PHILADELPHIA, June 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc. (NYSE: CCK) announced today that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has ruled favorably on Crown's motion for summary judgment dismissing 376 pending asbestos cases against Crown in Philadelphia based on recent changes to Pennsylvania corporate successor liability law.
"Crown is simply in the bottle cap and can business," said William Gallagher, General Counsel for Crown. "Yet, through the technical application of corporate merger successor liability law, thousands of asbestos claims have been filed against Crown because of Crown's brief connection nearly 40 years ago with Mundet Cork Company, a manufacturer of cork-lined bottle caps that had also owned a small insulation division. Crown's investment of $7 million in Mundet has already resulted in our making more than $350 million in asbestos-related payments." In 1963, Crown purchased the stock of Mundet Cork Company, and Mundet sold its insulation division within 93 days of this purchase. Thereafter, Mundet, consisting of its bottle cap business, was merged into Crown.
Gallagher continued: "Last fall, the Pennsylvania Legislature, with overwhelming bi-partisan support, took strong public policy action to restore some measure of fairness and equity by amending Pennsylvania's corporate merger successor liability law. The law caps a Pennsylvania successor company's merger-derived asbestos liability at the total value of the merged company's assets, adjusted for inflation. The Legislature fairly and intelligently addressed the burden that unlimited liability for asbestos claims imposes on the ability of blameless successor companies such as Crown to operate profitably, expand employment opportunities, meet debt obligations and maintain benefits for employees and retirees. We are pleased that Judge Tereshko, in his well-reasoned opinion, has upheld the validity under the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions of the recent changes to the Pennsylvania corporation law."
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Except for historical information, all other information in this press release consists of forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, the risks of any appeal of the court's decision. Other important factors are discussed under the captions "Critical Accounting Policies" and "Forward-Looking Statements" in Management's Discussion and Analysis in Crown's Form 10-K Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2001 and in subsequent filings. Crown does not intend to review or revise any particular forward-looking statement in light of future events.
Crown Cork & Seal is a leading supplier of packaging products to consumer marketing companies around the world. World headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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SOURCE Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc.
Web site: http: //www.crowncork.com
CONTACT: William Gallagher, General Counsel, +1-215-698-5383, or Michael Dunleavy, Vice President Corporate Affairs and Public Relations, +1-215-698-5051, both of Crown Cork & Seal; or Media: Pete Peterson of Bellevue Communications Group, +1-215-893-4297, for Crown Cork & Seal