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Company seeks law change on asbestos claims

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A company with three manufacturing plants in southern Minnesota wants a change in state law in order to shield itself from future asbestos claims.

According to Crown Holdings Inc., its 1963 merger with a rival company left it with assets as well as liabilities of its acquisition, even though Crown never directly manufactured asbestos. Attorney Mark Behrens said Crown had no idea its $7 million deal would eventually result in $700 million in litigation costs as a result of asbestos claims. The Philadelphia can manufacturer has successfully argued for the law change in 15 states, including Wisconsin.

Opponents say a change in state law would allow the company to skirt its legal obligations. The Star Tribune says the state Senate could vote on the matter as early as Thursday.

Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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