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CCR SETTLES IN MASSIVE BALTIMORE ASBESTOS TRIAL

 ? CCR SETTLES IN MASSIVE BALTIMORE ASBESTOS TRIAL
 BALTIMORE, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Center for Claims


Resolution (CCR) has settled, on behalf of 19 of its 20 member companies, the claims pending in a consolidated trial of nearly 9,000 asbestos personal injury claims in Baltimore City Court. For those 19 members, the settlement ends the CCR's involvement in the mass trial -- the largest consolidated asbestos trial in U.S. history.
 "The use of consolidations to clear huge numbers of claims with one trial is not the solution to the asbestos backlog. Consolidations have perverted the intent of our civil justice system, robbing plaintiffs and defendants alike of the right to have their individual cases heard," CCR Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Fitzpatrick said in announcing the settlement. "These factory-style proceedings distort the allocation of resources -- over-rewarding some at the expense of others."
 According to Fitzpatrick, the center decided to settle the claims in the Baltimore consolidation because it felt it was in the best interest of center members. The conditions of the CCR settlement as well as settlement amounts are confidential.
 "The sheer magnitude of the Baltimore consolidation, coupled with the intricacy of the claims involved, has presented us with an extremely unusual situation from day one, requiring our flexibility," he said. "That is why we have departed from our general practice of settling collectively for all CCR companies." Fitzpatrick emphasized that the partial settlement does not signal a change in CCR policy.
 The Princeton, N.J.-based Center for Claims Resolution represents 20 companies in asbestos personal injury lawsuits. It was formed in 1988 to provide companies an innovative, efficient alternative to traditional tort defense.
 In less than four years, the center has resolved more than 66,000 claims against its member companies to the satisfaction of defendants and plaintiffs alike -- far exceeding what the courts have been able to accomplish in a significantly longer period of time.
 CCR functions as the collective administrative, litigation and negotiation arm on behalf of its member companies in all asbestos- related bodily-injury legal matters. Despite its success, however, CCR members believe the real solution to the asbestos litigation problem lies in removing unimpaired claimants from the active docket and eliminating contingency fees and punitive damage awards that encourage the filing of non-meritorious lawsuits.
 There are nearly 100,000 asbestos injury claims pending in federal and state courts nationwide. However, the vast majority of these claims reflect currently unimpaired persons or those who never may have been exposed to asbestos at all. Many claims are the result of mass screenings by plaintiffs' attorneys in an attempt to expand their client base.
 Center for Claims Resolution members include: A.P. Green Industries, Inc.; Armstrong World Industries, Inc.; C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc.; Certainteed Corporation; Dana Corporation; Ferodo America Inc.; Flexitallic Gasket Company, Inc.; GAF Corporation; I.U. North America, Inc. (NEOAX, Inc.); Maremont Corporation; National Gypsum Company(A); NOSROC, Inc. (EnviroSource, Inc.); Pfizer Inc.; Quigley Company, Inc.; T&N plc; United States Gypsum; and four confidential members.
 (A) National Gypsum Company is currently in bankruptcy, but, through bankruptcy court approval, the CCR handles claims on the company's behalf.
 -0- 7/8/92
 /CONTACT: Larry Fitzpatrick, 609-520-6800, or Susan Garman, 202-833-4476, both for the Center for Claims Resolution/ CO: Center for Claims Resolution ST: Maryland IN: SU:


MH -- DC004 -- 7292 07/08/92 09:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 8, 1992
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