Celotex used raw asbestos shipped from Carey Canada. Both companies knew from about 1935 that contractors working with the branded insulation ran the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. In 1990, Celotex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after some 400,000 people injured by the company’s asbestos products filed legal claims. In 1998, the Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust was funded with $1.5 billion.
How was the Celotex Trust Formed?
Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust launched in 1996 as a result of the bankruptcies of Celotex Corp. and Carey Canada, which mined the asbestos for both companies. The companies faced 380,000 legal claims that equaled more than $200 billion. The trust was funded with some $1.5 billion. The Celotex trust set a precedent for all future trusts for claimants to show proof of exposure to specific products. Celotex manufactured products for industrial uses. Many contained asbestos because of its heat and chemical resistance.
The Celotex trust, similar to other asbestos trust funds, has a limited amount of funds and pays a set percentage of the amount requested in an effort to ensure there is enough money for all claimants. In October 2015, the Celotex trust payment increased from 6.5 percent to 7.7 percent. That means that claimants get 7.7 percent of the funds requested. This allows the trust money to be more evenly distributed among all claimants.
Exposed to Asbestos
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Celotex Asbestos Products
- Cemesto structural insulation
- Celo-Siding housing material
- Acoustic tiles
- Asphalt roof rolls
- Flexcell joint filler
- Celo-Rok Gypsum products
- Carey 7-M Asbestos Shorts
- Carey Block Insulation
- Carey firefoil board & panels
- Careyflex board
- Careytemp masonry block insulation & blocks
- Carey Industrial A/C boards
- Home builders
- Masonry workers
- Boiler workers
- Home remodelers
- Shipyard workers
- Demolition workers
Though many of these products were widely used, Cemesto was Celotex’s signature product, a composite building material made from sugar cane fiberboard surfaced on both sides with asbestos and cement. Other types of structural insulations in the product line include Celo-Siding and Carey firefoil.
Another commonly used Celotex asbestos product, Carey Block Insulation, was made from a mixture of diatomaceous earth and asbestos fiber. It was bonded together and molded in commercial-sized blocks, especially designed to insulate boilers, pipes, ovens and other high-temperature equipment.
High Risk Occupations
Celotex had at least 26 plants nationwide before the company went bankrupt in the 1990s. Even today, many of the plants still have asbestos contamination. In addition to the plant workers, everyone from delivery people to construction workers to local residents are at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. Some at-risk occupations include the following:
Most of Celotex’s manufacturing plants nationwide utilized asbestos in some form. Many of them used asbestos shipped from Canada or mines in Libby, Montana. In the past decade, Celotex plants have been linked to asbestos-related diseases. As early as 1965, the company knew that household members of those working with asbestos were at risk of developing asbestos-related injuries.
The Celotex plant in Marrero, Louisiana was a major producer of asbestos insulation. Many who lived near the plant recall seeing a thick coating of a white dusty substance that appeared to be asbestos covering properties and structures. The company also operated a gypsum board manufacturing plant in New Jersey. The company brought in about 300 tons of asbestos from mines in Libby, Montana from 1967 through 1969. Some 30,000 people living within a one-mile radius of the site are at risk for developing mesothelioma. The site is now a residential neighborhood.
Trust fund claimants who opt for a discounted cash payment receive their funds sooner than those who elect individualized review claims. Discounted cash payments are guaranteed and require less paperwork, but the amount of the payment may be less than individualized review claims.
Most asbestos victims utilize more than one asbestos trust for funds. The following is a schedule for discount cash payments per disease:
|Bilateral Pleural Disease||$350|
Celotex was also found responsible for widespread asbestos use in New York City. In a landmark 2007 court decision, the trust was ordered to pay more than $40 million for 400 claims by New York City for asbestos in schools and other buildings.
Celotex came under legal fire in 1990 after 400,000 people filed claims against the company. One notable case set a strong precedent for future plaintiffs.
Marion George was awarded damages from Celotex as a result of her husband’s demise after being exposed to asbestos. The plaintiff initially sued 16 other companies, all of whom settled besides Celotex. Celotex was ordered to pay a sum of $588,000 and as a result, Celotex tried to appeal the ruling, but was unsuccessful.
This case, as well as the 400,000 other claims, led to Celotex’s chapter 11 bankruptcy filings.
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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.Learn More
- Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust. Retrieved from http://www.celotextrust.com
- Houston Business Journal. “With bankruptcy hurdle cleared, Celotex will shutter local operations.” Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/1998/01/19/story6.html?page=all
- OpenJurist.com. “914 F. 2d 26 – Marion George v. The Celotex Corporation” Retrieved from http://openjurist.org/914/f2d/26