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BESTWALL LLC: Unsecureds Unimpaired in Asbestos Committee Plan

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The Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants and the Future Claimants’ Representative in Bestwall LLC’s cases have proposed an Amended Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization for the Debtor’s estate.

On August 19, 2019, the Asbestos PI Committee filed the Informational Brief of the Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants of Bestwall LLC. Among other things, the Asbestos PI Committee provided a fulsome description of the Debtor’s asbestos products and conduct in the asbestos tort system, along with an analysis of the toxicity of chrysotile fibers contained in joint compound, as well as other products produced by the Debtor, and a discussion of the Debtor’s talc products. The Asbestos PI Committee also explained how the Reorganization Case differed from the Garlock bankruptcy case and provided a discussion of the five plaintiffs selected by the Debtor and the evidence contained in its review of the files which refuted the Debtor’s view of these five cases.

Pursuant to a Bankruptcy Court Order dated February 23, 2018, Sander L. Esserman was appointed as the legal representative for persons who might subsequently assert asbestos-related Demands. The Future Claimants’ Representative retained (i) the law firm of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP as his primary bankruptcy counsel; (ii) Hull Chandler, P.A. as his North Carolina co-counsel; (iii) Ankura Consulting Group, LLC as his claims evaluation consultants; and (iv) FTI Consulting as financial advisor, sharing such services with the Asbestos PI Committee.

Class 3 General Unsecured Claims are unimpaired — recovery of 100%. Each holder of an Allowed Class 3 Claim shall receive Cash in an amount equal to such Allowed Claim plus Post-petition Interest thereon, if any, unless the holder of such Claim agrees to less favorable treatment. The Plan Proponents believe the amount of Class 3 Claims is negligible.

Class 4 Asbestos PI Claims are impaired. All Asbestos PI Claims shall be resolved pursuant to the terms of the Asbestos PI Trust Agreement and the Asbestos PI Trust Distribution Procedures and to the extent such claims meet the criteria set forth therein, paid pursuant to the Asbestos PI Trust Documents. All Settled Asbestos Claims shall be resolved pursuant to the terms of the Asbestos PI Trust Agreement and the Asbestos PI Trust Distribution Procedures and each holder of a Settled Asbestos Claim may opt to receive either (i) the liquidated value of such Settled Asbestos Claim as reflected in or (ii) treatment under the Expedited Review Process or the Individual Review Process.

Class 6 Equity Interests in the Debtor are impaired. All Equity Interests in the Debtor will become Equity Interests in Reorganized Bestwall, with the same equity ownership such Equity Interests held in the Debtor, subject to the Georgia-Pacific Default.

The Debtor’s obligations under the Plan will be funded by (i) the Debtor’s existing cash on hand, (ii) revenue and other value derived from the Debtor’s operating assets; (iii) any financing arrangements entered into prior to or subsequent to the Effective Date and (iv) the Funding Agreement.

A full-text copy of the Disclosure Statement dated July 22, 2020, is available at https://tinyurl.com/y4yqfxp9 from PacerMonitor.com at no charge.

Co-Counsel to the Official Committee of Asbestos Claimants:

Glenn C. Thompson
HAMILTON STEPHENS STEELE + MARTIN, PLLC
525 North Tryon Street, Suite 1400
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Telephone: (704) 344-1117
Facsimile: (704) 344-1483
E-mail: gthompson@lawhssm.com

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Judy D. Thompson
Linda W. Simpson
JD THOMPSON LAW
Post Office Box 33127
Charlotte, North Carolina 28233
Telephone: (828) 489-6578
E-mail: jdt@jdthompsonlaw.com
lws@jdthompsonlaw.com

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Natalie D. Ramsey
Davis Lee Wright
Laurie A. Krepto
ROBINSON & COLE LLP
1201 North Market Street, Suite 1406
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Telephone: (302) 516-1700
Facsimile: (302) 516-1699
E-mail: nramsey@rc.com
dwright@rc.com
lkrepto@rc.com

Co-Counsel for the Future Claimants’ Representative:

Edwin J. Harron
Sharon M. Zieg
YOUNG CONAWAY STARGATT &
TAYLOR LLP
1000 North King Street
P.O. Box 391
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Telephone: (302) 571-6600
E-mail: eharron@ycst.com
szieg@ycst.com

– and –

Felton E. Parrish
HULL & CHANDLER, P.A.
1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 450
Charlotte, North Carolina 28203
Telephone: (704) 375-8488
E-mail: fparrish@lawyercarolina.com

About Bestwall LLC

Bestwall LLC was created in an internal corporate restructuring and now holds asbestos liabilities. Bestwall’s asbestos liabilities relate primarily to joint systems products manufactured by Bestwall Gypsum Company, a company acquired by Georgia-Pacific in 1965. The former Bestwall Gypsum entity manufactured joint compounds containing small amounts of chrysotile asbestos; the manufacture of these asbestos-containing products ceased in 1977.

Bestwall’s non-debtor subsidiary, GP Industrial Plasters LLC (“PlasterCo”), develops, manufactures, sells and distributes gypsum plaster products, including gypsum floor underlayment, industrial plaster, metal casting plaster, industrial tooling plaster, dental plaster, medical plaster, arts and crafts plaster, pottery plaster and general purpose plaster.

Bestwall LLC sought Chapter 11 protection (Bankr. W.D.N.C. Case No. 17-31795) on Nov. 2, 2017, in an effort to equitably and permanently resolve all its current and future asbestos claims.

The Debtor estimated assets and debt of $500 million to $1 billion. It has no funded indebtedness.

The Hon. Laura T. Beyer is the case judge.

The Debtor tapped Jones Day as general bankruptcy counsel; Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A., as local counsel; Schachter Harris, LLP as special litigation counsel for medicine science issues; King & Spalding as special counsel for asbestos matters; and Bates White, LLC, as asbestos consultants. Donlin Recano LLC is the claims and noticing agent.

On Nov. 8, 2017, the U.S. bankruptcy administrator appointed an official committee of asbestos claimants in the Debtor’s case. The Committee retained Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP as its legal counsel, Hamilton Stephens Steele + Martin, PLLC and JD Thompson Law as local counsel, FTI Consulting, Inc., as financial advisor.

On Feb. 22, 2018, the court approved the appointment of Sander L. Esserman as the future claimants’ representative in its case. Mr. Esserman tapped Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP as his legal counsel.