What documents govern the Trust?
• Western Asbestos Settlement Trust Agreement
• Case Valuation Matrix
• Trust Distribution Procedures
• ADR Procedures
• Western Asbestos Settlement Trust By-Laws
All amendments and addendums are posted on the Web site www.wastrust.com.
Where on the Web site can I find the documents?
Documents are located on the home page of the Trust’s Web site: www.wastrust.com. Click on “Trust Documents”.
Who are the Trust Representatives?
• Mr. Jack Luikart, Managing Trustee
• Ms. Sandra Hernandez, M.D. Trust Advisory Committee (TAC)
• Mr. Alan R. Brayton, Chair
• Mr. David McClain
• Mr. Michael Strom
• Mr. Jack Clapper
• Mr. Steven B. Sacks, TAC Counsel Futures Representative
• The Honorable David F. Levi
• Mr. Sander L. Esserman, Counsel to the Futures Representative.
How are the Trust Representatives selected?
• The Trustees were appointed by order of the Bankruptcy Court on February 2, 2004. If there is a vacancy, section 4.3 of the Trust Agreement provides the rules for replacement.
• The original Futures Representative was appointed by the Bankruptcy Court in November of 2002. In April 2018, the successor Futures Representative was approved by the Bankruptcy Court. If there is a vacancy, section 5.3 of the Trust Agreement provides the rules for replacement.
• The members of the TAC were appointed by the Bankruptcy Court in November of 2002. If there is a vacancy, section 6.3 of the Trust Agreement provides the rules for replacement.
How is the compensation for the Trust Representatives determined?
The compensation is set forth in the Trust Agreement (Sections 4.5 for the Trustees, 5.5 for the Futures Representative, and 6.5 for the TAC). The amount of compensation is disclosed in the Annual Report each year and subsequently approved by the Bankruptcy Court.
What are the names of the Debtor companies?
• Western Asbestos Company
• Western Mac Arthur Co.
• Mac Arthur Co.
What is the estimated life of the Trust and when will it likely dissolve?
Article 7 (section 7.2) of the Trust Agreement discusses when the Trust may be terminated. Essentially, when all claims filed have been paid or disallowed and all appeals exhausted, and there are no more claims likely to be filed and 12 consecutive months have elapsed where no new claims have been filed, the Trustees may, in their discretion, terminate the Trust. It is unknown exactly when that will happen, but the initial projections utilized when the Trust was established were based on an anticipated Trust life of 40 years. Thus, while it is impossible to determine exactly when the Trust will cease to operate, it will be some time in the distant future.
How often is the Payment Percentage reviewed?
No less than once every three years, or if the Trustees deem reconsideration appropriate, or upon request by the Futures Representative or TAC (Section 4.2 of the TDP). To date, the Payment Percentage has been reviewed more frequently than every three years.
When will the next payment be made and how will final payments be handled?
The Trust continually (at least every three years, as stated above) reviews the Payment Percentage. This review involves looking at the forecasts of estimated future claims to actual claims filed and paid, as well as the Trust’s investments and expenses. At this time, the Trust believes that there will not be sufficient funds to pay 100% of the claim amounts.
Why does the Trust continue to incur legal fees?
As stated in the answer above, the Trust continues to pursue further funding for claimants through litigation, and also must pay to defend actions against both the Trust and the claimants of the Trust. The Trust is also required to pay the legal fees of the lawyers for the Trustees, Futures Representative, TAC and for the ongoing legal operations of the Trust. These legal fees are necessary to protect the interests of all claimants and beneficiaries, the Trust and the Trust Representatives. All vendors who are paid more than $100,000 in a calendar year are listed in the Annual Report as a significant vendor.
Is there a maximum amount of fees that a claimant’s attorney may receive?
The maximum attorney’s fee allowed is 25% of the net recovery. This means that costs are deducted prior to the calculation of the attorney’s fee (Section 8.4 of the TDP).
Is there a maximum amount that a claimant’s attorney may charge for costs?
The Trust Documents do not set forth a maximum for costs. However, the costs must be deducted from the gross amount paid before computation of fees (Section 8.4 of the TDP).
What is a Matrix Claim?
A Matrix Claim is a claim the meets all the requirements set forth in the Case Valuation Matrix.
What is an Individual Review Claim?
An Individual Review Claim is a claim that does not meet the medical or exposure criteria, but would be cognizable and valid in the tort system (Section VIII of the Matrix). These claims are evaluated by the Trust.
What is an Extraordinary Claim?
An Extraordinary Claim is a claim where Western exposure constituted over 80% of the injured person’s asbestos exposure or where the claimant has exceptionally large special damages (Section IX of the Matrix). Special damages may include medical and funeral expenses, wage and pension loss, loss of home services, and other economic losses.
Does the Trust require a filing fee?
Yes, there is a $250 filing fee for each claim submitted to the Trust (Section 6.4 of the TDP).
Is the filing fee refundable?
The filing fee is refunded if the claim is allowed and paid (Section 6.4 of the TDP).
What are the requirements for submitting a claim?
The requirements are listed on the Web site. First click on “Claim Packet” and then click on “Claim Filing Instructions”. In general, the Trust requires a claim form, supporting documents, and a filing fee to be submitted to the Trust. The supporting documents should include but are not limited to; signed signature page (Section 16 of the claim form), interrogatories, medical records, death certificate, if applicable; economic and/or medical loss report, if applicable; litigation documents. The Trust may require additional documents to support the claim, such as, deposition testimony, social security records, military records and additional documents supporting claimed medical and/or economic loss.
Are claims processed in any particular order?
Yes, claims are processed on a first-in-first-out (FIFO) basis (Section 5.3(a)(1) of the TDP), except Hardship Claims (Section 5.5 of the TDP).
How long does it take to process a claim?
The time to process a claim varies greatly with the information provided when the claim is filed. Claims with inadequate information are deemed deficient and sent back to the firm or claimant with the deficiencies noted in a letter. Claims with no deficiencies generally receive an offer letter within six to eight weeks.
Do offers issued by the Trust expire?
Yes, offers are valid for six months from the date of the offer letter. The offer may be extended an additional six months for good cause.
Can claims be placed on hold and, if so, how long?
Yes, claims can be placed on hold for six months and then, upon showing of good cause, the Trust may extend the time for an additional six months.
How often does the Trust disburse funds to pay new claims?
The Trust usually sends out payments on approved new claims every six to eight weeks.
Does the Trust allow claims by persons who were exposed through another occupationally exposed person?
Yes, the Trust does allow for secondary (derivative) exposure (Section VII(a) 2 of the Matrix).
How are the claim values calculated?
The Trust increases or decreases the base case value (listed on page 1 of the Matrix) based on the specific factors (multipliers) set forth in the Matrix under each disease category.
How and when can you withdraw a claim?
A claim can be withdrawn any time prior to payment. The request must be in writing to the Trust and the filing fee will be retained by the Trust, except if a site has been removed from the site list after the claim was filed. If the claim is resubmitted, a new filing fee must be paid.
What is the forum to resolve disputes on claims?
The Trust has adopted arbitration procedures to resolve disputes regarding the Trust’s outright rejection or denial of a claim, or concerning the claimant’s medical condition or exposure (Section 5.9(a) of the TDP). The claimant can never receive an award worth more than the amount set forth in the Matrix Section 5.9(c) of the TDP.
Whom do I call when I have a question about my claim?
If you are represented by counsel, you need to call your attorney. If you are not represented by counsel then you should call the main Trust number, (775) 324-5511. If you have a question about the functioning of the Trust, your attorney (unless you represent yourself) should first contact the TAC through its chairman, Alan Brayton, (415) 898-1555. As the claimants’ representative, he will then work with the Trust to determine the answer to your question.