Records show that company executives knew early on about the dangers of asbestos, but they chose to withhold this information from their employees and customers. Anyone who was injured by Johns Manville products or associated products is eligible to seek funding from the company’s asbestos trust.
The Johns Manville Corp. was founded for the purpose of making asbestos products for insulation and construction uses. The company started in the late 1800s when H.W. Johns Manufacturing Company, which made fire-resistant roofing, merged with Manville Covering Company, which made insulation. Together, the two companies not only made asbestos roofing materials and insulation, but also branched out to produce asbestos packing materials, acoustical products and cement.
Asbestos Exposure Risk
With asbestos products in such demand through the 1970s, the people who made and used Johns-Manville products are wide ranging, from homemakers to construction workers. The company also owned its own mines that excavated and shipped raw asbestos. The following is a small sample of the occupations that are most at risk for asbestos poisoning from Johns Manville products:
Shipyard Workers – Johns Manville insulation products were used in and around ships. Workers used asbestos-laced insulation on the ships and in shipyards but were never told about the dangers. The company’s products were also widely used in the Consolidated Steel Shipyard in Orange, Texas, where Navy destroyers were built. The ships were lined with asbestos products.
Military Veterans – In World War II, when the U.S. Navy mandated that all of its vessels be insulated with asbestos, Johns Manville provided the asbestos insulation, among other asbestos products, By the time the company branched out to fiberglass, PVC and asbestos cement pipes in 1958, sales were in excess of $1 billion.
Electricians – Johns Manville built a plant in New Hampshire for the sole purpose of manufacturing electrical insulation that would be heat and fire resistant. One of the first in the product line was Quinterras, a thin and flexible insulation sheet. Other Johns Manville products for electricians included wiring covering, insulation and gaskets.
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How was the Johns Manville Trust formed?
As early as the late 1920s, Johns Manville employees began having problems with asbestos-related lung disease, however company executives knew about the asbestos-cancer connection long before that. By the 1960s, Johns-Manville faced thousands of disease-related individual and class action lawsuits.
In 1982, Johns-Manville filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust began operating in 1987. It currently contains $2.5 billion. Since the trust began in 1988, it has received nearly one million personal-injury claims. The Johns Manville Corp. was the first company to file for bankruptcy to limit liability from asbestos-related personal injury lawsuits.
Johns Manville Asbestos Products
The company was built on asbestos being a cheap, easy-to-use and resilient mineral. That means it was mix, weaved, stirred and combined with scores of materials. The following is some of the products made by Johns Manville:
Asbestotle Flashing – Asbestos shingles were just a few applications of Johns-Manville products used in and around homes across the country. Some records show that the company used asbestos in its products until the early 1980’s, meaning that there could be many Johns-Manville asbestos products on homes today.
Transite – Asbestos was mixed into cement to create a stronger water pipe and boards. These were used in municipal water systems across the nation. One report showed that asbestos was released in the water system through these pipes.
Vulcabestos insulation – The company made a wide range of asbestos-based insulation products. In the early years, Johns Manville benefited from the military use aboard naval vessels. In the later years, asbestos-insulation was used in homes and businesses.
Johns Manville Trust Distribution
The Johns-Manville trust claims are paid at 6.25 percent. That means that claimants are getting 6.25 percent of their requested amounts. The compensation in the Johns-Manville trust, as with other asbestos trusts, is limited to ensure all claimants get a share of the funds.
Early on, Johns Manville paid out 100 percent of claims in a first-in, first-out order. When trustees realized the funds were being quickly depleted, the payout schedule was restructured. Payout percentages are revised every few years.
Johns Manville Asbestos History
Johns Manville started in 1858 on the sole idea of using asbestos for fire, heat and chemical proofing. By 1974, the company had $1 billion in sales, unheard of for that era. At the same time, workers were getting sick.
In 1929, 11 workers sued for asbestos exposure and settled for $30.000. In the following decades, court rules over asbestos liability tended favorably to Johns Manville. When overwhelming medical evidence showed a connection between the mineral and disease, the company was hit by an increasing number of court rulings. By 1982, the company was shelling out about $2 million a month in legal fees to defend itself from asbestos claims.
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- Kay, Tiffany. .Travelers Ordered to Pay $500 Million to Johns Manville Asbestos Victims.. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-16/travelers-must-pay-for-johns-manville-s-asbestos-settlements-judge-rules.html
- Epstein, Sue. .$90.5 million awarded to 11 Manville families who lost members to asbestos-related cancer.. Retrieved from http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2014/07/905_million_awarded_to_11_manville_families_who_lost_members_to_asbestos-related_cancer.html
- Freedman, Samuel G. “The town Manville built has mixed feelings; The Talk of Manville.” The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1982/09/01/nyregion/the-town-manville-built-has-mixed-feelings-the-talk-of-manville.html
- Korris, Steve. “A lesson in history: Founder of bankrupt Johns Manville died of asbestos-related illness.” The Madison Record. Retrieved from http://madisonrecord.com/stories/510559967-a-lesson-in-history-founder-of-bankrupt-johns-manville-died-of-asbestos-related-illness