Travelers ordered to pay over $500 mln in asbestos case

NEW YORK, July 22 Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:00am EDT

NEW YORK, July 22 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday said Travelers Cos should pay more than $500 million to satisfy asbestos-related claims stemming from its coverage of policyholder Johns-Manville Corp, reversing a lower court ruling.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said U.S. District Judge John Koeltl erred in February 2012 when he concluded that the relevant conditions requiring payment had not been satisfied.

Koeltl's ruling reversed an earlier judgment by a federal bankruptcy judge that directed Travelers to make the payment. The 2nd Circuit ordered the reinstatement of that judgment.

Now owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc , Johns-Manville had from the 1920s to 1970s been the largest U.S. maker of products containing asbestos. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 1982 under the weight of asbestos-related litigation, and emerged from Chapter 11 in 1988. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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