The Thorpe Insulation Settlement Trust was funded with $600 million and began processing claims in 2007. As of December 2017, the Thorpe trust had $496 million in net assets.
The Thorpe Insulation Co. started as a family-owned business as a distributor of asbestos-containing insulation and a contractor that installed and removed the asbestos products. The company, located in California, did a majority of its work in industrial sites that include power plants and oil refineries.
Known initially as Plant Insulation Company, Thorpe distributed and installed insulation containing the toxin from 1948 to 1972. By the early 1970s, the company faced nearly 12,000 lawsuits as a result of its misuse of asbestos. The company ceased operations in 2004 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Thorpe was court ordered to put funding aside to help asbestos victims and their families.
Asbestos insulation was used on a large scale to insulate buildings and on a small scale to insulate wiring. In many cases, the paper backing on the insulation contained asbestos as well. In manufacturing insulation, Thorpe employees often used their hands to remove asbestos from bags and place it into machinery. The Thorpe Insulation Co. provided the following types of asbestos insulation.
Block insulation was typically used for foundation walls and steel structures such as ships because it provided fire, acoustical and heat control.
Commonly used in walls, attics and floors, loose insulation provided protection from temperature extremes.
Asbestos insulation pipe wraps were used in homes, ships and industries including oil refineries and power plants.
Spray-on insulation was used to cover irregularly shaped areas, like ship hulls and steel beams.
Through the 1970s, the company used asbestos in many of its insulation products. Like other companies of the time, asbestos was considered to be the perfect additive to make products heat-, fire- and chemical-resistant.
Through the early years of the litigation and the creation of the trust, Robert and Linda Fults owned the company. The couple also owned Pacific Insulation Company, which is part of the trust. By the 1980s, Thorpe, and Pacific by extension, was facing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. The company did a majority of its work in California.
Like other trust funds established as a result of asbestos use, the Thorpe Insulation Trust pays a percentage of the funds requested to allow for equal distribution of financial assistance to all qualified claimants. As of 2017, the Thorpe trust pays 51.8 percent, an increase from the 2016 level of 43.6 percent.
The Thorpe Insulation Trust is separate from the J.T. Thorpe and Son trust.
The Thorpe Insulation Trust lists more than 120 occupations that are at risk for asbestos exposure. The company’s products were used in a variety of industrial settings.
Many of the occupations are in fields that include asbestos manufacturing/distribution/installation, maritime and railroad. Some of the professions include:
Thorpe insulation was used on many job sites including commercial buildings, hospitals, schools and shipyards. Some of the locations in California include:
Anyone exposed to Thorpe insulation products may be eligible for a financial settlement from the company’s bankruptcy trust. Filing a claim can be a confusing process so legal expertise is helpful for success.
The Thorpe trust (and the Pacific Insulation Company trust) manages trusts in a first-in, first-out (FIFO) progression, meaning the claims are handled in the order they are received. Claimants must provide documentation that includes medical records and proof of exposure.
To equitably allocate funds, the Thorpe trust established a schedule of five compensable asbestos-related diseases: mesothelioma, lung cancer, other cancers and two grades of non-malignant asbestos-related illnesses. To qualify for a compensable disease claim, asbestos victims must meet the presumptive medical/exposure criteria set by the trust.
Claims that do not meet the presumptive medical/exposure criteria must undergo an individual review.
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