Company Seeks Minnesota Law Change on Asbestos Claims

February 16, 2012

A company with three manufacturing plants in southern Minnesota wants a change in state law in order to shield itself from future asbestos claims.

Crown Holdings Inc. says its 1963 merger with a rival company left it with assets as well as liabilities of its acquisition, even though Crown never directly manufactured asbestos. Attorney Mark Behrens says Crown had no idea its $7 million deal would eventually result in $700 million in litigation costs as a result of asbestos claims. The Philadelphia can manufacturer has successfully argued for the law change in 15 states, including Wisconsin.

Opponents say a change in state law would allow the company to skirt its legal obligations. The Star Tribune says the state Senate could vote on the matter as early as Thursday.

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