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By 2000, GAF faced more than 70,000 asbestos-related personal injury lawsuits. As a result, GAF’s parent company, G-I Holdings, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which allowed the company to eliminate its debts and reorganize. By December 2005, filing documents in that bankruptcy case cited that the number of asbestos claims against GAF and G-I Holdings had reached over 500,000 claims.
GAF Corp. opened in the early 1940s as the U.S. branch of a German chemical manufacturer, but, after a series of mergers and acquisitions, became a leading manufacturer of commercial and residential construction products.
The company, which was originally known as General Aniline and Film Corporation, manufactured products that included decorative stone, insulation, decking materials, specialty fabrics and railings as well as photographic equipment including cameras and film. Many of the products contained asbestos. GAF also took ownership of an asbestos mine in Virginia through acquisition, which further added to its personal-injury liabilities.
High Risk Occupations
Employees of GAF companies and subsidiaries are at risk for asbestos-related diseases due to the large concentrations of the toxic material used in products. The following are the GAF occupations that are likely to have an increased probability for asbestos exposure:
- Construction worker
- Asbestos miner
- Insulation installer
- HVAC/air conditioning/heating repair workers
- Siding Contractors
In addition, anyone who resided with someone who worked in or near GAF/Ruberoid products is at risk for asbestos-related diseases. Such second-hand exposure is common among the wives, husbands and children of workers.
Exposed to Asbestos
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How was G-I Holdings Formed?
In the 1930s, IG Farben, a German-based chemical conglomeration also known as I.G. Dyes, opened a branch in the United States. After several mergers and acquisition through the late 1930s, American IG became General Aniline and Film (GAF) Corporation.
During World War II in the 1940s, the U.S. government seized control of GAF due to its strong ties with the Nazi regime in Germany. In 1965, after the U.S. government oversight ended, GAF purchased the Ruberoid Corporation roofing company, which later became a GAF subsidiary. Through the 1980s housing boom, GAF grew and became known as G-I Holdings. The company’s roofing products line led to a spin-off company called Building Materials Corp.
Despite early financial successes, GAF assumed a mass amount of asbestos liability from Ruberoid, including an asbestos mine. Although the mine closed in the 1970s, GAF was liable in thousands of asbestos-related injuries.
In 1985, GAF was one of 50 asbestos and insurance companies that founded the Asbestos Claims Facility, a nonprofit claims center that was created to minimize litigation costs and settle asbestos-related claims. Even though the Asbestos Claims Facility eventually folded due to internal strife, GAF continued to focus on settling asbestos claims through the Center for Claims Resolution, which also sought to settle asbestos claims.
By 2001, when parent company G-I Holdings filed for bankruptcy, GAF had settled about 500,000 asbestos claims, totaling about $1.5 billion.
The G-I Holdings trust, like other asbestos personal injury trusts, pays a percentage of the requested amount so all current and future claimants have an equal chance for compensation. As of 2011, the G-I Holdings trust pays 7.4 percent on the dollar.
Asbestos Exposure for Workers
GAF’s Ruberoid company used asbestos in its roofing and construction products due to its high insulating properties. The products were widely used in residential and commercial settings.
With the acquisition of Ruberoid, GAF took ownership of the Belvidere Mountain mine, which was the largest Chrysotile asbestos mine in the United States. Although GAF closed the mine shortly after the purchase, GAF was still responsible for the injuries.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice ordered G-I Holdings to assist in the remediation of the 1,673-acre abandoned mine site. G-I Holdings was ordered to secure the area around two “towering” piles of asbestos-containing mine and mill tailings, contain the dust emanating from the tailing piles and reimburse the state of Vermont for a portion of the estimated $300 million cleanup.
Settlements and Payments
Claimants seeking a settlement from the G-I Holdings Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust have two options for seeking compensation: an expedited review or an individual review. Both the expedited and individual reviews only pay a percentage of the funding requested, but the process under which the funding is distributed differs, as follows:
GAF Holdings considers the expedited review to be an “expeditious, efficient and inexpensive method” for liquidating claims. Claimants must meet medical and exposure criteria set by the trust. The trust then pays a fixed claims payment based on the disease, as follows:
|Asbestosis||Up to $8000|
Claimants, including those who hold claims in the five most serious disease levels, may elect to undergo an individual review. The individual review is intended to provide the claimant with payments equal to the full liquidation value for each claim. However, individual reviews may also determine the claimant is owed less than the scheduled value the claimant would have received under an expedited review.
An individual review takes into account the claimant’s age, level of disability, employment status, pain and suffering, number of dependents, disruption in the household, and other factors. The average scheduled value for individual reviews are as follows:
|Asbestosis||Up to $8000|
GAF Asbestos-Containing Products
The G-I Holdings products line has asbestos-containing products that date into the 1920s. At this point, products were manufactured primarily under the GAF Corporation brand, and they produced many asbestos products, including:
- Roofing, Shingles, Base Felt, and Siding
- Floor Tiles
- Cements, Adhesives, Plasters, and Coatings
- Pipe Covering and Pipes
- Raw Asbestos Fiber
- Asbestos Paper and Cloth
Specific branded products from GAF that contained asbestos include the following:
- Calsilite-Hi and Calsilite SS – Thermal insulation manufactured through the 1970s.
- Supercell – Pipe covering manufactured through the 1940s.
- Luran Regency, Airtred and Imperial – Sheet vinyl floor coverings manufactured through 1981.
- Cement Roofing Shingles – Rock-like shingles manufactured through 1978.
- T/NA100 and T/NA200 – Paper and plastic film manufactured through 1972.
- Aristo and Imperial insulation – Insulations manufactured through the 1960s.
- Air Cell – Corrugated asbestos paper manufactured through 1958.
One of the biggest sources of asbestos poisoning is from the Ruberoid mine in Vermont. Anyone who has worked in a GAF/Ruberoid facility or asbestos mine is at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease. We help asbestos-cancer victims gain access to trust funds that can provide financial stability while undergoing medical treatments. Contact us now for more information.
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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
- Funding Universe. GAF Corporation History. Retrieved from http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/gaf-corporation-history/
- G-I Holdings Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Percentage Payment. Retrieved fromhttp://www.g-itrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/4910d14e820d8d25eea604e4f5fa9716.pdf
- U.S. Department of Justice. “Former Owner of the Largest Chrysotile Asbestos Mine and Mill in the U.S. Agrees to Address Contamination at Vermont Site.” Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-owner-largest-chrysotile-asbestos-mine-and-mill-us-agrees-address-contamination
- G-I Holdings Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Second Amended Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust Distribution Procedures. Retrieved fromhttp://www.g-itrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/4d527ef83b5af315226304f14b2b99bb.pdf