Looking to see if you qualify for compensation?

Find Out Now

By the 1980s, HK Porter was facing more than 100,000 asbestos-related lawsuits (including personal injury, property damage and wrongful death) and paid more than $200 million asbestos legal settlements. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1991.

The H.K. Porter asbestos trust was launched in 1998 with $77 million. The trust pays a 4% payment percentage.

H.K. Porter, Inc. History

H.K. Porter started in 1866 as a small machine shop in Pittsburgh that built and repaired industrial equipment. In a matter of years, the company, started by Henry Kirke Porter and John Y. Smith, was the largest producer of industrial locomotives in the United States.

H.K. Porter Inc. locomotives were in demand because they were smaller than the competitor’s trains and could be operated by a single engineer. The company made the first gas-powered locomotive and developed the first fireless engine to replace steam-engine boilers. H.K. Porter Company became the third largest locomotive manufacturer in the United States. H.K. Porter used asbestos liberally throughout the parts on its locomotives as an insulator to protect from excessive heat and possible fire.

The company manufactured its last locomotive in 1950 but went on to manufacture products for the shipbuilding industry. Porter also acquired other companies that sold, manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing products, including the following:

  • Asbestos Manufacturing Company (AMCO
  • Carolina Asbestos Company
  • LaClede Christy Company
  • Pacific Asbestos
  • Russell Manufacturing Company
  • Southern Asbestos Company
  • Tailman McClusky Fabrics Co.
  • Thermoid Corp

Exposed to Asbestos

See if you qualify for compensation from the H.K. Porter Asbestos Trust

Get Help Now

HK Porter Asbestos Exposure

Since HK Porter Company used asbestos for decades, workers and their family members are at high risk for deadly exposure in several ways:

Occupational Exposure

During the early years of the company, H.K. Porter produced smaller (also known as light) locomotives for specialized industrial tasks, including mining, sugar growing and canal building. Once the locomotive market dwindled, Porter redirected its focus and acquired other companies. By the late 1950s, Porter operated 49 rubber, steel and electrical device plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Some of the occupations that are vulnerable to H.P. Porter asbestos include:

  • Asbestos products manufacturers
  • Boilermakers
  • Canal diggers
  • Carpenters
  • Cement plant workers
  • Chemical plant workers
  • Coal miners
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Factory workers
  • Firefighters
  • Furnace and kiln operators
  • Insulators
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning workers
  • Machinists
  • Metalworkers
  • Miners
  • Pipefitters
  • Plasters
  • Plumbers
  • Powerhouse workers
  • Railroad mechanics
  • Roofers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Steelworkers
  • Sugar plantation workers
  • Toolmakers
  • Welders

Products and Distinctions

While the early years of H.K. Porter were focused on building locomotives, the company did not use asbestos directly in train manufacturing. Instead, Porter used asbestos-containing parts in its trains, including pipe insulation, water tanks, gaskets, brakes and brake pads, steam valves and fireproof cloth.

When Porter acquired other companies, the line of asbestos-containing goods multiplied to include yard, compounds, tape, felt, canvas, tools, sheeting, disc brakes, refractory materials, ducting and packing materials.

Secondary Exposure

Since companies never told workers about the dangers associated with asbestos or gave them protective gear, they unwittingly brought asbestos into their homes. Secondary exposure predominately impacts the spouses and children of asbestos-exposed workers, although it can affect anyone who shared a living space with the worker.
Secondary exposure goes by several names:

  • Second-hand exposure
  • Paraoccupational exposure
  • Domestic exposure
  • Take-home exposure
  • Household expsoure
  • Indirect exposure

Even though the risk of secondary exposure is lower than that of direct occupational exposure, it is still a severe threat – about 10% of victims are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease after contact with an exposed worker. Victims of second-hand exposure are eligible for compensation through asbestos trusts.


H.K. Porter Litigation

H.K. Porter Co. faced lawsuits from individuals, businesses and governmental agencies as a result of decades of asbestos use. In one case, a public school district sued H.K. Porter and several other companies after asbestos was discovered in buildings. The school district administrators wanted Porter and the other companies to cover the cost of remediation and building reconstruction. Porter and the other companies lost on appeal and were forced to pay for repairs.

In addition, thousands of workers and their family members filed lawsuits against the company. Like most companies of the time, H.K. Porter kept secret the dangers of asbestos exposure to ensure they would make the most profits possible. When scientists and physicians demanded the information be public, workers found out about the risks. By that time, it was too late for many – they had been exposed.


Eligibility

Unlike other asbestos trusts, H.K. Porter compensates victims of only four disease levels: mesothelioma, lung cancer, other cancer and non-malignancy. Other trusts compensate up to eight disease levels.

To be eligible for an H.K. Porter asbestos claim settlement, asbestos victims must provide the following information:

Proof of the disease

Claimants must submit at least one report from a qualified physician with information regarding the appropriate diagnosis (mesothelioma, lung cancer, other cancer and non-malignancy). The trustees may require additional documentation, such as x-rays, lab tests and medical exam reports. The trustees expect the submitted evidence to comply with recognized medical standards regarding testing methods, equipment and procedures.

More specifically, the Porter trust requires the following medical evidence:

Mesothelioma

A claim for mesothelioma must include a pathology or operative report that indicates a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Lung cancer

A claim of asbestos-related lung cancer must include the following:

  • A pathology report or operative report indicating a definitive diagnosis of primary asbestos-related lung cancer.
  • A diagnosis of a pleural or parenchymal (lung tissue) asbestos-related disease, or
  • An opinion from a qualified doctor attributing the lung cancer to asbestos exposure, or
  • At least ten years of documented occupational exposure to asbestos-containing materials.

If there is an indication the original site of the cancer was not the lungs, the claim may not be categorized as an asbestos-related lung cancer.

Other cancer

A cancer claim must include a qualified physician’s report demonstrating the existence of primary pharynx, gastrointestinal or larynx cancer. The claim must also include either:

  • A diagnosis of a pleural or parenchymal (lung tissue) asbestos-related disease, or
  • An opinion from a qualified doctor attributing the lung cancer to asbestos exposure, or
  • At least ten years of documented occupational exposure to asbestos-containing materials.

If there is an indication the original site of the cancer was not the pharynx, gastrointestinal tract or larynx, the claim may not be categorized as an asbestos-related other cancer.

Non-malignancy (asbestosis or similar)

A claim for a non-malignant disease must include a chest x-ray, narrative report, hospital records or radiology report showing pleural thickening, pleural plaques, pulmonary asbestosis or severely decreased lung functions.

All claims are categorized based on the submitted evidence. In some cases, trustees may require additional medical information to process the file.

Proof of exposure

Claimants must provide evidence of exposure, including information regarding job sites, occupation, dates of employment and other details.

The trust also pays exigent health claims for individuals who suffered severe financial hardship due to Porter asbestos exposure and a resulting disease. The trust requires the following information to qualify:

  • Documentation from a qualified physician that shows a diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease
  • A legal affidavit from the physician stating the claimant will not survive beyond six months. The affidavit must be from a physician who examined the claimant within the previous 120 days.

The trustees reserve the right to modify the required documents for additional medical or exposure information.


H.K. Porter Trust Compensation and Payouts

The H.K. Porter trust acknowledges its use of asbestos by compensating victims based on the disease level. The trust pays two types of claims:

Expedited claims

When a Porter trust claim is determined to qualify for a settlement, victims receive a single cash payment equal to the current payment percentage, which is 4%.

The base settlement amounts for expedited claims are as follows:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $20,000
Lung Cancers $12,000
Other Cancers $7,500
Non-malignancy $3,750

When the 4% payment percentage is factored, a mesothelioma victim will receive $800. With the proper documentation, victims have the right to file claims on asbestos bankruptcy trust funds from multiple companies.

Non-Expedited claims

Claimants with serious or fatal Porter asbestos injuries are eligible for an individual review of their injuries. Those deemed eligible will receive a single cash payment equal to the current payment percentage:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $40,000
Lung Cancers $24,000
Other Cancers $15,000
Non-malignancy $7,500

When the 4% payment percentage is factored, a mesothelioma victim will receive $1,600.

Once a claim is approved, trustees have 30 days to make a payment.

Contact us today if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease related to H.K. Porter asbestos. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Find Out if you Qualify

Fill out our quick form and see if you qualify for trust fund compensation

Check Now

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.

Learn More

Sources