Second Circuit Lacks Jurisdiction to Review District Judge’s Enforcement of a Bankruptcy Settlement Against Pennsylvania Toxic Tort Plaintiffs
In a unanimous decision of a three judge panel last week, the Second Circuit decided that it lacked jurisdiction to overturn a S.D.N.Y. judge’s order enforcing the terms of the Tronox bankruptcy settlement against a group of more than 4,000 Pennsylvania state court plaintiffs. Tronox, Inc. v. Kerr-McGee Corp., No. 16-343, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6949 (2d Cir. Apr. 20, 2017). Both the district court’s decision and the Second Circuit’s decision protected Kerr-McGee, bankrupt Tronox’s corporate parent, from a Pennsylvania toxic tort suit related to contamination surrounding a wood treatment plant in Avoca, Pennsylvania.
We covered the district court’s original decision in early 2016, as it compelled the group of Pennsylvania plaintiffs to withdraw their Pennsylvania state court suit against Kerr-McGee even though Kerr-McGee was not a party to the bankruptcy settlement. Notably, the Pennsylvania plaintiffs never amended their Complaint to allege claims directly against the corporate parent, and it was unlikely that any amendment could tie the new parent entity back to the days of the operation of the plant.