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Hercules Chemical Company

The Hercules Chemical Company Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008 after it had already faced more than 15,000 asbestos-related lawsuits, with another 7,000 pending. The company’s bankruptcy trust was established in 2010 and funded with $5.9 million.

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For more than 100 years, Hercules Chemical Company manufactured innovative products used by professional plumbers and heating and air conditioner technicians in homes and businesses across the United States. Some of the company’s most well-known products contained asbestos.

When the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, it had already faced more than 15,000 asbestos-related lawsuits, with another 7,000 pending. The trust was created in 2010. Today, claimants receive 4.7% of their trust payment settlements.

What occupations did the Hercules Chemical Company list as eligible for compensation from the settlement trust?

  • Air Conditioning/Heating Manufacturing
  • Apprentice Fitter
  • Apprentice Plumber
  • Asbestos Worker
  • B&B Mechanic
  • Boiler Coverers
  • Boiler Inspector
  • Boiler Insulator
  • Boiler Mechanic
  • Boiler Mechanic Helper
  • Boiler Operator
  • Boiler Plant Operator
  • Boiler Repair
  • Boiler Supervisor
  • Boiler Technician
  • Boiler Tender
  • Boiler Tester
  • Boiler Washer
  • Boiler Worker
  • Boilermaid
  • Boilermaker
  • Boilermaker Helper
  • Boilermaker Supervisor
  • Boiler Manufacturing Plant Worker
  • Brick Gang
  • Brick Layer
  • Brick Room Helper
  • Brickman
  • Brick Mason
  • Right Item 5
  • Building Maintenance
  • Burner Helper
  • Burner Installer
  • Burner Repairman
  • Carpenter
  • Cement Finisher
  • Construction Laborer
  • Construction Mechanic
  • Construction Worker
  • Contractor
  • Custodian
  • Fireman
  • Firewatcher
  • First Assistant Engineer
  • Fitter
  • Furnace Fireman
  • Furnace Helper
  • Furnace Installer
  • Furnace Liner
  • Furnace Machinist
  • Furnace Manufacturer
  • Furnace Operator
  • Furnace Repairman
  • Furnace Top Operator
  • Gas Conversion Technician
  • Heat and Frost Maintenance Worker
  • Heat Systems Installer and Repairman
  • Heating Insulator
  • HVAC Installer
  • Industrial Process Furnaces
  • Installer Refrigeration
  • Insulation
  • Insulation Helper
  • Insulation Machinist
  • Insulation Worker
  • Insulator
  • Insulator Helper/Apprentice
  • Kiln (Tender/Builder)
  • Kiln Operator
  • Kiln Worker
  • Machinist
  • Maintenance Worker
  • Mason
  • Mason Tender
  • Master Plumber and Electrician
  • Mechanical Fitter
  • Mechanical Maintenance
  • Mechanic’s Helper
  • Millwright
  • Oil Burner
  • Oil Burner Serviceman
  • Oiler
  • Open Hearth Helper
  • Operating Engineer
  • Operating Mechanic
  • Oven Operator
  • Oven/Furnace Manufacturing Worker
  • Pipe Coverer
  • Pipe Insulator
  • Pipe Welder
  • Pipefitter
  • Pipefitter’s Helper
  • Plant Maintenance
  • Plumber
  • Plumber Mechanic
  • Plumber/pipefitter
  • Plumbing Industry
  • Power Plant Worker
  • Powerhouse Employee
  • Powerhouse Laborer
  • Powerhouse Mechanic
  • Powerhouse Operator
  • Refinery Laborer
  • Refinery Operator
  • Refractory Insulator
  • Refractory Worker
  • Sheet Metal Mechanic
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Sheet Metal Worker/Apprentice Steamfitter
  • Third Engineer
  • Third Operating Mechanic
  • Turbine Mechanic
  • Turnaround Man
  • Turnaround/Production Service Operator
  • Utility Mechanic
  • Utilityman
  • Watertender
  • Wiper
  • Working Foreman
  • Homeowner

History of Hercules Chemical

Hercules Chemical Company started in 1915 as a drainpipe solvent manufacturer. The company expanded its product line to include chemicals and solvents used in plumbing, including Sta-Put plumber’s putty. In 1999, Hercules acquired Cloroben Chemical Company, further expanding the line of plumbing products.

Other well-known Hercules products include Glub, Cobbler, Johni bolts and rings, Haymaker and Megaloc thread sealant.

When the company filed for bankruptcy protection, executives said the core business was profitable. Just before Hercules filed bankruptcy, in 2007, the company posted sales of $36.7 million. The company said the burden from asbestos liability stemmed from the manufacturing and sales of pre-mixed furnace cement from 1939 to 1983. Company executives said the product in question contained a small amount of fully encapsulated asbestos.

Exposed to Asbestos

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Hercules Evidentiary Requirements

The Hercules trust has designated five disease levels as eligible for compensation for expedited and individual reviews. Each disease level has specific evidentiary requirements, including the following:


Medical Evidence

  • A statement from a physician that at least 10 years have elapsed between initial exposure and diagnosis.
  • A physician report explaining the extent of the disease.
  • Evidence of bilateral asbestos-related nonmalignant disease.

Exposure Evidence

  • Proof of exposure to asbestos-containing products that have been manufactured, supplied, sold, distributed or marketed by Hercules.

Significant Occupational Exposure

  • Employment of at least five cumulative years, with a minimum of two years before 1986, at or near a Hercules asbestos-containing product.
  • Handled Hercules-related raw asbestosis fiber.
  • Fabricated Hercules asbestos-containing products.
  • Worked with Hercules asbestos-containing products.

Sufficiency of Evidence

  • Sworn affidavit from claimant attesting to asbestos exposure
  • Sworn statement by co-worker attesting to asbestos exposure

Hercules Settlements and Payments

Each disease level has specific values and exposure and medical criteria for compensation.

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $70,000
Lung Cancer $14,000
Other Cancer $3,900
Severe Asbestosis $6,500
Nonmalignant disease $1,100

The Hercules trust pays 4.7% of a claim settlement to ensure there will be enough money to pay all future claimants. With a 4.7% payout, claimants who are approved for a mesothelioma settlement ($70,000) will receive $3,290.

The trust has the sole discretion to determine if the claimant has serious financial need to qualify for exigent hardship.  Claims submitted as an exigent hardship must meet the medical and exposure criteria for Disease Levels II through V. An exigent hardship claim allows claimants to receive expedited funds.


Secondary Exposure Claims

Claimants who allege an asbestos disease as a result of exposure to someone who was exposed to Hercules Corporation asbestos may file a secondary exposure claim. The claimant must meet the same medical and exposure criteria as other claimants. The financial statement revealed the Hercules Chemical Company trust has paid the following:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $70,000
Lung Cancer $14,000
Colorectal Cancer $784
Esophageal Cancer $261
Sever Asbestosis $3,210
Nonmalignant $1,202

All claimants to the Hercules trust must pay a $15 filing fee. Many claimants also choose to use the services of an attorney skilled in asbestos litigation and trust fund claims. Asbestos attorneys help clients get the largest settlement possible because they understand all of the details involved in filing a trust claim.

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