Pfizer Loses Top Court Bid for Shield From Asbestos Suits

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to shield Pfizer Inc. (PFE) from some asbestos lawsuits connected to its Quigley Co. subsidiary, a bankrupt unit that stopped most operations in 1992.

The justices today rejected Pfizer’s appeal of a ruling that opened the New York-based drugmaker to some claims related to Quigley, which made asbestos-containing products for the steel industry from the 1940s to the 1970s. Pfizer acquired Quigley in 1968. Asbestos, once widely used an insulator, was later shown to cause cancer.

Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, contended that Quigley’s bankruptcy proceedings insulated the parent company from suits filed under Pennsylvania state law by the Baltimore law firm of Peter Angelos.

The firm began suing Pfizer in Pennsylvania state courts in 1999, saying the company was legally responsible for some claims because its logo appeared on Quigley products.

Pfizer says it played no role in making or selling the Quigley products. A federal appeals court in New York said the claims against Pfizer could go forward.

The Obama administration urged the high court to reject Pfizer’s appeal.

The bankruptcy case is In re Quigley Co., 04-15739, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The Supreme Court case is Pfizer v. Law Offices of Peter Angelos, 12-300.

Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. says it played no role in making or selling the Quigley Co. products. Close

Pfizer Inc. says it played no role in making or selling the Quigley Co. products.

Close
Open
Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. says it played no role in making or selling the Quigley Co. products.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.