Lawyers for the trustee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Pfizer, Inc., the world’s largest drug company, are calling for the dismissal of the company’s Quigley unit bankruptcy. The trustee attorneys claim that Pfizer has been content to allow the bankruptcy to languish and has failed to propose an adequate Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan even after four attempts.
While the bankruptcy has been pending, creditors with alleged asbestos-related health problems have been unable to sue New York-based Pfizer, and many have died, wrote lawyers for the U.S. Trustee, an arm of the Justice Department that oversees bankruptcy. A hearing to decide the U.S. Trustee’s request is set for Jan. 13, according to court papers filed Dec. 23.
“The harm in delaying the inevitable dismissal of this case is to the individuals who have filed asbestos claims against the Debtor and Pfizer,” lawyers for acting U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis wrote in court papers. “For some of those individuals, time may be of the essence.”
Most recently, Bankruptcy Judge Stuart M. Bernstein found that Pfizer manipulated the bankruptcy process to benefit itself and denied confirmation of their fourth proposed bankruptcy plan which would have given the asbestos claimants only $450 million and barred any future claims from going to court.
The claims stem from three products containing asbestos made by the Quigley company from the 1940s to the 1970s. Pfizer bought the company in 1968 and has been fighting these claims in bankruptcy since 2004. If the bankruptcy is dismissed, Pfizer could face litigation over the asbestos claims worth billions of dollars.