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Even though A-Best Products Company stopped using asbestos in its textiles in the 1980s, the company faced scores of legal claims as a result of its negligence.  A-Best Products materials were used in companies worldwide. A-Best Products Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002.

The A-Best Products Company Asbestos Settlement Trust was established in 2004 with an estimated $18 million in assets.

History of the A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust

A-Best Products Company manufactured textiles used for safety clothing and materials that were worn and used by factory and emergency workers.

A-Best Products Company used large amounts of asbestos to make protective gear. In the manufacturing process, numerous workers had the potential for exposure, including those who mined the asbestos, made the textiles and shipped the finished products. On the user end, workers who wore A-Best Products Company protective clothing or worked with the company’s fabrics were potentially exposed. In addition, the family members of these same workers were at risk due to second-hand asbestos exposure.

A-Best stopped manufacturing asbestos-containing products in 1984, but many of them remain on the market today. The company faced more than 50,000 lawsuits before it filed bankruptcy.

Exposed to Asbestos

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A-Best Asbestos Products

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

  • Aprons
  • Gloves
  • Overalls
  • Leggings
  • Blankets
  • Coats
  • Drop cloths
  • Mittens
  • Canvas
  • Fire blankets
  • Drapes
  • Carpeting

To make asbestos textiles, workers wove the fibers into strands of cotton or rayon thread. In some cases, textiles were made from 100% asbestos. When the fabric was torn or damaged in any way, asbestos fibers were released into the air.

A-Best Products Company Occupational Exposure

When the A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust was established, trustees compiled a list of approved job sites where the company’s products were used or manufactured. The 1,075 companies on the list also represent a variety of occupations from states that include Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, California and Tennessee.

Some of the larger companies where victims experienced occupational exposure include the following:

  • AT&T>
  • Bethlehem Steel
  • Carolina Aluminum
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Electric
  • Goodyear Tire
  • Johns-Manville
  • Martin Marietta
  • RCA
  • U.S. Steel
  • Union Carbide

Occupations that are known to use asbestos cloth include:

  • Electrician
  • Firefighter/First Responder
  • Seaman
  • Gunners mate
  • Shipyard worker
  • Textile mill worker
  • Steel mill worker
  • Glassworker
  • Foundry worker

Anyone who worked in a high heat area or came into contact with caustic chemicals likely wore asbestos-containing garments. A-Best Products garments and textiles that contained asbestos were manufactured from 1971 through 1984. In some areas, the textiles may still be in use.

Litigation Against the A-Best Products Company

In the months and years leading up to the bankruptcy, A-Best defended itself against thousands of lawsuits over its asbestos use. Like most companies that used the deadly toxin, A-Best contended it did not put anyone in danger. In fact, most companies that used asbestos knew about the risks but ignored them. These companies counted on their employees not learning about the dangers.

Unlike an asbestos lawsuit, an A-Best trust settlement provides automatic compensation for mesothelioma victims if they can prove their exposure.

A-Best Asbestos Settlements and Payment Percentage

While filing a claim against the A-Best personal injury asbestos trust, claimants are placed in one of two processing queues: malignant and nonmalignant claims. For the first year after the trust opened in 2004, it only paid malignant claims. Today, the trust is paying on both types of claims.

A-Best claims are paid on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis. If claims are filed on the same date, the FIFO processing queue is determined by the claimant’s date of diagnosis. If the date of diagnosis is similar, claims are handled based on birth date, with the older claimant given priority.

Unlike a lawsuit settlement, a trust claim provides guaranteed funds for individuals who can prove their exposure to A-Best Products asbestos-containing materials. The trust established four disease levels and a value for each claim, as follows:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma (Level IV) $30,500
Lung Cancer I (Level III) $6,800
Other Cancer (Level II)  $2,800
Asbestos-related non-malignant disease $1,100

The A-Best trust also allows claims under secondary exposure. To file a successful secondary-exposure claim, the claimant must establish that the occupational-exposed person meets the exposure requirements established in one of the four disease levels.

A-Best trust, like other asbestos trusts, pays a percentage of the awarded claim. The payment percentage is continually adjusted so all claims can be paid. Initially, the A-Best payment percentage started at 3.6%. Today, A-Best trust pays 17.4%. A mesothelioma claim award of $30,500 will receive a trust payout of $5,307.

Medical and Exposure Requirements

The trust has specific instructions for claimants to follow to receive a payout. In all cases, the trust requires claimants to submit the following documentation:

  1. Evidence of occupational exposure at a worksite related to an asbestos-containing product that was manufactured or distributed by A-Best
  2. Six months of exposure to an A-Best asbestos-containing product
  3. Five years of cumulative occupation asbestos exposure
  4. A statement from a doctor proving at least 10 years has elapsed between the date of first exposure to the diagnosis or a history of exposure to establish a 10-year latency period
  5. Evidence of bilateral asbestos-related nonmalignant disease via X-rays, CT scans, pulmonary function tests, tissue samples or pathology reports

Mesothelioma (Level IV)

A-Best claimants must have a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Lung Cancer (Level III)

A-Best claimants must be diagnosed with lung cancer plus have evidence of an underlying bilateral asbestos-related nonmalignant disease.

Other Cancer (Level II)

A-Best trust claimants must have a diagnosis of primary laryngeal, colorectal, pharyngeal, esophageal or stomach cancer plus evidence of an underlying bilateral asbestos-related nonmalignant disease.

Asbestos-Related Non-Malignant Disease (Level 1)

A-Best claimants must have a diagnosis of a bilateral asbestos-related nonmalignant disease, such as restrictive lung disease, asbestosis or diffuse pleural thickening

How to File a Personal Injury Claim Against A-Best Products Company

To file a personal injury claim, individuals must submit all of the necessary documentation, which could include witness statements, labor records, union receipts, employment reviews X-rays, lab tests, medical examinations, CT scans and other records as needed by the trust. The documents must be submitted as per the trust’s requirements. The trust has the right to reject materials or ask for additional information.

An attorney is not required to file a claim against the A-Best Trust, but it is recommended. Attorneys who specialize in asbestos litigation understand the complicated process of getting a trust claim approved.

Asbestos attorneys help claimants get the necessary occupational and medical documentation to prove the case. They understand the complicated process of submitting the documents and know how best to communicate with the trust.

Many states have statutes of limitations, which limit the amount of time individuals can file a claim. On average, individuals have two years to file a claim, but the statute of limitations varies by state. Since most injured individuals and their families file claims against multiple trusts, an experienced attorney is helpful to ensure all the rules and regulations are followed.

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Written and legally 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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