DOW CORNING SETTLEMENT PLAN
Updated July 23, 2016
I have created this page on my website to provide my clients with ongoing status updates about the progress of the distribution of the settlement proceeds they are entitled to, and also as a means of potentially bringing together other interested parties to encourage timely resolution of the outstanding issues concerning Premium Payments and the distribution of other settlement proceeds.
In the Spring of 2014, the Settlement Facility – Dow Corning Trust began distributing partial Premium Payments to eligible Dow Coming claimants. With the support of the Finance Committee, the Claimant Advisory Committee, and the Settlement Facility, the District Court approved the issuance of the partial Premium Payments. Dow Coming appealed. The payments continued while the appeal was pending.
On January 27, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the District Court, issued an order stopping continued issuance of Premium Payments and sent the matter back to the District Court with instructions. The Sixth Circuit’s opinion indicated that the District Court should reconsider the issue consistent with its instructions. The District Court’s docket does not indicate that any party – including the Finance Committee, the Claimant Advisory Committee, or the Settlement Facility – has taken any action to bring the matter back before the District Court since that time. As of July 14, 2016, the last update to the Claimant Advisory Committee’s website occurred on December 5, 2015.
I am concerned about the possibility that the Claimant Advisory Committee may choose to simply wait until the passing of the June 3, 2019 deadline before pursuing issuance of Premium Payments again. My understanding is that the Claimant Advisory Committee is worried about the Finance Committee’s support for resuming Premium Payments, the District Court’s timeframe to rule on any motion brought before it, the likelihood of an appeal by Dow, and related matters. However, these same potential pitfalls will continue after the passing of the deadline. The June 3, 2019 deadline cuts off the filing of new claims. Claims filed prior to the deadline will likely still be under review and pending for some time after the deadline. The District Court will continue to supervise the process and be called upon to decide issues, make decisions and issue orders.
The question then is whether there is a benefit to the claimants to wait or a risk to the claimants to actively and aggressively pursue the issuance of Premium Payments at this time. I do not see the benefit in waiting, and believe that the Premium Payments issues at the very least should be resolved as soon as possible.
As noted above, I am concerned that the Claimant Advisory Committee will allow nearly three more years to pass before pushing to resolve the issue with the Premium Payments, and am looking into options to prod the Committee into action. I will continue to update this page to share the Committee’s progress. If anyone else shares my concerns or has additional information that may be helpful to consider, please do not hesitate to contact me.