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A.B.B. Lummus Global Inc. Asbestos Trust

ABB Lummus Global Inc. started in 1988 as a result of a merger between General Swedish Electrical Limited Company (ASEA) and the Switzerland-based Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC). ABB Lummus became one of the leading suppliers in the electric power industry worldwide.

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ABB Lummus Global is behind some of the most significant electrical and industrial advancements, including Europe’s first steam turbine and high-speed locomotive. ABB Lummus Global used asbestos in products for heat- and fire-insulating protection.

By 2002, ABB Lummus was crippled by mounting asbestos claims. In 2005, ABB and a U.S. subsidiary, Combustion Engineering, faced more than 135,000 lawsuits.  Combustion Engineering paid more than $1 billion to settle more than 440,000 claims.

ABB Lummus Global, which is a unit of ABB Holdings Ltd., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2006. The goal of the bankruptcy was to protect the company from future lawsuits.

The ABB Lummus Global Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust was launched in 2007 with $33 million. The Lummus trust incorporates two types of claims — Lummus Feedwater Heater Claims and Lummus Design and Construction Claims (also known as Lummus Non-Feedwater Heater Claims).

According to the company’s 2019 annual report, the trust overall received 6,638 claims in the fiscal year. Of those, the trust paid 3,136 claims, which totaled $1.7 million.

In 2019, the trust had $19.6 million in net assets available for claims. That year trust’s operating costs were $701,470, which includes trustee and attorney fees and insurance expenses.

A.B.B. Lummus Asbestos Products

In making electrical and industrial products, ABB Lummus used large amounts of asbestos, putting employees and others in danger. The company used asbestos in the design and construction of power plants, chemical plants and hydroprocessing plants for the gas, oil and petrochemical industry.

ABB Lummus used asbestos in a variety of products, including:

  • AC cables
  • Steam turbines
  • Generators
  • Feedwater heaters
  • Electrical systems
  • Wiring insulation
  • Valves
  • High-capacity transformers
  • Wiring insulation
  • Gaskets
  • Gas-insulated switchgears>

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A.B.B. Lummus Global Occupational Exposure

A-Best asbestos-containing products were used as safety clothing and protection from heat extremes. The products included:

  • Machinists
  • Engineers
  • Construction workers
  • Factory workers
  • Metalworkers
  • Members of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard)
  • Feedwater heater operators
  • Water plant operators
  • Automotive plant workers
  • Power plant workers
  • Paper mill operators
  • Printers
  • Drapes
  • Chemical plant workers
  • Railway workers
  • Public utility workers

Litigation Against A.B.B. Lummus Global Inc,

Long before ABB Lummus filed for bankruptcy, the company fended off lawsuits regarding its use of asbestos. Like most companies, ABB Lummus knew the dangers of asbestos but continued to use it without regard for human life. Instead, they concealed, denied and ignored the scientific data about the dangers of asbestos and put company profits above employee lives.

Asbestos-related diseases have a latency period of about 20 years. That means someone who was exposed in the 1980s would be facing symptoms today. ABB started receiving a flood of lawsuits beginning in 2000. Records show that many victims were exposed during the construction of refineries and chemical plants.


A.B.B. Lummus Global Inc. Settlements and Payment Percentage

When the ABB Lummus trust opened, the payment percentage was 100%. In 2020, the payment percentage is 11.7%. All ABB Lummus claims are paid via a first-in, first-out (FIFO) queue.

The Lummus trust classifies claims as one of two types with payment schedules as follows:

Lummus Feedwater Heater Claims, which result from exposure to asbestos in feedwater heaters manufactured by Lummus.

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma (Level VIII) Scheduled Value: $1,000

Average Value: $6,000

Maximum Value: $25,000

Lung Cancer 1 (Level VII) Scheduled Value: $1,000

Average Value: $2,000

Maximum Value: $8,000

Lung Cancer 2  (Level VI) Must undergo individual review

Average Value: $1,000

Maximum Value: $4,000

Other Cancer (Level V) Scheduled Value: $550

Average Value: $700

Maximum Value: $1,000

Severe Asbestosis (Level IV) Scheduled Value: $1,000

Average Value: $2,000

Maximum Value: $8,000

Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level III) Scheduled Value: $400

Scheduled value

Scheduled value

Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level II) Scheduled Value: $200

Scheduled value

Scheduled value

Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level I) Scheduled Value: $100

Scheduled value none

Scheduled value none

Lummus Design and Construction Claims (or Lummus Non-Feedwater Heater Claims)

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma (Level VIII) Scheduled Value: $25,000

Average Value: $60,000

Maximum Value: $400,000

Lung Cancer 1 (Level VII) Scheduled Value: $7,500

Average Value: $12,500

Maximum Value: $75,000

Lung Cancer 2  (Level VI) Must undergo individual review

Average Value: $5,000

Maximum Value: $30,000

Other Cancer (Level V) Scheduled Value: $2,500

Average Value: $5,000

Maximum Value: $15,000

Severe Asbestosis (Level IV) Scheduled Value: $7,500

Average Value: $12,500

Maximum Value: $75,000

Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level III) Scheduled Value: $3,000

Scheduled value

Scheduled value

Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level II) Scheduled Value: $2,000

Scheduled value

Scheduled value

Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level I) Scheduled Value: $200

Scheduled value none

Scheduled value none

The trust pays claims based on several different review processes:

Expedited Review
The expedited review is intended to provide fast access to funds for claims that can be easily verified and meet the medical and exposure criteria. Trustees have 90 days to conclude an expedited review.

• Individual Review
An individual review provides an opportunity for claimants who do not meet all medical and exposure criteria in specific disease levels. Trustees consider all of the pertinent information for the claim to make a final determination regarding payment. Also, claimants with more severe diseases can seek an individual review for a higher settlement amount.

For an individual review, the trustees take into consideration the claimant’s age, employment status, level of disability, level of household disruption, dependencies, family or recreational activities, special damages and pain and suffering. Trustees have 180 days to conclude an individual review.

Extraordinary Claim
When a claimant can prove that a more serious asbestos-related illness was explicitly the result of Lummus exposure, the claimant is entitled to five times the maximum value established for the disease level. Longtime Lummus employees may be eligible for an extraordinary claim. Trustees have 180 days to conclude an extraordinary claim.

Exigent Hardship Claim
A claimant with a severe asbestos-related disease and is in immediate financial need as a result of the asbestos-related disease can file for an exigent hardship claim. The status allows claimants to bypass the FIFO process. Trustees have 90 days to conclude an exigent hardship claim review.

The trust also established a maximum annual payment or a maximum amount the trust would payout overall each year. In the first year of the trust, in 2007, the maximum annual payment was $5 million. Every year since then, the maximum annual payment has decreased. In 2019, the yearly maximum payment was $1,024,994.

The trust also categorizes claims by the severity of the disease, as follows:

  • Category A

Category A claims include severe asbestosis and malignancies (Disease Levels IV through VIII) and those settled as a Disease Level I that was allocated to Category A.

In 2019, Category A claims were as follows:

Total submitted– 2,867
Total paid – 534

Submitted for expedited review – 1,958
Paid via expedited review – 307

Submitted for individual review – 909
Paid via individual review – 227

  • Category B

Category B claims involve nonmalignant asbestosis or pleural disease (Disease Level II and III) and Disease Level I allocated to Category B.

In 2019, Category B claims were as follows:

Total submitted — 3,771
Total paid – 2,602

Submitted for expedited review – 3,397
Paid via expedited review – 2,592

Submitted for individual review – 374
Paid via individual review — 10

Since the trust started, it has not approved 72,200 claims, which include rejected, withdrawn or deferred claims.

Medical and Exposure Requirements

  • Medical Requirements

Overall, a Lummus trust claim must include a physician’s statement that establishes a 10-year latency period between the date of the claimant’s initial exposure to Lummus asbestos and the diagnosis.

In addition, the claimant must provide the following:

  • Disease Levels I to IV
    • A full physical exam with a diagnosis of the asbestos-related disease via an X-ray reading or CT scan and a pulmonary function test.
  • Disease Levels V to VIII
    • A diagnosis of a malignant disease level by a board-certified pathologist

The trust may also require laboratory tests, tissue samples, medical exams results and other medical evidence.

  • Exposure Requirements

Claimants must prove they were exposed to ABB Lummus asbestos products for at least six months (before Dec. 31, 1982) plus five years of cumulative occupational exposure to qualify for an expedited review,

Claims involving Level III, IV, V and VII must also prove significant occupational exposure, which includes handling or exposure to raw asbestos fibers.

Claimants must include information such as affidavits, employment records, invoices, a verified list of employers or worksites, a verified work history, answers to legal questions (called interrogatories) and deposition transcripts to verify exposure.


How to File a Personal Injury Claim Against ABB Lummus Global

A claim filing must include proof of exposure to ABB Lummus asbestos products, including claims forms, medical records, a death certificate (if applicable), employment history and other information supporting asbestos exposure.

While the ABB Lummus trust does not require the services of an attorney for a claim, many claimants choose to use an attorney. Because asbestos-related diseases take decades to appear, injured victims may have been exposed to multiple sites and may not remember them. Attorneys work with investigators who can uncover the necessary history for a successful claim.

Once the background documentation is collected, the filing process usually proceeds as follows:

  1. Trustees review the submitted information to determine if the claim is valid. If the claim is denied or determined invalid, claimants can provide more information, re-file the claim or request an individual review.
  2. Once the claim is validated, the trust establishes the settlement amount based on the scheduled value. The payment percentage is applied to all settlements.
  3. After the claimant accepts the settlement, a direct deposit can be established.

For more information about filing an ABB Lummus trust, contact us today. Our specialized asbestos attorneys help make filing a claim easier.

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Reviewed by Daniel Wasserberg

Attorney and On-Site Legal Advocate

Daniel Wasserberg was a New York metropolitan area “Super Lawyer Rising Star” from 2013 to 2018 (attorneys under age 40), and a Super Lawyer in 2019. In 2017, Daniel was named a “Top 100 Civil Litigator” by the National Trial Lawyers organization. This recognition is rarely awarded to attorneys under the age of 40. Daniel is proud to call himself a Trial Lawyer, and is often asked to speak at gatherings of the nation’s leading attorneys, from both sides of the bar.

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