International Paper Company Asbestos Lawsuits

The formation of International Paper in the late 1890s coincided with a huge boom in the demand for paper, printing and associated products. At one stage, just a matter of years after launching, IP produced almost 60% of the newsprint in the United States

Due to the nature of their business, asbestos was used prominently in International Paper’s activities. Paper is a highly-flammable material that causes fires to spread at an alarming rate. To mitigate against this risk, asbestos was used in the construction of several areas of International Paper’s mills and factories – including insulation, roofing, walls and flooring.

Employees who worked at International Paper’s premises have filed lawsuits related to asbestos exposure, claiming that they suffered from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma as a result of working in close proximity to asbestos.

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Associated Industries and Occupations At Risk

International Paper operated paper mills, including the Hudson River Mill in Conrith, New York. This mill was originally constructed in the 1860s. Due to the flammable properties of paper and similar products, the facility was built with large quantities of asbestos. Maintenance, cleaning and development of the mill in subsequent decades – long before the true risk of asbestos to human health was recognized – posed an enormous risk to paper mill workers. When asbestos fibers are disturbed and thrown into the air, inhalation by humans can cause them to settle in the lungs – resulting in mesothelioma.

In addition to their primary focus on the paper and pulp sector, IP also expanded in the 1920s, when they acquired a number of power plants. Their hydroelectric plants were manufactured with large amounts of asbestos, due to their fire-resistant properties. In addition, workers at power plants were often issued with fire-resistant, protective clothing which contained asbestos. 

Due to their size and position as a leading provider of paper and pulp products, International Paper has employed thousands of people over the past century.

As a result of their activities, workers in the following occupations were at risk of asbestos exposure as a result of working for International Paper:

The risk wasn’t limited to employees, either. Family members living with employees of International Paper faced the risk of secondary exposure in their own homes. Asbestos fibers deposited on employee clothing could transfer onto furniture or other household items. When cleaned or moved, these fibers could be thrown into the air, risking asbestos exposure.

Level Of Asbestos Risk For International Paper Company Employees

Many of the occupations associated with International Paper are listed as high-risk for asbestos exposure. For example, construction workers and insulators were at significantly higher risk, due to the fact that they would have directly handled asbestos in the construction of IP’s paper mills. Other workers, such as roofers and plumbers, are deemed as medium-risk.

Information On Mesothelioma Risk For Paper Mill Workers

Paper mills, by their nature, are at significant risk from fires spreading due to the materials contained within them. When paper sets alight, it burns quickly and can result in the flames spreading at an immensely rapid rate. 

Paper mills such as those operated by the International Paper Company were therefore constructed with significant amounts of asbestos – contributing to the increased risk of workers developing asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma.

Paper Mill Lung Disease Death Prompts Widow to File Lawsuit [February 2018]

Benefield v. International Paper Co. [October 2010]

John C. Tutt v. International Paper Company [December 2004]

Alfred Austin v. Abney Mills, Inc. [September 2002]

Jenkins v. International Paper Co. [November 1994]

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Written and legally reviewed by Samuel Meirowitz

Attorney and On-Site Legal Advocate

Samuel Meirowitz is a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.” Mr. Meirowitz was named a “Rising Star” in 2013 & 2014 by Super Lawyers and then a Super Lawyer every year since 2016. In 2013, Mr. Meirowitz obtained what is believed to be the first multi-million-dollar asbestos verdict seen in more than two decades in a New York federal court. In that highly contentious matter, Mr. Meirowitz was able to convince the jury to hold a boiler manufacturer responsible for 60 percent of the $3.8 million awarded, despite the defendant’s attempt to escape all blame by pointing fingers at the plaintiff’s employer and the U.S. Navy (in which the plaintiff admirably served from 1966-70 during the Vietnam conflict). This verdict was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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