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Keene filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1993.  In 1996, the Keene Corp asbestos trust was established with $45 million.

The Keene Corp trust opened paying 1.1%, but the payment percentage was reduced to 0.8% in 2010.

Keene Corporation History

Opened originally as the Keene Packaging Corp in 1967, the Keene Corp. found success in selling insulation and fireproofing products. Over the years, the company ventured into industrial bearings, microcircuits and light fixtures.

As Keene grew and expanded, the company assumed new business products, including fireproofing materials from the Ehret Magnesia Manufacturing Company. Keene stopped using asbestos in its products in 1972 but was already facing a landslide of asbestos-related litigation.

Exposed to Asbestos

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Keene Corp. Asbestos Products

In the earliest years of the company, Keene Corp. sold heat-sealed plastic packaging. As the company expanded, so did its product line. Through the merger with Ehret Magnesia Manufacturing Company, Keene started selling thermal insulations and construction supplies.

Some of the more popular Keene Corp asbestos products came as a result of the merger with Ehret Magnesia Manufacturing Company and others. The asbestos-containing products include:

  • Baldwin Mono-Block asbestos covering
  • Ehret Air Cell
  • Ehret Asbestos corrugated paper
  • Ehret Asbestos Millboard
  • Ehret Asbestos Paper
  • Ehret Asbestos sponge Felt
  • Ehret Asbestos Wick and Rope
  • Ehret Durocel insulation
  • Ehret Enduro High-Temperature Blocks
  • Ehret Fibrekote
  • Ehret’s 85% Covering
  • Mono-block insulating cement
  • Miners
  • Number One insulating cement
  • Pyrospray acoustical insulation
  • Thermalite pipe insulation
  • Thermasil asbestos block
  • Thermasil insulating cement
  • Valley Forge asbestos sheets, packings and gaskets

Occupational Exposure

Since Keene Corp. manufactured and sold such a wide range of asbestos-containing products, workers of all kinds were exposed. Workers employed at the Keene Corp. headquarters or factories before 1971 are at a high risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. Also, family members of the workers are at risk from second-hand exposure.

Keen Corp. job titles for the workers who could have been asbestos-exposed include:

  • Air conditioner repairer
  • Asbestos remover
  • Boiler operator
  • Burner installer
  • Carpenters
  • Construction workers
  • Drywall taper
  • Electricians
  • Engineer
  • Engineman
  • Firefighter
  • Foreman
  • Foundry worker
  • Insulator
  • Kiln worker
  • Military veteran (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard)
  • Plumbers
  • Repairer
  • Welder

The Keene trust identified 1,415 locations that are known for Keene asbestos exposure. The list does not include all of the sites with Keene asbestos-containing products, but it provides insight into the companies where exposure is possible. The sites were located across the United States, from New York to California.

The list includes businesses, schools and military vessels, to name a few:

  • American Express
  • Anheuser Busch
  • Bethlehem Shipyard
  • DuPont
  • Frankfort High School
  • Kings County Hospital
  • Marathon Oil Company
  • Starkist Foods
  • U.S. Naval Academy
  • U.S. Steel
  • USS Havana
  • USS Richard Peck
  • Wellesley College
  • West Point Military Academy
  • Whirlpool
  • Yale University

Keene Corporation Lawsuits

Keene was hit with asbestos-related lawsuits in the early 1970s. In the early 1980s, the Keene created Bairnco Corp, a holding company for the numerous Keene acquisitions. While Keene was able to dispose of 2,425 asbestos cases in 1981, Bairnco was still saddled with nearly 9,000 cases. Even after Bairnco split with the Keene Corp. in the 1990s, the tide of asbestos claims kept coming.

In one of the cases, the family of Henry Tragarz, a former sheet metal worker, said he was exposed to Thermasil block insulation at various job sites through the 1970s. Tragarz’s family said he never handled asbestos himself but was within proximity to it for years. Tragarz died of pleural mesothelioma. A jury awarded Tragarz’s family $3 million, holding Keene and other companies liable.

In another case, George Coffman, an electrician, and eight other defendants said they were exposed to Keene asbestos-containing products while working at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. The jury found Keene and other companies were responsible for Coffman’s illness. Coffman was awarded $406,000.

Facing nearly 100,000 similar lawsuits, the Keene Creditors Trust was created. The trust has funds to pay current and future claimants.


Apply for Keene Corp Compensation

The Keene trust established seven diseases that qualify for a personal injury claim:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung Cancer, Level II
  • Lung Cancer, Level I
  • Other Cancer
  • Severe Asbestos Disease
  • Asbestosis/Pleural Disease, Level II
  • Asbestosis/Pleural Disease, Level I

Each of the disease levels has corresponding medical evidence that must be proven before an individual is eligible for compensation:

  • Category 1: Mesothelioma

    • Diagnosis of mesothelioma
    • Credible evidence of exposure to Keene asbestos-containing products
  • Category 2: Lung Cancer, Level II

    • Diagnosis of primary lung cancer with evidence of an underlying nonmalignant asbestos-related disease
    • Six months of occupational exposure to Keene asbestos-containing products
    • Supporting medical documentation
  • Category 3: Lung Cancer, Level I

    • Diagnosis of primary lung cancer
    • Occupational exposure to Keene asbestos-containing products
    • Supporting medical documentation
    • Lung Cancer, Level 1 claims are claims that do not meet the more stringent requirements of Lung Cancer, Level II. The anticipated average value of a Lung Cancer, Level I individual claim is $13,700.
  • Category 4: Other Cancer

    • Diagnosis of primary colorectal, gastrointestinal, esophageal or pharyngeal cancer
    • Six months of occupational exposure to Keene asbestos-containing products
    • Supporting medical documentation
  • Category 5: Severe Asbestosis Disease

    • Diagnosis of asbestosis with specific verified lung damage
    • Six months of occupational exposure to Keene asbestos-containing products
    • Supporting medical documentation
  • Category 6: Asbestosis/Pleural Disease, Level II

    • Diagnosis of asbestosis with specific verified lung damage
    • Six months of occupational exposure to Keene asbestos-containing products
    • Supporting medical documentation
  • Category 7: Asbestosis/Pleural Disease, Level I

    • Diagnosis of a bilateral nonmalignant asbestos-related disease
    • Six months of occupational exposure to Keene asbestos-containing products plus five cumulative years of asbestos exposure

The Keene Corp trust fund processes two types of claims:

Expedited Review

The expedited review process provides a fixed payment based on the disease level and occupational exposure. The expedited review gives claimants faster access to compensation.

Independent Review

An independent review process allows trustees to review the claims based on individual circumstances. The review process may provide the claimant with a more substantial settlement amount, but the process takes longer than an expedited review.

The claims are paid based on the following schedule of values:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $125,000
Lung Cancer, Level II $41,200
Lung Cancer, Level I None
Other Cancer $21,500
Severe Asbestos Disease $41,200
Asbestosis/Pleural Disease, Level II $10,600
Asbestosis/Pleural Disease, Level I $4,800

The Keene trust currently pays a 0.8% payment percentage, which means a mesothelioma claim that meets the standards for the scheduled value of $125,000 would be compensated $1,000. Many individuals who worked in multiple locations make claims on several asbestos trust funds.

If you or a family member were exposed to asbestos on a worksite, contact us today. Our expert asbestos-cancer attorneys help victims get the compensation they deserve.

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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.

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