HISTORY OF THE API, INC. ASBESTOS SETTLEMENT TRUST
The API, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust is a court-ordered entity resulting from the confirmation of the Third Amended Plan of Reorganization of API, Inc. (The Plan), dated December 6, 2005, by Chief Judge Gregory Kishel of the United States Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On January 6, 2005, API, Inc. (API) filed a voluntary Petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Prior to that time, API, a company located at Roseville, Minnesota, was engaged in the business of the sale, distribution, and installation of insulation construction material. From its inception through August 1, 1973, API sold, distributed, and installed products containing asbestos. During that time period, API was a small contractor with maximum annual revenues of approximately $5 million, doing business regionally in Minnesota and North Dakota. It also had a few minor projects in South Dakota, western Wisconsin, and northern Michigan.
In 1982, API, like other companies in the industry that previously manufactured, sold, distributed, or installed asbestos-containing insulation products, began to be named as a defendant in personal injury lawsuits brought by individuals alleging asbestos-related diseases. Starting in the 1990’s, more and more of the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products became insolvent, or filed cases under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. This includes a number of major manufacturers who filed Chapter 11 cases in 2000 and 2001. Of special importance to API was the bankruptcy of its principal supplier, Owens Corning. As a result of these manufacturer bankruptcies, distributors and contractors such as API became the primary targets in asbestos litigation. These factors, together with issues concerning the availability of adequate insurance coverage from its liability insurers, caused API to file a bankruptcy Petition.
API had a need to reorganize and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy voluntarily to take advantage of provisions of the Bankruptcy Code specifically designed to assist in the reorganization of companies with asbestos-related liabilities. In its Order of Confirmation, the Court found that API, pursuant to the Plan, was availing itself of provisions enacted by Congress to expressly address the type of asbestos claims and circumstances faced by API. and that the Plan conformed to all relevant provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.
In its Confirmation Order, and pursuant to the provisions of the Plan, the Bankruptcy Court approved the creation of the API, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust (the Trust), The First Amended API Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust Agreement, and the API Trust Distribution Procedures (the TDP), to become effective upon the Effective Date of the Plan. The Effective Date occurred on February 5, 2007.
Pursuant to the confirmed Plan, the Trust bears sole and exclusive responsibility for compensating past, present, and future claimants with asbestos-related disease or injury alleged to be the result of exposure to asbestos from products, or operations, of API. API, its related companies, and certain of its insurers with whom API has settled (the Settling Insurers), as described in the Plan and Confirmation Order, have received the protections of an Injunction issued by the United States District Court, District of Minnesota. The Injunction prevents any further demands, claims, and suits arising from asbestos-related disease or injury. All such claims must be satisfied solely and exclusively by the Trust.
The Trust has been funded by Court-ordered financial contributions by API, and will be funded in the future by further financial contributions by API, and certain insurance proceeds, all as ordered by the Court in its Confirmation Order, other Court Orders, and the Plan.