Their utilization of asbestos-laden coating and insulation through the 1970s resulted in breathing problems, asbestosis, pulmonary cancer, and mesothelioma for many Plibrico incineration system workers.
Harmful Products and Health Consequences
From 1950-1970, some of Plibrico’s insulating cement, boiler coatings, and other refractory products sold under the brand names of Pilsulate, Pilcast, and Pilseal contained asbestos fibers and dust to make the products stronger and more resistant to extremely high temperatures.
Their refractory products were used in the shipbuilding, metal, and construction industries. People who worked in manufacturing, building, pipefitting, smelting, steamfitting, boiler-making, or insulating furnaces could have come into contact with products made by Plibrico Company.
By the 1970s, many of the people who had become seriously ill began to sue Plibrico and other refractory-makers whose materials were responsible for causing their cancers and pulmonary problems.
These lawsuits continued for decades until a trend developed for many companies to file for bankruptcy protection since bankruptcy would allow them to cap the limit of claims for injured parties and would ultimately be less costly than individually defending each case through traditional litigation.
Bankruptcy and Plibrico Asbestos Trust
Under the financial strain of asbestos lawsuits, Plibrico Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Northern District of Illinois in 2002. The bankruptcy court approved its reorganization plan in 2006 and established Pilbrico Asbestos Trust to pay claimants who had become ill due to the company’s utilization of asbestos-laden products.
Court documents from 2017 show that the trust is committed to paying out mesothelioma claims at a scheduled value of $350,000, lung cancer claims at a scheduled value of $120,000, asbestosis claims at a scheduled value of $120,000, and other types of cancer claims at a scheduled value of $65,000.
To receive the highest payout for claims through the trust, claimants must be able to prove significant occupational exposure, which is defined by the trust documents as having worked for a minimum of five years in an industry or occupation that involved handling raw asbestos fibers or being exposed to them regularly.