Case Alert: Delaware Court protects claimant data sought by Bestwall
The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware recently affirmed that discovery of personal information about asbestos-trust claimants requires reasonable protections to safeguard the claimants’ privacy interests and prevent misuse of their sensitive data. In a memorandum opinion quashing subpoenas issued by a North Carolina bankruptcy court seeking the personal information of 15,000 claimants from nine asbestos trusts (“the Trusts”), the Delaware court followed Third Circuit and Delaware precedent in concluding that asbestos settlement trusts should not be treated as clearinghouses for claimant personal information, and that requests for such data must be subject to reasonable restrictions on scope, use, and disclosure. On June 1, 2021, the Delaware District Court denied Bestwall LLC’s motion to transfer the subpoena dispute back to North Carolina and granted the Trusts’ motion to quash the subpoenas. In re Bestwall LLC, Misc. No. 21-141 (CFC), 2021 WL 2209884 (D. Del. June 1, 2021). The motion to quash was granted without prejudice to Bestwall’s right to reissue the subpoenas with narrower parameters.