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Western MacArthur Asbestos Trust

Asbestos was extensively used in Western MacArthur products because of its heat resistance and insulating properties. Western MacArthur used asbestos in its products until the late 1970s, when federal regulators determined it was unsafe. By then thousands of people who were exposed to Western MacArthur products had sued. The bankruptcy court established the Western Asbestos Settlement Trust in 2004. Western MacArthur has $2 billion in trust.

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Created through a merger of Western Asbestos and the MacArthur Company in 1967, Western MacArthur became a large manufacturer of insulation products, among other things. The Western MacArthur product line also includes roofing and heating materials, air-conditioning and ventilation products. Additionally, Western MacArthur was also distributing Johns-Manville asbestos products. Like other companies in the same era, asbestos was regularly used. Western MacArthur is most commonly known for its insulation products that were used in buildings and ships. Much of this asbestos insulation still remains.

Even though the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, it is still one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of insulation materials in the nation. The company also sells roofing, fire protection and fiber-reinforced plastic products. The company has more than 35 locations nationwide.

Asbestos Exposure Risk

There were dozens of occupations that were at risk for asbestos exposure. For those who worked for Western MacArthur, this includes sales personnel, warehouse workers, truck drivers and estimators. In addition, thousands of employees who didn’t work for Western MacArthur were also exposed:

  • Construction Workers – Those who installed or removed Western MacArthur insulation products in any form run the risk of asbestos-exposure illnesses, including mesothelioma. All Western MacArthur insulation products through the 1970’s included asbestos.
  • Shipyard Workers – Western MacArthur insulation and cloth was widely used in shipyards. Workers were never instructed to wear protective face or body coverings.
  • Naval Personnel – Sailors who worked and lived aboard U.S. Navy vessels were at a high risk of exposure to Western MacArthur insulation. The company’s products were widely used there.

Beyond these occupations, other occupations that may have been exposed to asbestos associated with Western MacArthur include maintenance workers, industrial workers, factory and power plant workers, plumbers, and electricians.

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Secondary Exposure to Asbestos

Not knowing the risks of asbestos at the time, workers who interacted with Western MacArthur products inadvertently exposed people who lived with them to asbestos by bringing asbestos fibers into their home.

Secondary asbestos exposure, also known as indirect exposure, is seen most commonly in the children and wives of asbestos workers. Those who have been found to be at the highest risk of in-home secondary asbestos exposure are women who washed their husband’s work uniforms. Asbestos contaminated other clothes, furniture and carpeting, bedding, and was transferred through contact with the asbestos worker when returning home from work.

If you are unsure if you are eligible for compensation from Western MacArthur due to secondary asbestos exposure, learn about how to apply.


Western MacArthur Asbestos Products

When Western merged with MacArthur, the resulting company was focused on products made with asbestos. All of the company’s products contained asbestos in one form or another. Those include the following:

  • Insulation (pipe and wall)
  • Insulation Cements: 1-V, 7-V, No. 1, and No. 28
  • Fire blankets
  • Duct tapes
  • Adhesives
  • Fireproofing spray
  • Joint compounds

Lawsuits Against Western MacArthur

Because of the prevalence of Western MacArthur products, there were many claims against the company, its predecessor Western Asbestos Company, and associated entities. For over a decade Western MacArthur and their insurance company USF & G received claims.

Notable cases during this time:

  • Kaminski vs. Western MacArthur Co. (1985) – The wife of a deceased military veteran claimed her husband’s mesothelioma diagnosis was a result of working as a shipbuilder. Because his interactions while on the job were with Western Asbestos products, the Kaminski family received a judgement in their favor for personal injuries and loss of consortium.
  • Hughes vs Western MacArthur Company (1987) – The wife of a deceased employee of Western MacArthur (known as Western Asbestos during his employment) filed a wrongful death claim which was originally denied but was granted upon appeal.

As with many other manufacturers that produced asbestos-containing products, Western MacArthur eventually filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002. Western MacArthur’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing resulted in the 2004 creation of the Western Asbestos Settlement Trust, which was funded with $2 billion. Since then, Western MacArthur has received over 15,000 trust claims.


Western MacArthur Lawsuit Settlement Payouts

Western MacArthur Lawsuit Settlement Payouts vary, and average settlement values are listed categorized by type of illness, associated brand, and location, as the values vary.

Base Case Values are the basic valuation of the claim prior to any adjustments for specific situational factors. Base case values are then adjusted based on several factors including age, level of exposure, if the injured person is living during the claim filing or litigation, and based on estimated costs for their medical care and funeral expenses.

Western Asbestos Company/Western MacArthur Company

Disease Western Asbestos Company/Western MacArthur Company [California]
Mesothelioma $276,479
Lung Cancer $62,046
Other Cancer $22,298
Grade 1 Non-Malignancy $32,121
Grade 2 Non-Malignancy $18,574

MacArthur Co.

Disease MacArthur Co. [Minnesota/North Dakota]
Mesothelioma $148,678/$58,544
Lung Cancer $41,211/$13,569
Other Cancer $21,222/$4894
Grade 1 Non-Malignancy $30,068/$9,764
Grade 2 Non-Malignancy $21,875/$8,219

Average Settlement Values include these adjustments, and can be found below:

Disease Western Asbestos Company/Western MacArthur Company [California]
Mesothelioma $524,025
Lung Cancer $199,195
Other Cancer $75,000
Grade 1 Non-Malignancy $51,557
Grade 2 Non-Malignancy $21,816

MacArthur Co. Average Settlement Values

Disease MacArthur Co. [Minnesota/North Dakota]
Mesothelioma $316,250/$117,087
Lung Cancer $137,050/$44,777
Other Cancer $73,800/$16,894
Grade 1 Non-Malignancy $57,200/$16,500
Grade 2 Non-Malignancy $30,150/$12,000

The Western MacArthur settlement payment percentage is 51.1%, significantly above industry average for successful claims. This was announced as part of Trust Distribution Procedure updates announced in June 2019, but payment percentages often fluctuate in this industry and tend to decrease over time as the available funds in the trust decrease.

If you think you or a loved one may have been exposed to asbestos due to Western MacArthur products, contact us to see if you are entitled to compensation.

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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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