This excerpt taken from the PKOH 10-Q filed Nov 9, 2006.
We are subject to various pending and threatened lawsuits in which claims for monetary damages are asserted in the ordinary course of business. While any litigation involves an element of uncertainty, in the opinion of management, liabilities, if any, arising from currently pending or threatened litigation is not expected to have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations.
At September 30, 2006, we were a co-defendant in approximately 370 cases asserting claims on behalf of approximately 9,900 plaintiffs alleging personal injury as a result of exposure to asbestos. These asbestos cases generally relate to production and sale of asbestos-containing products and allege various theories of liability, including negligence, gross negligence and strict liability and seek compensatory and, in some cases, punitive damages.
In every asbestos case in which we are named as a party, the complaints are filed against multiple named defendants. In substantially all of the asbestos cases, the plaintiffs either claim damages in excess of a specified amount, typically a minimum amount sufficient to establish jurisdiction of the court in which the case was filed (jurisdictional minimums generally range from $25,000 to $75,000), or do not specify the monetary damages sought. To the extent that any specific amount of damages is sought, the amount applies to claims against all named defendants.
There are only four asbestos cases, involving 21 plaintiffs, that plead specified damages. In each of the four cases, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages based on a variety of potentially alternative causes of action. In three cases, the plaintiff has alleged compensatory damages in the amount of $3.0 million for four separate causes of action and $1.0 million for another cause of action and punitive damages in the amount of $10.0 million. In the other case, the plaintiff has alleged compensatory damages in the amount of $20.0 million for three separate causes of action and $5.0 million for another cause of action and punitive damages in the amount of $20.0 million.
Historically, we have been dismissed from asbestos cases on the basis that the plaintiff incorrectly sued one of our subsidiaries or because the plaintiff failed to identify any asbestos-containing product manufactured or sold by us or our subsidiaries. We intend to vigorously defend these asbestos cases, and believe we will continue to be successful in being dismissed from such cases. However, it is not possible to predict the ultimate outcome of asbestos-related lawsuits, claims and proceedings due to the unpredictable nature of personal injury litigation. Despite this uncertainty, and although our results of operations and cash flows for a particular period could be adversely affected by asbestos-related lawsuits, claims and proceedings, management believes that the ultimate resolution of these matters will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations. Among the factors management considered in reaching this conclusion were: (a) our historical success in being dismissed from these types of lawsuits on the bases mentioned above; (b) many cases have been improperly filed against one of our subsidiaries; (c) in many cases, the plaintiffs have been unable to establish any causal relationship to us or our products or premises; (d) in many cases, the plaintiffs have been unable to demonstrate that they have suffered any identifiable injury or compensable loss at all, that any injuries that they have incurred did in fact result from alleged exposure to asbestos; and (e) the complaints assert claims against multiple defendants and, in most cases, the damages alleged are not attributed to individual defendants. Additionally, we do not believe that the amounts claimed in any of the asbestos cases are meaningful indicators of our potential exposure because the amounts claimed typically bear no relation to the extent of the plaintiffs injury, if any.
Our cost of defending these lawsuits has not been material to date and, based upon available information, our management does not expect its future costs for asbestos-related lawsuits to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity or financial position.