Using Bankruptcy to Manage Product Liability or to Change Labor Contracts

As noted above, in recent years a number of corporations have resorted to Chapter 11 to deal with their exposure to product liability claims or to seek changes in labor contracts. Is it ethical for a company like A. H. Robins Company that is faced with significant liability for birth-control devices it made and sold, or for a company like Johns-Manville that faces multimillion claims from individuals who were exposed to asbestos it made to seek the protection accorded by the bankruptcy laws? Similarly, is it ethical for a company that believes it is hampered by a labor contract under which it incurs higher costs than some of its competitors to try to use a Chapter 11 proceeding to get out of the labor contract?

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