Elizabeth Warren’s Trust Issue

(More on Travelers – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

As pointed out, the Travelers connection appeared quite effective for Senator Brown.  Let’s look at the Travelers connection to Ms. Warren.

As general background, Johns Manville, manufacturer of many asbestos products, was being sued beginning in the 60s by employees for asbestos related deaths and injury.  

It’s primary insurer for product liability was Travelers.  Johns Manville went Chapter 11 in the 80s and as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the Manville Trust was formed that pays legal fees and settlement even today.

Enter Travelers, on the hook for product liability insurance payouts for asbestos injury.  

Travelers added $80 Million to the Manville trust then further agreed to pay $450 million for future claims.  In exchange, Travelers limited its total exposure to the $500-$600 million.  

The problem with that deal is that the Chubb Group envisioned that upon the exhaustion of Travelers $500 million, or even before, plaintiffs would next turn to Chubb and Chubb would be unable to seek contribution or indemnity from Travelers because of Travelers $500 Million cap.

Then the real fun began. Decisions from the courts concluded that first, Travelers was indeed off the hook because the Bankruptcy court said so and second, that Chubb was indeed able to pursue suits against Travelers.  

Big loss for Travelers, right?  Wrong.

The court said that Travelers bargained for closure at the cost of $500 million and since it didn’t in fact receive closure, Travelers didn’t have to pay the $500 million.  BTW, Chubb, to this day has not proceeded against Travelers for anything.

But on the bright side for the asbestos victims.  Wait, there is no bright side.  Travelers 1, Asbestos victims 0.

Enter Elizabeth Warren. She worked for Travelers.  Elizabeth Warren on her escapades:

“The issue I was focused on like a laser was the constitutionality of preserving the trust, because the trust is a critical tool for making sure that people who’ve been hurt have a fair shot at compensation,” she said. “Without it, millions of people who’ve already been injured will get nothing, and millions more in the future will get nothing.”

Get that?  Warren claims that Travelers hired her to help Travelers to pay more money to victims.

Travelers:  Hi Elizabeth, we need some help here.  We can’t figure out a way to pay more money.  Can you help us?

EW:  Sure, here’s a start.  Pay me a quarter of a million.

Travelers:  Genius, off to a great start.  Do more!

EW:  Ok, sure.  Someday, I’ll run for Senate, then I’ll really soak you.

So, what about those trusts?

Well, first, who really knows.  The secrecy of the spending from those trust is reknown.

Here are my criticisms of the Trust Funds.  Oh, who am I kidding, no one cares about my criticisms.  Let’s look at then Senator Edward Kennedy’s criticisms:

At the beginning of this markup several weeks ago, I identified ten areas in which this legislation was seriously deficient – both unfair and unworkable. Unfortunately, none of those problems have been corrected. Amendments have been offered to address many of the deficiencies. Unfortunately, they have been rejected. As a result, what we have before us today is an Asbestos Trust Fund that excludes many seriously ill victims from receiving compensation and that fails to provide a guarantee of adequate funding to make sure the victims who are eligible will actually receive what the bill promises them.

In summary, worst case, she was complicit to join with Travelers to deprive claimants of $500 million. Best case, she was naively motivated to preserve the sanctity of asbestos trusts for the same victims, the same broken trusts that Kennedy et al were seeking to reform.

My question for Professor Warren is this:  does she support Senator Quayle’s FACT act to reform the asbestos trusts which even the late Senator Kennedy pointed out were broken.  And as an aside, does she regret the work she did for Travelers that resulted in a deal to deprive thousands of victims from compensation.  A rigged system indeed.

About gary