EaglePicher Industries Inc., known today as EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, is a battery, electronics, and energetic devices manufacturer. Although the company remaining in business, thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits against the company previously forced it into bankruptcy.
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EaglePicher Industries Inc. History
Established in 1916 after a merger between a mining company formed by owner Oliver Picher and Eagle White Lead.
EaglePicher Industries Inc. started out as a manufacturer of storage batteries. The company mined zinc and diatomaceous in order to make the batteries, which became useful to the U.S. military during World War II. Its distribution of the batteries throughout the war made EaglePicher a popular company that quickly expanded.
During its expansion, EaglePicher added more products to its line and began manufacturing them with asbestos mixed in.
The military was still a leading customer when asbestos-containing products were created, leading to many military servicemen and servicewomen developing mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases.
EaglePicher continued to use asbestos until around 1975. Along with the military’s constant exposure to asbestos, manufacturers and installation workers also faced constant risks.
A string of asbestos-related claims and lawsuits filed against EaglePicher followed.
EaglePicher Industries Inc. Lawsuits and Bankruptcy
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, asbestos-related claims began mounting against EaglePicher. The company battled these claims and lawsuits for years.
In 1982, Tom Petry, President of EaglePicher, created a reserve fund specifically for those affected by the company’s asbestos-containing products.
This lasted until 1990, when U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein put a stop of asbestos claims and ordered EaglePicher to pay $45 million to all pending cases.
In 1991, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Part of the agreement of bankruptcy included the company creating a reorganization plan in which an asbestos trust fund would be set up.
EaglePicher funded the asbestos trust fund with 10 million shares of its stock, tax refund notes, and $387 million cash. The year it filed for bankruptcy, the company faced more than $2.5 billion in asbestos-related claims.
In 2005, EaglePicher once again filed for bankruptcy after the company accumulated too much debt, equaling around $500 million. It took until 2009 for the company to fully exit Chapter 11 reorganization.
Industries and Occupations Affected by EaglePicher Industries Inc.
Numerous types of workers came into contact with asbestos via EaglePicher products. These workers were employed in different occupations across several industries, and included:
- Drywall installers
- Shipyard workers
- Navy crew members
- Construction workers
Asbestos-Containing Products Made by EaglePicher
EaglePicher insulation was the main product that contained asbestos. Although asbestos was not the primary ingredient in the company’s insulation, it was mixed in, and in excessive amounts.
The cement that the company manufactured also contained asbestos. In fact, three brand names of cement contained asbestos, including One Cote, Hylo, and Super 66.
EaglePicher Industries Inc. Today
EaglePicher remains in operations today but has eliminated asbestos from its products.
Currently, the company focuses on numerous types of batteries, battery cells, electronics, and energetic devices such as igniters, pyrotechnic switches, gas generators, and cutters. EaglePicher is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.
Additional Resources and Legal Information for Asbestos Victims
If you’ve been injured by asbestos, keep in mind that there is a good chance that you’ll qualify for considerable compensation. Remember to fill out our form to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area.
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 significant compensation 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.