Mundet also made thermal insulation that contained asbestos. The Union Leader reported in 2018 that Crown purchased Mundet for $7 million but has since paid $700 million in damages due to asbestos-related injuries and deaths.
Crown’s main interest in Mundet was in the business’s bottlecap division. Crown sold Mundet’s insulation division to Baldwin–Ehret–Hill (BEH) only a couple of years after purchasing the company. But Crown inherited a load of legal and financial burdens over its acquisition of Mundet despite the quick sale to BEH.
Court documents in the case of Satterfield v. Crown Cork & Seal Co. showed that BEH only assumed liability for Mundet’s thermal insulation business after February 8, 1964. People who came into contact with this insulation before February 1964 later became ill with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure, and they and their surviving relatives sued Crown. In the case of Satterfield, who appealed on behalf of her husband’s estate after his death, her husband had been a pipefitter who was retired by the time he was diagnosed with the deadly cancer in 2002.
In the case of Saller v. Crown Cork & Seal Co. in 2010, a surgeon who performed the plaintiff’s mesothelioma surgery testified that once a tumor grows in the space around the lungs, it is very hard to treat and there is no cure. The expert testified that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and that mesothelioma is not caused by smoking cigarettes. He further testified that it is common for decades to pass between the date of exposure and the development of mesothelioma.
In the case of Saller, he filed a complaint against 19 defendants including Crown for damages due to his illness. After he passed away, his wife represented his estate, and his daughters filed an amended complaint for wrongful death due to negligence and the fact that their father was not informed of the risks. His job forced him to work around pipe insulation, where other workers applied Mundet’s insulation to pipes. The employees who he worked less than ten feet away from would cut pipe insulation, which made the powder fly into his face. He stated that he inhaled this dust regularly and was not offered breathing protection.
The Future of Crown Cork and Seal
Although Crown Cork and Seal has successfully defended the company against some of the lawsuits the company has endured, they will likely face more in the future as more people are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Unlike many similar corporations that were able to reduce the amount of money they would pay out to each claimant by filing bankruptcy, Crown has not yet filed for Chapter 11 and is still defending its asbestos-related personal injury litigation throughout courtrooms nationwide.1