• Asbestos Litigation History Part 6 Bankruptcy Courts and Asbestos Litigation

    Part 6 of the Beginning of Asbestos Litigation: Bankruptcy Courts and Asbestos Litigation


    For More on the Story, Read The Rest of the Asbestos Litigation Story at:

    Part 7 of the Beginning of Asbestos Litigation

    Asbestos Litigation & Bankruptcy Trusts

    As no surprise many other asbestos producing companies such as Amatex, Eagle Picher, H.K. Porter, Celotex, UNARCO, Carey Canada as well also the large Raybestos Manhattan aka Raybestos Raymark which was caught in conspiracy followed the bankruptcy path paved by Johns-Manvilleas they filed their way into the US bankruptcy courts. Yet in just a handful of years, virtually all of asbestos companies from the textile industry were found in bankruptcy courts. Several large asbestos-including insulation makers were also going into bankruptcy.

    First New Wave of Defendants: Oil Refineries, Shipyards, and Asbestos Mines

    Meanwhile, patterns for disease from asbestos continued to evolve as more was learned about the disease and the exposure. At first the majority of legal cases caused from asbestos were diseases seen and discovered in workers who labored at asbestos mines as well as other types of shipyards, refineries and factories with exposure to asbestos. The asbestos litigation naturally reflected this as the defendants were these asbestos producers. It was essentially the major asbestos producing companies, who were being used by their workers.

    Second Wave of Asbestos Litigation

    A 2nd wave of asbestos litigants then appeared on the scene as workers involved in exposure to asbestos at installation sites received disease and injuries from the occupational disease of mesothelioma. Instead of being injured at production site, these workers who installed asbestos-containing supplies were suing the producers, as well as companies involved in the installation. The mesothelioma litigation continued to diversify with these injured asbestos laborers filing suit due to exposure they received at shipyards in WWII, oil refineries, railways and coal power plants which had asbestos

    Third Wave of Asbestos Litigation Involving Construction Industry

    This asbestos litigation was then followed with a 3rd wave of asbestos workers who had been injured from asbestos exposure from having worked construction. These construction workers had been exposed with asbestos as a result of handling several different asbestos products. Some of these included asbestos-containing fireproofing supplies, drywall asbestos products, textures containing asbestos, as well as other construction supplies which contained asbestos.

    Asbestos Manufacturers Declare Bankruptcy While New Wave of Defendants Begin to be Sued


    Many of these asbestos producing companies became defendants in tort lawsuits and as they entered bankruptcy or initiated it through a declaration, asbestos damage payments along with litigation expense rose above even $70 billion as of the year 2002. Some financial, legal and other experts predict costs from asbestos to eventually rise above $200 billion.

    Bankruptcy is Next Choice of Asbestos Corporations as Claims Mount


    In the year 1982, Johns Manville corporation which had been the country's largest asbestos manufacturing as well as asbestos mining company, had led the way in filing bankruptcy in order to receive financial protection and hold their assets at a further length from asbestos litigation verdicts. Claims were mounting against the company and in ‘72, only 159 asbestos cases had been filed against them, but by even just ‘76, the amount of asbestos claims climbed to 792. And then with the ushering in of the year1982, asbestos claim lawsuits was approaching 6,000. Blood was in the water because of the great damage this manufacturer had done to its workers without seeming to have regard to their health, happiness or safety in causing them this irreparable harm from asbestos exposure.

    Hence, while manufacturers were attempting to stave off the responsibility from financial asbestos claims through bankruptcy, a new list of asbestos-related company defendants became quickly mired in litigation. These new companies were defendants that included construction contractors, construction supply distributors of asbestos related products, as well as property owners where asbestos was involved. Some of these locations included oil refineries, coal power plants and other locations involving the installation of asbestos-containing construction materials.

    The mesothelioma victims also sued manufacturers that produced different sorts of products. On those lines, in 1985, a prior legal principal involved in intense mesothelioma litigation reached a victory against none other than the giant conspiratorial asbestos company Johns-Manville's fellow conspirator company, Raybestos Manhattan. Obtaining a $2,000,000 financial award in a verdict won for an retired 81 year old mechanic who then was dying from the mesothelioma disease caused by asbestos. As a brake lining maker, Raybestos became the first of its kind to not be able to defend the lawsuit.

    The bankruptcy proceedings of these companies as well as other legal changes in the landscape could not stop asbestos litigation for the asbestos victims who had gotten mesothelioma but they certainly threw a wrench into the litigation. The litigation was therefore was moved in several directions.

    On one side, many of the victim plaintiffs' law firms moved to accept large numbers of victim cases, which also included lists of clients not really necessarily having become sick (yet) from the disease asbestos, who still did however have medical proof of being exposed to medical damage from asbestos in its early stages. Some of these law offices took on large-scale medical screening asbestos programs making use of vans containing mobile x-rays, and other medical equipment. Some of these legal companies were criticized at the time as being fraudulent with some of them now being themselves the subject of improper representation and fraud litigation. For this reason, some laborers settled cases for small amounts of money and ended up not being fully compensated for their diseases as the symptoms later progressed with much more serious mesothelioma than the minor asbestos-related diseases they suffered at the time.

    At the same time, a few victim representing law firms started limiting representation to just the most seriously sick mesothelioma-stricken workers. By 1985, law firms decided in most cases with filing lawsuits just on behalf those victims suffering from serious disabilities and most specifically those who had contracted mesothelioma.

    Other Asbestos Companies Enter Bankruptcy

    Other large manufacturing companies joined Johns Manville corporation's lead. Owens-Corning Insulation along with W.R. Grace and even the company U.S. Gypsum. As this list of manufacturing companies continued to seek financial bankruptcy protection, this mounting contingent of tort class-action victims watched their lawsuits move out of federal courts and state courts into the bankruptcy legal arena.

    Asbestos Settlement Trusts Established to Handle Mesothelioma Victim Claims

    Over the years, certain legal changes to bankruptcy code went into place very much in response to mounting numbers of large mass civil tort based on asbestos claims. Some corporations’ protection sought through Ch. 11 bankruptcies included moves for reorganization that required victims submit their medical claims in written form to the settlement trust which had been prepared to evaluate as well as pay the current and future asbestos claims. Following 30 years there have been a total of over 56 personal injury trusts established for asbestos victims. The largest of these asbestos settlement trusts which make up 26 total trusts have paid out the sum exceeding $10,900,000,000 ($10.9 Bn) in order to settle nearly 2.5 million asbestos claims as of the end of 2008.

    For the Previous Part of the Story, Read The Previous Asbestos Litigation Article at:

    Part 5 of the Beginning of Asbestos Litigation: Asbestos Civil Tort Litigation Proliferates
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