Armstrong World Industries remains one of the leading manufacturing businesses in the world. However, just like many other manufacturing companies in the past, Armstrong used asbestos in a multitude of products. In turn, numerous workers fell ill to life-threatening asbestos illnesses and consequently sued Armstrong for negligence.
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Armstrong World Industries History
Founded in 1860 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Armstrong World Industries started out making and distributing wine cork bottles. Within the next 30 years, the company became one the world’s leading wine cork manufacturers.
Once business started to expand, Armstrong incorporated many other products into their line, including linoleum, vinyl flooring, cork boards, and fiber boards. Throughout the next many decades, Armstrong continued to make these products while using asbestos. Consequently, people started developing asbestos-related diseases, resulting in the company filing for bankruptcy in 2000, after losing millions in lawsuits.
Armstrong World Industries Lawsuits and Bankruptcy
In 1970, the first asbestos-related lawsuit against Armstrong began when Clarence Borel, an industrial insulation worker, filed a claim against the company (along with several other manufacturers) after developing pulmonary asbestosis, which eventually led to mesothelioma.
According to court documents, Borel complained to Armstrong on many occasions about inhaling dust and asbestos fibers while working. He also said that although some workers were given respirators to use while working, he was never offered one during his career, which lasted until the late 1960s. He said he had to resort to using handkerchiefs and cloths when working in order to avoid excessive dust.
In February 1970, Borel underwent surgery on his right lung. It was discovered that he had also developed malignant mesothelioma due to his asbestosis. He passed away just before his trial was set to go into its final stages.
However, the jury rendered a verdict in Borel’s favor, awarding his family $79,436.24. It also marked one of the first lawsuits in which asbestos manufacturers were held responsible for negligently harming workers.
Following the Borel Case, thousands of additional lawsuits followed, forcing Armstrong World Industries in bankruptcy.
By 2006, the company emerged from bankruptcy, but part of their obligation was to set up the Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Trust. The company trust fund compensated all current cases at the time, and it was set up to compensate future asbestos-related claims against Armstrong as well. In the first few years after the trust opened, more than 200,000 claims were filed.
Armstrong Asbestos Products
Armstrong used a wide variety of its products for its resistance to heat and fire. Limpet, in particular, an insulation spray that contains mostly asbestos, was used frequently. Since workers sprayed Limpet onto products, asbestos fibers were released into the air throughout each work day, placing anyone in the vicinity in danger.
Armaspray was also used frequently by Armstrong. Similar to Limpet, Armaspray was also an asbestos-filled spray on application, and although it didn’t contain as much asbestos as Limpet, it was found to have unsafe levels.
Anyone who worked with these sprays or around any products made with asbestos faces risks of developing life-threatening diseases, including installers, construction workers, technicians, painters, and more.
Armstrong Hides Evidence of Asbestos Dangers
One of the reasons that Armstrong lost many mesothelioma lawsuits is due to the fact the they knew and understood that asbestos is dangerous, yet did nothing to protect their workers. From the 1930s until the 1970s, Armstrong continued to use asbestos in its products, well after they were aware of the hazards. In addition, they failed to place warning signs on any of their products, putting consumers at risk as well.
Additional Information and Legal Resources
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Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.