The Artra Group Asbestos Trust was created as a result of Artra acquiring the Synkoloid Company, a New Jersey-based paint, varnish, adhesive and asphalt manufacturer. Synkoloid used high levels of asbestos in its product line between 1949 and 1976.

The Artra Group filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002 as a result of overwhelming asbestos claims. The courts approved the trust in 2007, with about $74 million to pay claimants.

Artra Asbestos Trust History

Artra’s history with asbestos began in 1975 when the company purchased Synkoloid, which manufactured dozens of asbestos-containing products. Artra, which had underestimated the huge asbestos liability it would face, became financially responsible for injuries caused by Synkoloid’s asbestos products.

In 1981, the Muralo Company purchased Synkoloid but refused to take responsibility for past asbestos claims. By late 2000, Artra was facing more than 46,000 Synkoloid asbestos lawsuits. Muralo contributed $2.5 million to the Artra trust to cover some of the liabilities. The remaining funding for the trust came from insurance companies.

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Synkoloid Asbestos Products

The earliest Synkoloid products, including joint compounds and spackles, were sold in powder form to be reconstituted with water. Asbestos exposure happened to unwitting Synkoloid product users from the dry powder form. The following Synkoloid goods have been identified by the trust to contain asbestos:

  • Tex-Wall
  • EZE-Tex
  • Prime ‘N Fill
  • Snohide
  • Plastibond
  • Surface Conditioner
  • Cement Patch Tex-Add
  • Vinyl Prep Mix
  • Flexi Patch
  • Kool-Kap
  • Vinyl Tex-Wall
  • Vinyl Prime ‘N Fill
  • Vinyl Roof Paint
  • Triple Duty Joint Compound Synko-Topping

Even though Synkoloid products containing asbestos have not been produced for years, many remain in homes and businesses today. Products that were used years ago for repairs become dry and brittle. The asbestos-containing product becomes friable (easily crumbled), which increases the risk of exposure.

To qualify for an Artra trust payment, claimants must prove they came into contact with one of the above products before Jan. 1, 1983. Claimants must document their occupation and industry where the Artra exposure occurred.


High-Risk Industries & Occupations

Synkoloid’s products were primarily used on residential and commercial jobs sites meaning that anyone coming into contact with materials on these sites could have been exposed. The main jobs that were at the highest risk of asbestos exposure include:

  • Painters
  • Carpenters
  • Drywall Finishers
  • Plasterers

Lawsuits

Synkoloid’s use of asbestos containing products from 1949-1976 resulted in so many lawsuits, that eventually they were forced to file for bankruptcy. One case in particular set the tone for lawsuits against Synkoloid and partners.

John Henry Pace was a contractor from the 1960s to ‘70s, when these products were commonly being used. After Pace was diagnosed with asbestosis, an incurable lung disease, he filed the suit. During the lawsuit jurors found out that Synkoloid had been warned by suppliers about the dangers of asbestos, but did nothing. This meant that thousands continued to be exposed to these products until 1975.

Pace was awarded a total of $2 million for past/future mental anguish, physical suffering and future medical care.


Altra Trust Payments

The Artra trust established six asbestos-related diseases with medical and exposure requirements for compensation. All Artra trust claims are processed on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis.
Individuals seeking Artra trust compensation are eligible for one of two types of reviews:

Individuals who filed for an expedited review must submit specific information including medical records, doctor’s reports and proof of exposure. Claimants learn the results of their financial request within 90 days of submission. Artra established the following settlement amounts:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma 275,000
Lung Cancer $40,000
Other Cancer $10,000
Severe Asbestosis $40,000
Asbestosis/Pleural Disease $6,000
Other Asbestos Diseases $1,000

Artra Individual Claim Review

Individual reviews are used when an expedited claim is denied or the claimant is seeking a larger settlement. In an individual review, trustees examine detailed information about the claimant including:

  • Exposure evidence and disease metastasis
  • Consequences of illness on family
  • Impact of illness on claimant
  • Financial aftermath due to lost work and medical bills

The trust has 120 days to reject or approve the individual-review claim. If the claim is approved, trustees determine the settlement amount based on the severity of the disease.

Like other asbestos trusts, Artra set a payment percentage so all claims can be paid fairly and equitably. When the Artra trust launched, the payment percentage was set at 7.5%. When the payment percentage is applied to a $275,000 mesothelioma claim, the payment would be $20,625.


How to File Artra Claim

Anyone who suspects they have been exposed to Synkoloid’s asbestos-containing products and diagnosed with an associated disease should file a claim to the Artra trust. The funds in the trust have been set aside to help victims financially. Trust fund settlements can be used to pay household bills, medical bills or any other expenses.

Since filing an Artra claim can be confusing, many claimants choose to use an attorney with experience handling asbestos trusts. These attorneys guide families through the complicated process to get the financial compensation they are deserved. Attorneys help claimants understand their legal and financial rights regarding trust payments.

Contact us today for a free consultation with an attorney who understands the intricacies of an asbestos claim.

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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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