devised in the Manville case). Section 524(h), which was enacted at the same time, makes clear that the channeling injunction in Manville is deemed retroactively to comply with Section 524(g), and thus is valid.

29. Bankruptcy Amendments Act of 1993, Amendment No. 1633, 140th Cong. (2d Sess. 1994) (amending 11 U.S.C. § 524).

30. See 11 U.S.C. § 524(g)(4)(B)(i).

31. See id.

32. GAO Report at 3.

33. See 11 U.S.C. § 362(a)(1); 2William L. Norton, Jr. & William L. Norton, III, Norton Bankruptcy Law & Practice § 43:5 (3d ed 2012); 5 William L. Norton, Jr. & William L. Norton, III, Norton Bankruptcy Law & Practice § 91:1 (3d ed. 2012).

34. See 11 U.S.C. § 524(g)(2)(B)(i).

35. See Investor Relations Home, OwensCorning.com, http://investor.owenscorning.com (last visited Jan. 4, 2013).

36. See Corporate Profile, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=236851&p=irol-IRHome (last visited Jan. 4, 2013); Babcock & Wilcox Company Form 10-K at 38, filed Feb. 29, 2012.

37. See Corporate Profile, Halliburton.com, http://www.halliburton.com/AboutUs/default.aspx?navid=966&pageid=2458 (last visited Jan. 4, 2012).

38. See Overview, Corporate Profile, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=98651&p=irol-IRHome (last visited Jan. 4, 2012).

39. See About Us, JM.com, http://www.jm.com/corporate/263.htm (last visited Jan. 4, 2012).

This article is designed to give general information on the developments covered, not to serve as legal advice related to specific situations or as a legal opinion. Counsel should be consulted for legal advice.

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A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.