What Are Asbestos Trust Funds?
Asbestos trust funds are funds created to compensate victims of mesothelioma caused by asbestos manufacturers. These funds are created when the manufacturers file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.In 1988, the Johns Manville Corporation (Manville Trust), a longtime user of asbestos and manufacturer of asbestos-containing products, was designated as the first asbestos bankruptcy trust and funded with $2.5 billion. Since then, about 55 other companies have established trust funds for victims.
In the past decades, asbestos trusts have paid out billions of dollars in claims. Due to a large number of claimants, trusts only pay a percentage of each financial request to ensure there is enough money available for all claims. The percentages change every few years. The level of the total amount of compensation depends on the number of claimants to the individual trusts and the claimant’s disease.
Asbestos Trust Funds
|A-Best Products||Amt. in Trust: $18 million, Created: 2004, Asbestos Trust Name: A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|A.P. Green Industries||Amt. in Trust: $333 million, Created: 2014, Asbestos Trust Name: APG Asbestos Trust|
|A.B.B. Global Inc.||Amt. in Trust: $38 million, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Lummus 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|ACandS, Inc.||Amt. in Trust: $528 million, Created: 2008, Asbestos Trust Name: ACandS Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|API Inc.||Amt. in Trust: $94 million, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: API Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|Armstrong World Industries||Amt. in Trust: $2.06 billion, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Armstrong World Industries Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|ARTRA Group, Inc.||Amt. in Trust: $74 million, Created: 2007, Asbestos Trust Name: ARTRA 524(g) Asbestos Trust|
|ASARCO||Amt. in Trust: $830 million, Created: 2009, Asbestos Trust Name: ASARCO LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|National Gypsum Company (Asbestos Claims Management Corporation)||Amt. in Trust: $446 million, Created: 1993, Asbestos Trust Name: NGC Bodily Injury Trust|
|Babcock & Wilcox Company||Amt. in Trust: $1.85 billion, Created: 2007, Asbestos Trust Name: Babcock & Wilcox Asbestos Trust|
|Bondex||Amt. in Trust: $797.5 million, Created: 2016, Asbestos Trust Name: Bondex Trust|
|Burns & Roe Enterprises, Inc.||Amt. in Trust: $172 million, Created: 2009, Asbestos Trust Name: Burns & Roe Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|C.E. Thurston & Sons||Amt. in Trust: $53 million, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc. Asbestos Trust|
|Celotex Corporation (Carey Canada, Inc.)||Amt. in Trust: $1.25 billion, Created: 1997, Asbestos Trust Name: Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|Combustion Engineering||Amt. in Trust: $1.24 billion, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Combustion Engineering 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Congoleum Corporation||Amt. in Trust: $270 million, Created: 2010, Asbestos Trust Name: Congoleum Plan Trust|
|DII Industries, LLC (Dresser Industries)||Amt. in Trust: $2.51 billion, Created: 2005, Asbestos Trust Name: DII Industries, LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Eagle-Picher Corporation||Amt. in Trust: $730 million, Created: 1996, Asbestos Trust Name: Eagle-Picher Industries Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|EJ Bartells Co., Inc.||Amt. in Trust: $20 million, Created: 2001, Asbestos Trust Name: Bartells Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|Federal Mogul Corp.||Amt. in Trust: $1.85 billion, Created: 2007, Asbestos Trust Name: Federal Mogul U.S. Asbestos Personal Injury|
|Flintkote Co. (Flintkote Mines Ltd.)||Amt. in Trust: $214 million, Created: 2015, Asbestos Trust Name: Flintkote Company and Flintkote Mines Limited Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|General Motors||Amt. in Trust: $625 million, Created: 2012, Asbestos Trust Name: MLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|G-I Holdings||Amt. in Trust: $770 million, Created: 2009, Asbestos Trust Name: G-1 Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|Hercules Chemical||Amt. in Trust: $8.6 million, Created: 2011, Asbestos Trust Name: Hercules Chemical Company, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|H.K. Porter, Inc.||Amt. in Trust: Not Applicable,
Created: 1998, Asbestos Trust Name: H.K Porter Asbestos Trust
|J.T. Thorpe (C.D. Cal.)||Amt. in Trust: $154 million, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust|
|J.T. Thorpe (S.D. Tex.)||Amt. in Trust: $232 million, Created: 2004, Asbestos Trust Name: J.T. Thorpe Company Successor Trust|
|Johns-Manville Corp. (Philadelphia Asbestos Corp. [Pacor])||Amt. in Trust: $2.5 billion, Created: 1988, Asbestos Trust Name: Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|Kaiser Aluminum Corp.||Amt. in Trust: $1.22 billion, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Kaiser Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Keene Corp.||Amt. in Trust: $45 million, Created: 1996, Asbestos Trust Name: Keene Creditors Trust|
|Kentile||Amt. in Trust: $193 million, Created: 2015, Asbestos Trust Name: Metex Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Leslie Controls||Amt. in Trust: Not Applicable,
Created: 2011, Asbestos Trust Name: Leslie Controls, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|MacArthur Co. (Western Asbestos Company)||Amt. in Trust: $2 billion, Created: 2004, Asbestos Trust Name: Western Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|North American Refractories Co. (NARCO)||Amt. in Trust: $420 million, Created: 2013, Asbestos Trust Name: North American Refractories Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|Owens Corning||Amt. in Trust: $3.42 billion, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Owens Corning Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Owens Corning Subfund|
|Owens Corning (Fibreboard Corp.)||Amt. in Trust: $1.56 billion, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Owens Corning Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Pittsburgh Corning||Amt. in Trust: $3.41 billion, Created: 2013, Asbestos Trust Name: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Plant Insulation Company||Amt. in Trust: $242.8 million, Created: 2012, Asbestos Trust Name: Plant Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|Plibrico Co.||Amt. in Trust: $206 million, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Plibrico Asbestos Trust|
|Porter-Hayden Co.||Amt. in Trust: $1 million, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Porter Hayden Bodily Injury Trust|
|Quigley Co.||Amt. in Trust: $569 million, Created: 2013, Asbestos Trust Name: Quigley Company, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Raymark Corp. (Raytech Corp.)||Amt. in Trust: Not Applicable,
Created: 2000, Asbestos Trust Name: Raytech Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|Shook & Fletcher Insulation Co.||Amt. in Trust: $109 million, Created: 2002, Asbestos Trust Name: Shook & Fletcher Asbestos Settlement Trust|
|T. H. Agriculture & Nutrition (THAN)||Amt. in Trust: $901 million, Created: 2009, Asbestos Trust Name: T. H. Agriculture & Nutrition, LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Thorpe Insulation Co. (Pacific Insulation Co.)||Amt. in Trust: $389 million, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|Turner & Newall||Amt. in Trust: $635 million, Created: 2007, Asbestos Trust Name: Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Turner & Newall Subfund|
|United Gilsonite Laboratories||Amt. in Trust: $TBD, Created: TBD, Asbestos Trust Name: United Gilsonite Laboratories Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|United States Gypsum Co. (USG Corp.)||Amt. in Trust: $3.96 billion, Created: 2006, Asbestos Trust Name: United States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|United States Mineral Products||Amt. in Trust: $8 million, Created: 2005, Asbestos Trust Name: United States Mineral Products Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust|
|UNR Industries, Inc. (Unarco Industries, Inc.)||Amt. in Trust: Not Applicable,
Created: 1990, Asbestos Trust Name: UNR Asbestos-Disease Claims Trust
|W. R. Grace & Co.||Amt. in Trust: $2.98 billion, Created: 2014, Asbestos Trust Name: WRG Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
|Yarway||Amt. in Trust: $325 million, Created: 2016, Asbestos Trust Name: Yarway Asbestos Personal Injury Trust|
What is the history of asbestos bankruptcy trusts?
- Scientist and healthcare professionals have acknowledged the dangers of asbestos for centuries. But those who stood to profit the most from asbestos use, like business owners, concealed and denied the risks to ensure they would not face any liabilities from sick workers. By the 1960s, ill and injured workers realized their deadly illnesses were a result of asbestos exposure in the workplace or by contact with asbestos-containing products.
- Early on, injured workers did not sue the at-fault companies. Instead, they filed claims through state workers’ compensation programs. But most claims were denied because asbestos diseases, like mesothelioma, manifest so slowly they were not considered traumatic injuries to be eligible for workers’ comp. With no relief in sight, workers turned to the court system.
- Even with mounting pressure from injured victims, the companies continued to lie about asbestos dangers and filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy to eliminate their financial liabilities. The court system, under section 524 (g) of the federal bankruptcy code, demanded companies that faced asbestos liability create trust funds to pay current and future claimants.
What is the criteria needed to file an asbestos trust fund claim?
To file a claim, victims must have evidence of several things:
- Documentation proving an asbestos-related disease (including medical records and test results)
- Evidence connecting the victim to asbestos-containing products or the site where asbestos was used
- A statement from a qualified physician confirming the diagnosis
- A timely claim to the trust (not exceeding the individual state statute of limitations on filing a claim)
In addition, family members of asbestos victims who have died must also submit the following information for a successful claim:
- Proof of negligence by the company in question
- Evidence of substantial impact on the family’s wellbeing (including emotional and financial)
The trustees that run trusts also consider overall hardship when determining trust allocations.
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Which companies have the highest funded asbestos bankruptcy trusts?
Although there is roughly 56 asbestos trusts, a select few have more funding and a wider reach, mostly due to the size of the companies and the number of injured workers. Some of the top-funded trusts include:
- U.S. Gypsum Asbestos (USG)Personal Injury Settlement Trust – USG is the largest manufacturer and marketer of gypsum-based products, including drywall, in North America. The company used and sold asbestos-containing products through 1978. The trust was initially funded with about $4 billion and currently pays 19.2% of the scheduled value.
- Pittsburgh Corning Corporation (PCC) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – With $3.5 billion in initial assets, the PCC trust is considered one of the largest asbestos trusts in the country. The trust was created in 2016 and incorporates claims from Unibestos and PPG Industries. It currently pays 30.1%
- Owens Corning/Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – The Owens Corning Fibreboard trust was formed in 2006 to resolve claims with Owens Corning and its subsidiary Fibreboard, which produced home insulation, fiberglass and other asbestos-containing products. The initial funding for the trust was $3.4 billion. Owens Corning currently pays 7.8% and Fibreboard pays 6.7%.
- W.R. Grace and Co. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – W.R. Grace and Co., which manufactured and sold asbestos-containing insulation, cement and acoustical materials, filed for bankruptcy in 2001, facing more than 129,000 asbestos personal injury claims. The trust launched in 2011. The trust started with about $3 billion and currently pays 26%. The company is also responsible for an asbestos Superfund Site in Libby, Mont.
How are asbestos trust fund claim values calculated?
- During the bankruptcy process, each trust develops fixed claims values (also called payment guidelines) for compensation. The most amount of compensation goes to the sickest patients; those diagnosed with mesothelioma receive the most significant settlements. Other categories of disease include stage I and II lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural plaques.
- Claimants who submit documentation for an expedited review can expect to receive a fixed amount based on the trust’s payment guidelines. Claimants who file under the individual review may receive compensation based on specific individual circumstances.
Who is Eligible for Compensation
With billions of dollars available to help sick and injured people, asbestos trusts are a reliable and risk-free way of accessing vital funds. The first step to compensation from an asbestos bankruptcy trust is determining eligibility.
Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos and has an asbestos-related disease (including mesothelioma, associated lung cancer and asbestosis) is eligible for trust fund compensation. Many people are exposed to asbestos in the workplace, during military service or work as a first responder. Family members can also be at risk for asbestos diseases through second-hand exposure.
Asbestos has been used in a variety of different manufactured products. Some of the most common asbestos containing products include:
- Paints, sealants and adhesives
- Insulation, linings and ductwork
- Cement powder mix
- Automotive parts
- Valves, gaskets and hoses
- Mechanical and electrical components
- Heat and fire protective clothing
There are a number of occupations that are considered high-risk to asbestos exposure. Many people exposed to asbestos in the workplace are exposed during military work through building materials. These high-risk occupations include but are not limited to:
- Shipyard workers
- Members of the military
- Demolition workers
- Drywall removers
- Automotive workers
- Construction workers
- First responders
- 9/11 rescue, recovery and cleanup crews
What happens if more than one company is responsible for asbestos exposure?
Many claimants were exposed to asbestos at a variety of worksites, so they file claims to multiple trusts. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code does not cap the number of trusts for individual filings. Many claimants receive compensation through numerous trusts.
How to Apply for Compensation
After a confirmed asbestos-disease diagnosis, claimants must determine the source of asbestos exposure in order to apply. They must also collect proof of exposure, including employment records, and evidence of disease, including medical records and physician statements. The information must be submitted within the statute of limitations (typically two to three years following a diagnosis) or the claim will not be considered. If the trust finds incomplete or missing information, the claimant must track down the right evidence.
Instead of doing all the legwork themselves, many claimants choose to contact attorneys who specialize in asbestos trust claims. They help asbestos victims find the correct documentation and get the necessary paperwork to file the financial request promptly. Our skilled attorneys also help victims identify the at-fault companies for the best settlement amount.
How Much Money Can I Receive?
The level of funding from trust funds depends on several factors, including the victim’s disease and the exposure site. The most severe diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancers, usually receive compensation in the five- and six-figure range.
According to a landmark report by the Rand Institute, the average asbestos trust settlement for patients with mesothelioma is $180,000. The award can range from $7,000 to $1.1 million, however. Other asbestos-related diseases, including lung cancer, asbestosis and COPD, receive lesser amounts.
In addition to the extent of the disease (and the impact on the patient), the amount of the settlement depends on the level of funding in the trust. All asbestos trusts only pay a percentage of the pre-assigned financial award to ensure there is enough money for everyone. The trusts usually change the percentage rates periodically. In all, the 30 biggest trusts have about $30 billion in assets for compensation.
Trust Funds vs. Lawsuits
Determining the best option for financial compensation (either a trust fund or an asbestos lawsuit) can be confusing. An asbestos lawsuit may be risky because the chances of a hefty payout depend primarily on the will of a judge or jury.
Asbestos trust funds are designed to provide financial compensation for asbestos victims and their families. They are created when companies that used asbestos file for bankruptcy. Unlike asbestos lawsuits, asbestos trust fund compensation is easy to access and provides victims with quick access to money that can be used for anything, including treatment and recovery.
A more straightforward way to pursue financial compensation for asbestos injuries is bankruptcy trusts. Once all the necessary paperwork is filed and approved, victims get quick access to funds that can be used for anything.
In some situations, victims file both trust fund claims and asbestos lawsuits. No matter which path to compensation is taken, patients who are considering seeking funds should use the services of a skilled mesothelioma attorney.
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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.Learn More
- Babcock &Wilcox Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Glossary. Retrieved from https://www.bwasbestostrust.com/resources/glossary/
- U.S. House of Representatives. “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2017.” Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/115/crpt/hrpt18/CRPT-115hrpt18.pdf
- Manville Trust. “About the Manville Trust.” Retrieved from http://mantrust.claimsres.com/
- Tucker, Eric. Associated Press. “US Steps Up Scrutiny of Funds for Asbestos Exposure Victims.” Retrieved from https://www.apnews.com/b9343b6807fe4f0e860483f584db0bf5
- Barnes, Jeb. USC Dornsife. “Why asbestos litigation won’t go away: Because asbestos won’t go away.” Retrieved from https://dornsife.usc.edu/news/stories/2960/why-asbestos-litigation-wont-go-away/
- National Cancer Institute. “Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk.” Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet
- The United States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Payment Percentage. Retrieved from http://www.usgasbestostrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/USG.-Notice-Payment-Percentage-Noticer-8.2.19-C0611383x9DB18.pdf