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The Number of Asbestos Claims filed Rises While Payment Percentages Continue To Be Reduced.

for Asbestos Victims
According to the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, 10,000 people a year die from asbestos-caused diseases in the United States, including one out of every 125 American men who die over the age of 50. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no general ban on the use of asbestos. However, asbestos was one of the first hazardous air pollutants regulated under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act of 1970, and many applications have been forbidden by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The first lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers were brought in 1929. Since then, many lawsuits have been filed. As a result of the litigation, manufacturers sold off subsidiaries, diversified, produced asbestos substitutes, and started asbestos removal businesses.

JOHNS-MANVILLE3291718464_d2cf85713b.jpgThe Manville Corporation, formerly the Johns-Manville Corporation, was one of the first asbestos companies to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the time, they were the largest producer of asbestos-containing products. Johns-Manville filed for reorganization and protection (Chapter 11) under the United States Bankruptcy Code in August 1982. At the time, it was the largest company ever to file bankruptcy, and was one of the richest. Manville was then 181st on the Fortune 500, but was the defendant of 16,500 lawsuits related to the health effects of asbestos. Since then approximately 115 additional companies have filed bankruptcies as a result of asbestos related lawsuits. full list prided below *1 Claimants now are now forced to seek relief through the bankruptcy courts. Once these companies set up trusts through the bankruptcy courts, the injured party may seek compensation. But they will likely only receive a small percentage of the actual claim value. Manville reports claim filings for the second quarter 2011 were approximately 9,300 compared to 4,600 for the second quarter 2010. Year to date the Trust has received over 20,800 claims compared to 8,900 claims for the first six months of 2010.

As a result of the extended latency period for asbestos related conditions (the amount of time between exposure and the occurrence of symptoms) which is between 15 and 50 years the number of claims both new and unresolved remain substantial. The ability of the trust to pay, is based on a forecast of anticipated claims and the actual money held by the trust. Based on that data, the trust determines what percentage of the actual claim value it is capable of paying. For the majority of the bankruptcy trusts, the number of actual claims far exceeds the number of anticipated claims and so the percentage of the claim value that is being paid is being drastically reduced every year.

NAT GYP ADVERTISEMENT.jpgNational Gypsum is latest of the bankruptcy trusts to significantly reduce their payment percentage. Plaintiff’s / Claimant’s counsel received notice this week that, even though only earlier this year the trust reduced the payment percentage from 56% TO 41%, the payment percentage was going to be reduced AGAIN to a mere 18% of the liquidated value. National Gypsum manufactured and sold many products that contained asbestos. Many of these products were marketed under the “Gold Bond” brand name. Potentially dangerous National Gypsum products that contained asbestos included wallboard, roofing, shingles, cement board, gaskets, cements, adhesives, plasters, compounds, fireproofing materials, pipe covering and ceiling panels. Asbestos was chiefly used for its insulating and fire-resistant properties, and because it was readily and cheaply available. The company filed for bankruptcy on or about October 28, 1990.

U.S insurance companies have witnessed an increase in asbestos related claims in the first half of this year as AIG (NYSE:AIG), Hartford Financial Services (NYSE:HIG) and MetLife (NYSE:MET) have all reported an increase in asbestos related claims in their second quarter reports. Met Life reports an 11 percent increase in asbestos related claims.

Summing it up… Each year the bankruptcy courts allow for the review of the financial condition of the trust. They review the number of potential claims – an anticipated number based on industry trends and the amount of money held by the trust at the time. They then determine what percentage of the actual debt, or liquidated value of each potential claim they are capable of paying. That percentage – The percentage that the injured party will eventually be rewarded – continues to be reduced each year as the trusts perform their analysis. Some current Trust Payment Percentages are as follows:

  • Halliburton 52%
  • Harbison Walker 52%
  • Combustion Engineering 48.33%
  • Kaiser Aluminum 35%
  • United States Gypsum Company 30%
  • National Gypsum 18%
  • Babcock & Wilcox 15%
  • Plibrico 1.2%
  • and Keene which is paying a mere 0.8% of the claims liquidated value

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos related condition, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, colon cancer, non-malignant asbestosis, and or pleural disease, delaying any asbestos claim only runs the risk of reducing any potential settlement. Protect your rights and seek legal counsel now. Our mesothelioma dedicated attorneys at Reyes, O’Shea and Coloca fight for the rights of these individuals who were unknowingly exposed and put at risk. Each case is handled individually and given the attention and priority it deserves by our carefully trained legal team.

*1 Bankruptcy List.xlsx Compiled by Reyes, O’Shea & Coloca P.A.

medical reference books.jpgREFERENCES:

Asbestos Claims in The Bankruptcy Courts – By NERA
Financial Statements and Report of The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust