When the first wave of asbestos-related litigation began in the 1970s, thermal insulation manufacturer Fibreboard defended Plant Insulation from legal claims. Plant Insulation was the exclusive distributor for Fibreboard Company.

By the late 1980s, Plant Insulation’s insurers started pulling back its coverage of asbestos claims. By the time Plant Insulation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company had thousands of pending claims.

History of the  Plant Insulation Company Trust

The Plant Insulation Company incorporated on March 23, 1937, as an insulation contractor that installed and removed insulating products. From the late 1940s through 1990, Plant Insulation held an exclusive contract with Fibreboard Company to distribute its Pabco and CalTemp brands of high-temperature block and pipe insulation.

Through 1971, the Fibreboard products contained asbestos. Plant Insulation stopped installing Fibreboard’s asbestos-containing products in 1972. However, Plant Insulation continued to maintain, repair, remove and displace other asbestos-containing products.

In 2001, Plant Insulation stopped working under its own name and transferred its operation to the newly formed Bayside Insulation and Construction. Bayside was owned by Shahram Ameli, who had a 49 percent interest in Plant Insulation.

When Plant Insulation was ready to file for bankruptcy protection, the asbestos claimants formed a committee that demanded the company merge with Bayside. The merger would provide claimants with easier access to trust fund compensation.

Exposed to Asbestos

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Plant Insulation Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was used in insulation to make the products resistant to heat and fire. The fine and lightweight fibers were woven into other materials to create insulation.

Asbestos was found to be useful in insulation and was used across a variety of settings, from homes to military vessels. During World War II, the U.S. Navy found asbestos to be so effective, military leaders ordered it be used in all vessels to protect against fire and extreme heat.


Plant Insulation Asbestos-Containing Products

Plant Insulation distributed, installed, repaired and removed asbestos insulation for decades despite the known dangers. There are several common types of insulation:

  • Block insulation – Block insulation is formed into solid bricks of insulation and can be carved and trimmed to meet a shape. Also known as rigid insulation, block insulation was popular in shipbuilding.
  • Loose fill insulation – Commonly used in walls, attics and floors, loose insulation can repel heat or cold.
  • Insulation wrappings – Insulation wraps were used on pipes, electrical wiring and other surfaces where a wrapped product would best adhere. Even today, pipes across the United States remain wrapped in asbestos-containing insulation.
  • Spray-on insulation – Insulation was mixed with other chemicals to create a slurry that was sprayed onto irregular-shaped areas. Spray-on insulation was commonly used in ship hulls and on steel beams.

High-Risk Occupations

Since asbestos was used in products that Plant Insulation used, anyone who worked in or near the company’s warehouses are at risk for asbestos contamination.

Workers who face the most significant risk for exposure are employed in the industrial industry, including factories, power plant, refineries and other industrial job sites.

Other professions that are at high risk of developing asbestos-related diseases include the following:

  • Electrician
  • Construction worker
  • Insulator
  • Pipefitters
  • Military veterans
  • Longshoremen
  • Welders
  • Laborers
  • Drywallers
  • Demolition workers

The Plant Insulation trust identified several locations in California that have an increased chance for asbestos exposure due to its products. The trust ranked as very high (8), high (27), standard (58), low (93) and very low(81). Some of the sites include the following:

Very High Asbestos Exposure

  • Aerojet-General Corporation (Nimbus)
  • Union Carbide Georgia-Pacific (Elk Grove)
  • Phillips Petroleum (Avon)
  • Plant Asbestos Company (Emeryville and San Francisco)
  • Tidewater Refinery (Avon)

High Asbestos Exposure

  • Stauffer Chemical (Martinez)
  • Campbell Soup Company (Sacramento)
  • Exxon Refinery (Benicia)
  • Fibreboard (Antioch)
  • IBM (San Jose)

Standard Asbestos Exposure

  • Judson Steel (Emeryville)
  • Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical (Moss Landing)
  • Bankline Oil Company (Bakersfield)
  • C&H Sugar Refinery (Crockett)
  • California Department of Corrections (Vacaville)

Low Asbestos Exposure

  • AEC Lawrence (Livermore)
  • Allied Chemical (Port Chicago)
  • Camp Parks (Pleasanton)
  • Chrysler Corporation (Los Angeles)
  • Chabot College (Hayward)

Very Low Asbestos Exposure

  • Chevron Oil (Richmond)
  • Kaiser Steel (Fontana)
  • Lucky Lager Brewery (San Francisco)
  • Peralta Hospital (Vernon)
  • Travis Air Force Base (Travis)

Plant Insulation Asbestos Settlements & Payment Percentage

The Plant Insulation trust, like other asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, was created to compensate people injured by the reckless use of asbestos. Although the dangers of asbestos were known in the early 1930s, corporations purposely deceived workers and the general public for higher profits.

According to the 2019 trust’s annual report, the trust received 840 claims during the year. Offers were issued to 448 claimants, and 467 claims were paid. As of December 2019, the total amount paid for Plant Insulation claims was $55,477,329.

The following is the number of claims paid in 2019 per disease level:

Disease Level Number or Claims
Grade II Non-Malignant 97
Grade I Non-Malignant 81
Grade I Non-Malignant Enhanced Asbestosis 31
Grade I Non-Malignant Serious Asbestosis 53
Other Cancer 19
Other Organ Cancer 5
Lung Cancer 81
Mesothelioma 100
Totals 467

The trust processes claims by starting with a base value for the disease level, as follows:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $512,000
Lung Cancer $108,000
Other Cancers $32,731
Grade I non-malignant $41,815
Grade I non-malignant $24,957

The amount awarded is increased or decreased based on various factors, including the claimant’s age, location of exposure, economic losses and medical and funeral expenses.

The average value of a Plant Insulation trust claim is as follows:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $650,000
Lung Cancer $250,000
Other Cancers $95,000
Grade I non-malignant $65,000
Grade I non-malignant $27,000

Like other asbestos trust funds, the Plant Insulation trust pays only a percentage of the claims valuation matrix to provide for all current and future claimants. As of May 2019, the trust pays 11.5% of claim values.
With an 11.5% payment percentage, the base value of a mesothelioma claim is $58,972.


Medical and Exposure Requirements

The Plant Insulation trust, like other asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, was created to compensate people injured by the reckless use of asbestos. Although the dangers of asbestos were known in the early 1930s, corporations purposely deceived workers and the general public for higher profits.

According to the 2019 trust’s annual report, the trust received 840 claims during the year. Offers were issued to 448 claimants, and 467 claims were paid. As of December 2019, the total amount paid for Plant Insulation claims was $55,477,329.

All of the diseases have the same baseline medical requirements to be eligible for a base claim as follows:

  • A diagnosis of the asbestos-related illnesses by a pulmonologist, pathologist, internist or occupational medicine physician.
  • The injured person was aged 75 at death, had a spouse and no other dependents at the time of death.
  • The claimant’s lost earnings, pension, social security and other totals $204,816 annually.
  • The medical and funeral expenses total $210,125.
  • The injured person’s exposure comes from occupations in shipyards, refineries, power plants or other sites established by the trust.
  • The latency period between the date of initial exposure and diagnosis was at least ten years.

With the baseline information, the trust makes adjustments above or below the base mesothelioma value using age, level of exposure, total economic losses and medical and funeral expenses. In some disease levels (lung cancer and other cancers – laryngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia), a smoking history can affect a claim payment amount.

The trust also established standardized exposure requirements, which includes proof that Plant Insulation was present at least three months or accounted for at least 10% of the claimant’s asbestos exposure.  The trust lists more than 260 locations in California, Wyoming and Nevada where Plant Insulation was used.

In the case of a ship-related exposure, the claimant must provide evidence Plant Insulation was installed on the vessel and the claimant was exposed. It is not enough to just show Plant products were generally used in the shipyard.


How to File a Personal Injury Claim Against the Plant Insulation Company

In most cases, asbestos exposure does not happen by accident. Companies, including Plant Insulation, knew of the dangers for decades before they stopped using the toxic materials. These companies hid the hazards so they could make as many profits as possible, with no regard for worker safety.

To file a Plant Insulation asbestos exposure claim, individuals must produce medical and exposure evidence, including witness statements, employment documentation and occupational history. Since decades can elapse between exposure and disease diagnosis, the evidence may be difficult to provide. That’s where a skilled asbestos-trust attorney can help.

Asbestos-trust attorneys understand all of the details regarding filing a trust, including the type of documentation needed, deadlines and appeals information, if required. An attorney’s services are not mandatory for filing a Plant Insulation asbestos products trust claim, but skilled attorneys make the process quicker and easier, in most cases. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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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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