Which Bankrupt Asbestos Defendants Have Trust Funds?
More than 60 bankrupt companies that manufactured asbestos products have active trust funds today.
Notable companies with asbestos trust funds include:
- Johns Manville
- U.S. Gypsum
- Western MacArthur
- W.R. Grace
Manufacturers with asbestos trust funds would otherwise be key defendants (companies being sued) in mesothelioma lawsuits since they hid the fact that exposure to asbestos could harm people.
Starting in the early 1980s, manufacturers of asbestos-containing products faced tens of thousands of lawsuits in the United States because they hid the truth about this deadly 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 accountability, 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 people with mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases to receive financial compensation from these manufacturers, even if the companies declared bankruptcy to dodge asbestos liabilities.
As of 2023, more than $30 billion is available across all active asbestos trust funds.
Today, asbestos victims may receive money by filing claims with asbestos bankruptcy trusts and also by suing the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that did not file bankruptcy cases.
- Every trust pays a different amount of money to asbestos claimants. Payouts depend on how much money is in the trust and how many people need to be paid.
- Generally, trust funds cannot pay every claim in full and also stay active for future claimants, so they pay only a percentage of a claim’s value.
- Trust funds periodically update how much they will pay. This means that new claims may be valued at higher or lower rates. People who filed their claim before the update will not have to pay back any money if the payment percentage decreases, but they will receive more if it increases.
- Mesothelioma claims net the highest amounts from asbestos trusts, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.
Looking for a lawyer who can help you pursue compensation from asbestos trust fund bankrupt defendants? Use our Free Attorney Checklist to make sure you ask the right questions.
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.
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 companies to stay in business while figuring out a plan to pay their debts (reorganization plan).
As asbestos cases 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 asbestos victims.
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. However, 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 an asbestos injury lawsuit, they still hold the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products liable for their negligence. These trusts still pay victims today.
How Can I Access Asbestos Trust Funds?
You can access trust assets by filing a claim form that explains why you deserve compensation.
Each trust has its own set of rules that determines how much money you may receive based on the disease you have and the asbestos products to which you were exposed.
These criteria are known as trust distribution procedures (TDP). In most cases, you will receive trust payments 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, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis. Your doctor must provide a written notice that your disease was caused by your exposure to asbestos. Additional evidence, including tissue samples and X-rays, may also be used to supplement your trust claim filing.
- Proof of asbestos exposure: You also have to show which asbestos-containing products you were exposed to and where the asbestos exposure took place. This is typically done by providing your work history and noting when and where you worked with asbestos 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 an asbestos trust fund bankrupt defendant’s TDP, you cannot receive money from it even if you have an asbestos-related disease.
Filing a successful bankruptcy trust claim requires the help of a mesothelioma lawyer.
It’s nearly impossible to receive money from asbestos trust fund bankrupt defendants without a lawyer’s help because the filing process is extremely complicated. For example, asbestos victims often need to recall when and where they worked with asbestos-containing products decades after the fact.
Experienced mesothelioma attorneys can help you identify which 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.
Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease? If so, you may qualify for compensation from asbestos trust fund bankrupt defendants.
List of Bankrupt Asbestos Defendants With Trust Funds
Out of an estimated 6,000 liable asbestos-containing product manufacturers, more than 60 of them established trusts that are still active as of 2023.
Examples of bankrupt defendants with active asbestos trust funds include:
- Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
- Babcock & Wilcox Company
- DII Industries LLC
- Johns Manville
- Kaiser Aluminum
- Motors Liquidation Company (formerly General Motors Corp.)
- Owens Corning/Fibreboard
- U.S. Gypsum
- Western MacArthur
- W.R. Grace
Many other companies have active asbestos trust funds, too. View our complete list of asbestos trust fund 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 solvent companies can become defendants in asbestos litigation.
- 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 operate under a different name.
Your mesothelioma lawyer can help you file a lawsuit if the manufacturers who exposed you to asbestos went out of business or did not file for bankruptcy.
A lawsuit may award you with financial compensation from these defendants, even if they were bought out by a larger company.
See If You Qualify for Trust Fund Compensation
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.
A qualified mesothelioma lawyer can help you:
- Access multiple trust funds if you qualify
- Build and file your claims
- Take other types of legal action on your behalf (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 file now.
Asbestos Trust Fund Bankrupt Defendants FAQs
What is an asbestos trust fund?
Manufacturers of asbestos products established asbestos trust funds in the 1980s. These companies had filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to dodge asbestos lawsuits but were ordered by the courts to set up trust funds to compensate present and future asbestos victims.
These funds still contain more than $30 billion four decades later.
Asbestos trust funds are one way that mesothelioma patients can access money for their medical bills and other expenses. A mesothelioma law firm can help you file an asbestos trust fund claim and pursue financial compensation from other possible sources.
Can family members seek compensation from bankrupt asbestos defendants?
Yes, the estate of a person who has died of mesothelioma or another asbestos disease can file a wrongful death claim with an asbestos trust fund.