| April 6
April 6 An insurance unit of Warren Buffett's
conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc said it has sued
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co to avoid having to cover
asbestos-related injury claims that Goodyear said nothing about
for seven years.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co is seeking
unspecified damages in its federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday in
Akron, Ohio, where Goodyear is based.
Goodyear spokesman James Peate said the company does not
discuss pending litigation.
Berkshire said Goodyear claimed to have in 2008 exhausted a
policy from another insurer for the asbestos claims, but waited
until November 2015 to seek reimbursement from Berkshire for
"several millions of dollars" under an "excess" policy.
It also said Goodyear had never asked for help in defending
against the claims prior to November 2015.
About 62,000 claims are pending against Goodyear in states
including Florida, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas
over alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products as floor
tiles, furnace hoses, gaskets and heat shields, Berkshire said.
Many companies stopped using asbestos by the mid-1970s after
it was linked to cancer and other diseases. The effects of
exposure to the substance can take decades to surface.
Goodyear's excess policy, issued by Berkshire predecessor
Stonewall Insurance, covers the period from July 1, 1976 to July
1, 1977, Berkshire said.
Berkshire is seeking a court declaration that it need not
cover claims for Goodyear from 2008 to November 2015, and can
recoup some money it has since paid on Goodyear's behalf.
Lawyers for the Berkshire unit did not immediately respond
to requests for comment.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance is a commercial
property and casualty insurer created in 2013.
The unit is based in Omaha, Nebraska, like its parent, and
led by Peter Eastwood, who had run American International Group
Inc's property and casualty businesses in the Americas.
The case is Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co v.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, U.S. District Court, Northern
District of Ohio, No. 17-00714.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, editing by G