Which Bankrupt Defendants Have Asbestos Trust Funds?
Over 60 bankrupt manufacturers of asbestos-containing products have active trust funds.
Notable companies with asbestos trust funds include:
- General Motors
- U.S. Gypsum
- W.R. Grace
- Western MacArthur
Manufacturers with asbestos trust funds would otherwise be key defendants (people or companies being sued) in asbestos lawsuits, as they hid the fact that exposure to the mineral could kill people.
In the early 1980s and onward, manufacturers of asbestos-containing products faced tens of thousands of lawsuits since they hid the deadly truth about the mineral from the public.
Some of these manufacturers filed for bankruptcy to avoid responsibility for exposing millions of people to a potentially lethal substance.
When a defendant files for bankruptcy, all pending lawsuits against them stop. However, to ensure these manufacturers didn’t shirk responsibility, the U.S. Congress changed the bankruptcy code so that they had to establish trust funds and take responsibility for their actions.
An asbestos trust fund allows those with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases to receive financial compensation from these manufacturers, even if the companies declared bankruptcy.
As of 2020, over $30 Billion is available across all active asbestos trust funds.
Today, those with mesothelioma may receive money by filing claims with asbestos trust funds and also by suing the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that did not file for bankruptcy.
- Every trust pays a different amount of money to claimants, as payouts depend on how much money is in the trust and how many others need to be paid.
- Generally, trust funds cannot pay every claim in full and also stay active, so they pay only a percentage of a claim’s value.
- Trust funds periodically update how much they will pay, meaning new claims may be valued at higher or lower rates. Those who filed their claim before the update will not have to pay back any money if the percentage decreases, but they will receive more if it increases.
- Mesothelioma claims award the highest amounts from asbestos trusts, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.
Bankruptcy Protection for Asbestos Defendants
Corporate defendants in asbestos lawsuits typically filed for bankruptcy through one of two chapters in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (USBC).
Below, learn more about these two chapters.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Under Chapter 7, the manufacturer goes out of business. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, anything of value owned by the company is collected and sold for money in a process known as liquidation.
The money that comes from liquidation is then distributed to those harmed by the manufacturer.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows manufacturers to stay in business while figuring out a plan to pay their debts.
As asbestos-related lawsuits mounted, a provision called code 524(g) was created to force companies that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to set up trust funds to pay current and future victims of asbestos exposure.
This allowed the victims to receive some money rather than letting the manufacturers go without punishment.
Most smaller manufacturers of asbestos-containing products filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, dissolving their businesses to pay their debts. But larger manufacturers, such as Johns-Manville and W.R. Grace, had enough money to stay active under Chapter 11.
While asbestos trust funds may not award victims with as much money as a lawsuit, they still hold the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products liable for their negligence, especially since the trusts still pay victims today.
How Can I Access an Asbestos Trust Fund?
You can access an asbestos trust fund by filing a claim that explains why you deserve compensation.
Each trust has its own set of criteria that determines how much money you may receive, based on what disease you have and what products you were exposed to.
These criteria are known as trust distribution procedures (TDP). In most cases, you will receive compensation provided that your claim meets the qualifying criteria outlined in the TDP.
To qualify for an asbestos trust fund, you must submit:
- Proof of Diagnosis: You must prove that you suffer from a disease caused by asbestos exposure, such as mesothelioma, other cancers, asbestosis, or another similar illness. Your doctor must provide a written notice that your disease was caused by your exposure to asbestos. Additional evidence, like tissue samples, X-rays, and other medical results, may also be used to supplement the claim.
- Proof of Asbestos Exposure: You also have to show which asbestos-containing products you were exposed to and where the exposure took place. This is typically done by outlining when and where you worked with asbestos-containing products.
- Proof of Manufacturer Negligence: Finally, you have to prove that the products you were exposed to were made by the manufacturer that established the trust fund. If you did not use any of the products listed in a trust’s TDP, you cannot receive money from it even if you have an asbestos-related disease.
Filing a successful asbestos trust fund claim also requires the help of a mesothelioma lawyer.
It’s nearly impossible to receive money from a trust fund without a lawyer’s help, as the filing process is extremely complicated. For example, you’ll often need to recall when and where you worked with asbestos-containing products decades after the fact.
Experienced mesothelioma attorneys can help you identify what company work sites and products may have put you at risk and determine how many asbestos trust funds you can access. It’s not uncommon for someone to qualify for 30 or more asbestos trusts.
To connect with a mesothelioma lawyer today, contact the Mesothelioma Hope team. We work with lawyers who can help you file an asbestos trust fund claim.
List of Bankrupt Asbestos Defendants with Trust Funds
Out of an estimated 6,000 liable asbestos-containing product manufacturers, over 60 of them established trusts that are currently active.
Bankrupt defendants with active asbestos trust funds include:
- Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
- Babcock & Wilcox Company
- Kaiser Aluminum
- Motors Liquidation Company
- Owens Corning/Fibreboard
- U.S. Gypsum
- Western MacArthur
- W.R. Grace
Motors Liquidation Company was formerly General Motors Corporation. Many other companies have active asbestos trust funds as well.
View our complete list of asbestos trust funds companies to learn more.
What if a Defendant Doesn’t Have an Asbestos Trust Fund?
If a manufacturer of asbestos-containing products doesn’t have a trust fund, it typically means one of three things.
Manufacturers will not have trust funds if they:
- Did not go bankrupt: Some manufacturers of asbestos-containing products decided not to file for bankruptcy. These active companies can become defendants in mesothelioma lawsuits.
- Went out of business: Companies that filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy did not establish trust funds, as all their financial assets were sold to pay their debts. These companies typically went out of business after their assets were sold.
- Were absorbed into a larger company: Sometimes, companies will merge with or be acquired by other companies. This may allow a manufacturer of asbestos-containing products to still operate under a different name.
Your mesothelioma lawyer can help you file a lawsuit if the manufacturers who exposed you to asbestos did not file for bankruptcy or go out of business.
A lawsuit may award you with financial compensation from these defendants, even if they were bought out by a larger company.
Next Steps to Access Bankrupt Defendants’ Trust Funds
While manufacturers of asbestos-containing products cannot be sued if they declared bankruptcy, you may be able to get money from the trust funds they established. To access this money, you need to work with a mesothelioma attorney.
Mesothelioma lawyers can help you:
- Access multiple trust funds if you qualify
- Build and file claims
- Take other action to receive compensation (such as filing a lawsuit)
If you want to file an asbestos trust fund claim, it is important to take action as soon as possible. These trusts periodically reevaluate how much they pay claimants, and by waiting you could receive less money than if you filed now.
To learn more about connecting with a lawyer and filing an asbestos trust fund claim, contact us today.