Asbestos and mesothelioma trust funds were created during the 1970s, after an abundance of mesothelioma and asbestos-illness cases started to surface across the nation. Officials began looking for ways to impede the process of so many lawsuits. As a result, the concept of trust funds was created. Asbestos trusts ensure that all qualified victims of asbestos-related injuries are compensated without the hassle of going to trial and filling up the courts with an excessive amount of time and lawsuits.
If you or a loved have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
History of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Trusts
In 1971, the Johns-Manville Sales Corporation was sued for product liability by the widow of Louisiana man who developed cancer from one of the company’s products. Federal court upheld the lawsuit, and the plaintiff won. Shortly after, courts across the nation were flooded with asbestos-related lawsuits.
Subsequently, many of the companies and manufacturers that were sued began to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. However, as a condition for filing, these companies were required to set up trusts that would compensate victims of asbestos-related illnesses. In the 1980s, John-Mansville set up the first trust, followed by several other companies.
Mesothelioma Trust Funds Today
There are currently a plethora of businesses that have an asbestos trust set up. As previously mentioned, an estimated $30 billion has already been set aside for victims, and as more people continue to develop mesothelioma, the amount is expected to grow.
If you’ve developed an illness due to exposure of asbestos, now is the time to reach out and find out what compensation you may be entitled to. Keep in mind that there is a good chance that if you’ve developed an asbestos-related illness, whether mesothelioma or any other asbestos disease, you’ll qualify for substantial compensation.
Companies that currently have an asbestos trust include:
- ABB Lummus Global
- A&I Corporation
- API Inc.
- A.P. Green Industries
- Armstrong Cork Company
- Armstrong World Industries
- ARTRA (Synkoloid)
- ASARCO LLC
- Babcock & Wilcox Corporation
- Brauer Supply Company
- Burns and Roe Enterprises
- C.E. Thurston & Sons
- Celotex Corporation
- Combustion Engineering
- Congoleum Corporation
- Dana Corporation
- DII Industries
- EaglePicher Industries Inc.
- Federal-Mogul Corporation
- The Flintkote Company
- Forty-Eight Insulations Inc.
- Fuller-Austin Inc.
- G-1 Holdings Inc.
- General Aniline and Film (GAF) Corporation
- General Motors (GM)
- H.K. Porter Company
- Hercules Chemical Company
- J.T. Thorpe and Son, Inc.
- Kaiser Aluminum
- Keene Creditors
- Lykes Bros. Steamship
- Mid Valley Inc.
- National Gypsum Company
- North American Refractories Company (NARCO)
- Owens Corning
- Pittsburgh Corning
- Porter-Hayden Company
- Quigley Fire Company
- Rutland Fire Clay Company
- Shook & Fletcher Insulation Company
- Swan and Silica
- Skinner Engine
- T H Agriculture and Nutrition
- Thorpe Insulation
- Utex Industries
- United States Lines
- W.R. Grace & Co.
- Wallace & Gale
- Western MacArthur
Companies with the largest trust payment ratio include:
Owens Corning Fibreboard
With a high demand for fiberglass after World War II, the Owens Corning Corporation became the leader in residential fiberglass and insulation across the United States. However, from its inception in the 1930s and throughout the 1980s, Owens Corning used asbestos in its products. In 1997, the company bought the Fibreboard Corporation, a manufacturing business that also once relied heavily on asbestos use in its products.
Shortly after obtaining the Fibreboard Corporation, Owens Corning set up a trust in anticipation of asbestos lawsuits against both companies. Several years later, in 2006, they created another trust after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, stemming from over 200,000 asbestos lawsuits.
Known as the Owens Corning Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust of 2006, close to $7 billion was placed into the fund. More than $360 million had been paid out to asbestos victims by 2008, although lawsuits against the company began several decades earlier.
The first asbestos lawsuit against Owens Corning took place in 1978, when two shipyard workers filed a class action lawsuit, on behalf of themselves and an additional 5,000 workers, all of whom which were affected by asbestos exposure while at work. Along with Owens Corning, 14 asbestos manufacturers were named in the lawsuit for not providing warnings about the health risks involved with asbestos exposure.
According to court documents, Owens Corning used asbestos in the following products:
- Equipment, duct, and pipe insulation
- Roof tile insulation
- Finishing cement
- Laminated panels
- One Cote Cement
Armstrong World Industries
Armstrong World Industries has been around since 1860 and still remains one of the leading worldwide manufacturing plants of cabinets, ceilings, and floors. Yet, as with the majority of large manufacturing companies that once used asbestos, Armstrong faced a string of lawsuits that began in 1970 when Clarence Borel, an industrial insulation worker, filed a lawsuit against Armstrong and 10 asbestos manufacturers after developing mesothelioma.
Borel was victorious in proving his case. It also marked an important event for workers as the case represented the first lawsuit that set the stage for holding manufacturer responsible for warning workers about the dangers of working around asbestos.
After Borel’s lawsuit, thousands of cases against Armstrong followed. After paying millions out to former workers who developed asbestos-related diseases, Armstrong filed bankruptcy in 2000. In 2006, however, as a condition of their redevelopment after bankruptcy, the company created the Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Trust, in order to settle all asbestos cases against, including future lawsuits. In the first two years alone, the Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Trust had over 200,000 cases. An estimated $2.062 million is currently in the trust.
Armstrong once used asbestos in a variety of products, including:
- Floor tile
- Asbestos paper
- Asphalt tiles
- Cork coverings
- Floor felt
Established in 1925, National Gypsum (NGC) produces wallboard products under the trademark name, Gold Bond. A myriad of the company’s products contained asbestos, resulting in a flurry of lawsuits. Consequently, the company declared bankruptcy in 1990 after going into debt of more than $1 billion.
Three years later, the company reinvented itself, claiming a new and improved company. As part of their new, improved company, NGC created a trust to help handle more than 40,000 pending lawsuits.
In addition to individuals, NGC also settled lawsuits with companies. For instance, NCG paid a school district $8.4 million. With cases from individuals and companies combined, NGC had paid out over $200 million by 2010. Currently, the NGC trust is at an estimated $347 million.
The three primary products that NGC used asbestos in, include:
- Gold Bond Gypsum Board
- PermaBase Cement Board
- Proform Dyrwall Finishing Products
Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. DII Industries, LLC
Harrbison-Walker Refractories Co.started out in 1874 as a manufacturer of products that could withstand extremely high temperatures, such as fireproof bricks. During the 1960s, the company acquired the Halliburton subsidiary, Dresser Industries, Inc. As with Harbison-Walker, Dresser Industries also manufactured fireproof products that were created with asbestos.
By the 1990s, the company faced a slew of asbestos-related lawsuits from people who used products from both Dressers Industries and Harbison-Walker. Shortly after, Dresser Industries merged completely with Halliburton, leaving Harbison-Walker responsible for Halliburton’s string of asbestos lawsuits as well. The sheer amount of asbestos cases that Harbison-Walker faced was much more than they would have ever expected.
In 1999, Harbison-Walker was bought out, yet they were still left responsible for all of the pending asbestos lawsuits, which included over 200,000 cases. In 2001, a total of five plaintiffs were awarded verdicts amounting to $40 million after a jury found the company negligent in warning people of the dangers of asbestos.
A year later, Harbison-Walker and Dresser Industries entered a unique trust deal in which claims were settled for 100 cents on the dollar. Known as the DII Industries, LLC Asbestos PI Trust, the trust started out with around $4 billion, and the majority of the funds were set aside for those diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer.
Products that Harbison-Walker, Halliburton, and Dresser Industries manufactured with asbestos include:
- Fireproof bricks
- Refractory cement
- Vacuum pumps
- Drilling mud
Combustion Engineering (CE) was a manufacturers of boilers that were used under feed systems, cement, protective seals, and many other asbestos-containing products. The company started in 1912, but closed down in 1990 after Asea Brown Boveri (ABB Group) bought the company. Even though CE has stopped using asbestos in its products before it was acquired, ABB Group was still responsible for the pending asbestos lawsuits.
In 2001, ABB increased its settlement amounts to cover cases against CE, which increased the fund amount from $470 million to around $940 million. A year later, CE still had close to 111,000 pending lawsuits, which ABB successfully reduced to 94,000. Since the amount of asbestos cases were extremely high, ABB established a trust several years later, which covered any unsettled asbestos lawsuits as well as any future lawsuits. Currently, over $900 million has been paid out via the trust. The estimated total of the Combustion Engineering Asbestos PI Trust is around $1.43 billion.
Products that CE and ABB manufactured with asbestos include:
- Block sticks
- Joint material
- Protective and weather coating
ASARCO LLC still remains one of the country’s leading manufacturers of metals, coppers, alloys, and minerals, but prior to the 1980s, most of their products were littered with asbestos. Consquently, in 2005, the company filed for bankruptcy after an influx of asbestos-related lawsuits.
Most of ASARCO’s asbestos use was tied to many of its subsidiaries, including CAPCO Pipe Company, Inc., Lac d’Amiante du Quebec Ltd., LAQ Canada, Ltd., and more. Asbestos was used in a variety of their products, but it was primarily found it cement pipes that were manufactured by their subsidiary, Cement Asbestos Products Company.
In 2009, only four years after ASARCO declared bankruptcy, they created an asbestos trust to handle the overwhelming cases against them. Rules mandated that the company must pay $750 million into the fund, to help handle over 900,000 pending cases.
The Johns Manville trust still remains the largest asbestos trust fund with an estimated $2.5 billion. The trust was established in 1988 after thousands up thousands of people began developing asbestos-related diseases after being exposed to asbestos fibers via the company’s products.
Johns Manville was established in 1858 as a construction and insulation company that provided a myriad of asbestos-containing products to both residential and commercial buildings. In 1927, the company also began manufacturing products for the military, and since U.S. government laws required that Navy vessels be well-insulated, many of the products used were made with asbestos, for its heat and fire-resistant properties.
As early as 1929, Johns Manville faced its first lawsuit after employees filed health-related lawsuits against the companies. Numerous asbestos claims followed, resulting in the establishment of the 1988 trust.
Unfortunately, a myriad of occupations were affected by Johns Mansville, as the company provided asbestos-containing products to numerous businesses and individuals. People who worked in the following occupations were at risk of asbestos exposure:
- Construction workers
- Factory workers
- Military veterans
- Insulation installers
- HVAC installers and repair workers
Products containing asbestos, provided by Johns Manville, included:
- Siding sheets
- Roofing materials
- Caulking putty
- Roof shingles
- Protective clothing
- Transite sheets
- Fireproof sheets
What is the Process for Filing a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claim?
Filing a trust claim is similar to filing a lawsuit, yet it typically takes less time as there are no testimonies or trials. As with filing an asbestos lawsuit, you’ll need to show proof of your medical condition and evidence of when and how you were exposed to asbestos. You can only file a claim against a company that exposed you to asbestos or the manufacturer of a product that exposed you to asbestos. In other words, you cannot file a claim against a company or manufacturer unless the entities are responsible for the exposure to asbestos that led to your illness.
Of course there may be several companies involved in providing asbestos to your workplace, and each of those companies are responsible for damages. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine which manufacturer is responsible if you developed mesothelioma from a product, and it may be extremely difficult for you to pin down all of the companies and manufacturers that provided asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) to your workplace. An experienced mesothelioma attorney will be able to assist you with this process and identify the responsible party or parties.
In addition, you’ll need to make sure you’re qualified according to the statute of limitations in your state and the rules of the trust you’re filing against.
Although people suffering from mesothelioma and asbestosis usually qualify if their disease developed after exposure to asbestos at the expense of another party, you can also file for a trust if you have any form of pleural diseases, whether malignant or not. Keep in mind though, as mentioned earlier, regardless of the severity of your disease, it must have came from exposure to asbestos while working or from a product that contained asbestos.
Family members who were affected through second-exposure may also qualify. For example, if someone who works around asbestos without protective clothing comes home with work clothes on, asbestos fibers can become airborne and permeate. Spouses, children, and any other family member in the home is at risk for asbestos exposure.
Medical requirements will vary according to each trust. Some may require you to provide an in-depth medical and work history while other trusts may be more lenient in proof requirements. Regardless, it’s up to you to make sure you provide all of the necessary requirements, such as your health records, work history, statements from physicians, and proof of future health problems. Even if the trust doesn’t require it, it’s always a good idea to have your proof and documents available.
In most situations for expedited reviews (see below for information on expedited reviews), a claimant’s compensation will depend upon the level of the disease:
- Level I: Other asbestos diseases that are not marked with significant impairment.
- Level II: Asbestosis with the absence of severely restricted lung function.
- Level III: Asbestosis with marked severe lung function restriction.
- Level IV: Extreme case of asbestosis
- Level V: Other forms of cancer, excluding lung cancer, with proof of non-malignant disease in both lungs caused by asbestos
- Level VI: Lung cancer without evidence of asbestos-caused, non-malignant disease in the lungs.
- Level VII: Lung cancer with evidence of asbestos-caused, non-malignant disease in the lungs.
- Level VIII: Mesothelioma cancer
Expedited or Individual
The next step is determining if your case will be expedited or or individual review. An individual review is filed when you don’t meet the mandated medical requirements of an expedited review. An individual review, however, allows a more personal look at your medical history and situation in order to determine a compensation amount.
An expedited review has a fixed compensation amount and victims are usually paid more quickly when compared to an individual review. Each expedited review case has a set value amount according to the severity of the disease (see the severity levels above). Individual reviews don’t have set value amounts and usually require more evidence from the victim, including in-depth work and medical history.
Once the claims go through the review process, liquidation begins for qualified plaintiffs. The trust will then provide the plaintiff with a financial offer, and as previously mentioned, expedited review cases are typically always the same amount for each person, according to the severity level of the disease.
At this point, a plaintiff can accept or deny the offer amount. If you accept, your claim will go into a payment queue for payment setup, and if you deny the offer, your claim will be entered into an alternate dispute resolution (ADR) until an acceptable amount can be agreed upon.
As mentioned earlier, once your case has been reviewed, you’ll be provided with the mesothelioma settlement fund you’ll receive. In some cases, extremely large amounts awarded from the trust will be broken up into payments. Many trusts operate under the percentage value, meaning that claimants will get a certain percentage of the total compensation amount.
For example, if the total amount happens to be $1.5 million and the company is offering 25% of the total amount, then the claimant can expect to receive $375,000. Keep in mind, however, that these percentages can change according to the trust you’ve filed and your individual circumstances. There is a chance that the trust payout will be higher than 25%, but rarely does compensation fall below 25%.
Unfortunately, most companies don’t have enough funds to pay the full amount, and as a result, the aforementioned percentage values are offered. According to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), if companies paid the full amount of the claim, funds may not be available for future cases. Currently, the median percentage value is 25%, but remember that this may vary according to what each trust is offering.
From 1998 to 2010, according to GAO, 3.3 million trust cases have been paid, equalling at least $17.5 billion.
Details on Filing a Lawsuit and a Trust Claim
It’s possible to file both a mesothelioma lawsuit as well as a trust claim. Keep in mind though, that if you receive trust compensation it may affect the amount you receive in a lawsuit. State laws have different laws when it comes to the amount of compensation you can receive in a lawsuit if you also file a claim for trust fund compensation.
However, if you plan to file for both, you shouldn’t give the idea up. Keep in mind that if there are several companies named in your lawsuit, some of these companies may have already set up a trust while others didn’t. Since all companies responsible for asbestos exposure are also responsible for damages, you’ll want to ensure that all parties pay. To learn more about your state laws and the details of filing both a lawsuit and a trust claim, speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney who’ll be able to explain your options in detail.
Will Trust Amounts Dissipate?
A common yet understandable concern of mesothelioma victims is the fear of trust money dissipating before their case gets resolved. With more and more victims coming forward and filing claims against the responsible parties, this is a valid concern. However, with a current amount of over $30 billion in trusts and strict management to ensure that the funds are allocated fairly, there is no reason to worry.
Where Can I Get Legal Assistance with Asbestos Trust Funds?
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for significant compensation. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.