Yarway is the most recent in a long line of manufacturers who have had to claim bankruptcy as a result of asbestos claims. On April 22, 2013, Yarway filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (In re Yarway Corp., 13-bk-11025). The reason for the financial downfall is said to be a continued influx of asbestos related claims. Exposure to Yarway’s asbestos containing products is distinguished, by the company, in two separate categories. The first group of claimants are those who were exposed to Yarway’s gaskets and packing. Although the gaskets and packing were manufactured by other companies, they were included in Yarway’s production of its steam valves and traps between the 1920s and 1970. The second are those exposed to joint packing, consisting of Teflon and asbestos, that was manufactured by Yarway between the 1940s and the 1970s.
Having exhausted all available insurance for asbestos related claims that began in 1991, Yarway hopes that the bankruptcy will allow for the equitable resolution of asbestos claims and the reorganization of a once profitable company. The over $128 million ($18 million for this fiscal year alone) paid out in settlement costs has proven too much for the company to withstand.
A little company history: The company was founded in 1908 by Robert Yarnall and Bernard Waring and given the name Simplex Engineering Company. They supplied steam straps, valves and controls to the flourishing steam-power industry. Based out of Chestnut Hill, PA, they put out a world-class product working out of a renovated machine works. The company evolved into the Yarnall Waring Company and eventually, in 1962, took its final namesake, YARWAY, which is displayed on its products still today.
Yarway products that may have contained asbestos or asbestos containing parts:
- Yarway Impulse Steam Traps
- Yarway Process Steam Traps
- Yarway Series 40 Steam Traps
- Yarway Tandem Blow-off Valves
- Yarway Seatless (Simplex) Blow-off valves
- Yarway Hydraulic Valves
- Yarway Air Control Valves
- Gun-Pakt Expansion Joints
- Wrought Steel Expansion Joints
- Cylinder Guided Expansion Joints
- Yarway (Simplex) Pipe-joint Clamps
- Yarway Automatic Boiler Skimmer
- Yarway Starting and Pressure Unloader
- Yarway Adjustable Spray Head
Yarway was purchased by a company called Keystone International in 1987. Ten years later, Keystone was acquired by Tyco. Tyco is a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company generated over $17 billion in revenue in 2009 and is the world’s largest manufacturer of valve products. Tyco, as the owner of ADT Electronic Security Systems, is also a global leader in security systems and fire protection.
Now, Yarway has had to file suit to shield parent company Tyco from asbestos claims (13-ap-51040 U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware). Yarway has filed suit against dozens of asbestos plaintiffs firms and hundreds of their clients, who previously sued Yarway, seeking to extend the automatic stay in the company’s bankruptcy to include or cover Tyco for any pending or future asbestos claims related to Yarway . Since Yarway’s bankruptcy, plaintiffs continue to assert asbestos personal injury or wrongful death claims against Tyco (and affiliated entities) based on “joint and several” liability, successor liability and other theories holding them, in some way, responsible for Yarway’s asbestos containing products. Tyco has always denied any liability for asbestos claims arising from Yarway’s products, and to date, no court has found them liable for such claims.