Most of the asbestos-related lawsuits filed against RPM result from the Bondex products, which contained the toxic materials until the early 1980s. In 2010, Bondex and its holding company Specialty Products Holding Corp. (SPHC) filed for bankruptcy, facing about 20,000 asbestos-related lawsuits and an estimated $1.6 billion in liabilities. The trust was opened with $797.5 million and pays a percentage amount of 22%.Find Out If You Qualify for Compensation
Republic Powdered Metals (RPM) began in 1947 to manufacture the rustproof and weatherproof aluminum roof coating Alumanation, which is still sold today. While RPM, based in Ohio, grew in the coming decades through acquisitions and expansions, none were quite as significant as the purchase of Reardon Company in 1966. Reardon manufactured Bondex, a household patch and repair product made with asbestos materials.
In the years between 2000 and 2010, RPM paid out $598 million in asbestos lawsuit settlements and awards to plaintiffs in Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Maryland, Ohio and Texas.
During the bankruptcy proceedings, the company initially planned to put $135 million in trust for current and future claimants. The judge, however, said the onslaught of claimants showed the company needed to put $1.2 billion in trust. Eventually, the trust was funded with $797.5 million, which represents a compromise between the company and the courts.
Under the terms of the bankruptcy settlement, the trust was initially funded with $450 million. In the three years that followed, RPM was instructed to add $102.5 million, $120 million and $125 million in cash, RPM stock or both.
In December 2019, the trust announced that claimants diagnosed with RPM mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease before May 2010 had until January 15, 2020, to file a claim.
Today, RPM is a publicly traded company that goes under the name RPM International. The company, which manufactures coatings, sealants and chemicals, operates 139 facilities around the world and employs about 14,000 people.
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RPM began defending itself against Bondex asbestos litigation in 1980. By 1999, RPM had paid a total of $1.6 million in lawsuit awards and settlements to asbestos victims.
When the lawsuits jumped in 2000, the court awards skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2010, RPM paid between $43 million and nearly $83 million each year in asbestos awards. Some of the legal losses for RPM include:
RPM paid almost $93 million in asbestos-litigation costs in a one-year period that ended in May 2010. Nearly $43 million of the expense was for legal defense.
People who have the most significant risk for asbestos exposure from Bondex are those who did any form of repairs or construction, from do-it-yourself projects to homebuilding. The RPM/Bondex trust names dozens of occupations susceptible to RPM asbestos-containing products:
The trust also identified industries that are known for significant RPM asbestos exposure, including:
In addition to the RPM employees and contractors at risk for asbestos exposure, close family members and friends are also susceptible. Secondary exposure, also called take-home asbestos exposure, occurs when workers bring asbestos fibers home on their clothes or hair. Unsuspecting family members inhale the fibers during a hug or while doing laundry.
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RPM had several lines of products under many brand names, including Day-Glo, Mohawk, Kop-Coat and Chemspec. Bondex used asbestos in scores of products that were marketed under several names. All of the products were for construction applications. Some of the more popular products that fall under the RPM trust include:
Like other asbestos trusts, the RPM trust compensates asbestos-disease sufferers for related injuries. The trust established distribution procedures so claimants would be treated equally, based on the type of disease and severity. The distribution procedures provide cash settlements for eight levels of disease based on two types of review:
The expedited review delivers fast access to funds. Claimants must provide extensive documentation for a successful claim.
Once the application is completed and approved, claimants can expect to receive funding in 2 to 3 months. Claimants are paid according to the scheduled value for each disease level:
|Mesothelioma (Level VIII)||$80,000|
|Lung Cancer 1 (Level VII)||$33,333|
|Lung Cancer 2 (Level VI)||$0|
|Other Cancer (Level V)||$6,667|
|Severe Asbestosis (Level IV)||$16,667|
|Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level III)||$2,500|
|Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level II)||$800|
|Other Asbestos Disease (Level I)||$70|
Anyone turned down for an expedited review or who wants to pursue a more substantial settlement can opt for an individual evaluation. Trustees look at distinct individual factors related to the illness and then decide on a settlement amount. Trustees can also reject the application.
The RPM trust established the following maximum values and average amounts for individual reviews:
|Mesothelioma (Level VIII)||$300,000|
|Lung Cancer 1 (Level VII)||$120,000|
|Lung Cancer 2 (Level VI)||$22,000|
|Other Cancer (Level V)||$24,000|
|Severe Asbestosis (Level IV)||n/a|
|Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level III)||n/a|
|Asbestosis/Pleural Disease (Level II)||n/a|
|Other Asbestos Disease (Level I)||$70|
The current payment percentage (as of 2020) remains at 22%. That means a mesothelioma patient who was granted a $125,000 settlement under the individual review would receive $27,500. Most claimants seek settlements from several trusts because multiple companies expose them to asbestos.
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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