Countless lawsuits have been filed in United States courts, and an undisclosed number were quietly settled for massive awards without going to trial. That’s not to mention the amount of money asbestos defendants have set into bankruptcy trust funds.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Funds
Asbestos litigation is a specialized field. Many law firms exclusively litigate mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease cases. This is a complex arena where knowledge of case precedents and previous defendants are part of building a legitimate claim for plaintiffs. In fact, asbestos litigation is so large that American courts and legislators recognized the problem by developing specific laws and procedures to deal with the volume of plaintiffs and defendants.
There is no central repository for listing who’s sued who in asbestos cases. By best estimates, over 6,000 separate defendants have been litigated.
Some defendants were large and highly visible defendants like Johns-Manville, Owens-Corning, United States Gypsum and W.R. Grace. These asbestos-producing giants are still in business after setting aside nearly $15 billion in combined trust account funding.
Most of the 6,000 asbestos defendants went bankrupt and are gone from the map. They simply didn’t have the funds or assets to liquidate and settle suits or create trusts.
There are approximately 100 remaining defendants held responsible for negligently producing and supplying asbestos-containing materials (ACM). These companies survived because they used provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code (USBC) to protect them.