John Crane, a mechanical packing company based out of Chicago, manufactures close to 238,900 miles of braided packing and live-loaded gasket packing each year. However, many years prior to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations on asbestos use, John Crane relied on the toxic material in an array of products for its resistance to heat and fire. As a result, numerous people who once worked in John Crane factories and/or around its asbestos-containing products began developing, serious, fatal diseases. In turn, the company faced (and still faces) an array of mesothelioma lawsuits.
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John Crane History
John Crane’s history dates back to 1917 when the company opened in Chicago as the “Crane Packing Company.” Although it started with meager means, by the 1980s, John Crane had acquired the TI Group, and by the 2000s, merged with Smiths Industries, a London-based global technology corporation. The merger with Smith Industries resulted in John Crane becoming the largest Smiths Group PLC subsidiary.
Throughout its business expansion, John Crane created and developed numerous technology products, including a gas-lubricating seal, non-contact sealing for pumps, and an elastomer bellows shaft seal. However, although John Crane’s products help revolutionize seals and other products, the company’s long history with asbestos use in these products led to thousands of asbestos-related claims and lawsuits.
John Crane Lawsuits
Since John Crane was such a huge leader in the manufacturing, it became one of the prime targets of mesothelioma lawsuits after a multitude of former employees and contractors began developing life-threatening diseases. The company never filed for bankruptcy, even when faced with a myriad of lawsuits, which included multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of several plaintiffs.
For example, in Feb. 2012, John Crane lost a lawsuit to the family of former shipyard worker John Bristow. According to court documents, Bristow worked around and handled John Crane’s asbestos-containing seals and gaskets for decades. Consequently, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and died shortly after. Bristow’s loved ones filed a mesothelioma lawsuit in Newport News, Virginia on his behalf. A jury found John Crane guilty and 100% responsible for Bristow’s illness and death, even though five other companies were named in the lawsuit. The family won a $9.18 million verdict.
“It was an agonizing two days of nail biting, waiting for the jury,” said the family’s attorney. “It’s very satisfying to know that they believed us and trusted our evidence and that they assigned a high value to the life of a very, very good man.”
Occupations Affected by John Crane Products
John Crane provided seals, gaskets, and mechanical packing to a plethora of companies across the world. Therefore, not only were the company’s own employees at risk of developing life-threatening illnesses, but various workers in numerous occupations were at risk as well, including:
- Railroad workers
- Shipyard workers
- Automobile mechanics
- Maintenance workers, and more
John Crane Today
John Crane no longer uses asbestos in any of its products, but still continues to face asbestos-related lawsuits as people who once worked around their older products begin to develop life-threatening illnesses. The company is still based out of Chicago and has a global presence in numerous countries. In addition, John Crane recently acquired several other businesses and created the John Crane Production Solutions (JCPS). The subsidiary specializes in oil and gas production, and artificial lift products. John Crane also continues to manufacture gaskets and seals.
Additional Resources for Asbestos Victims
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