Kaiser Gypsum Company, a former manufacturer of a variety of building products that once contained asbestos, has filed bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Western District of North Carolina, overwhelmed by the number of asbestos-related lawsuits filed against them over the last four decades, reports a spokesperson for the company.
Overall, Kaiser Gypsum – which manufactured drywall, cements, joint compounds, and more – was named in more than 38,000 mesothelioma lawsuits since the late 1970s. Court records show that 14,000 of those suits still remain today. The company manufactured asbestos-containing products from the early 1950s until the 1970s.
Kaiser Gypsum was formed in 1952 and, over the years, became well known for its sturdy wallboard products and the accompanying items that go with them, like plaster, textured paints, glues, and more. Chrysotile – or white asbestos was used in many of their products, so both employees and end users of those items were exposed to toxic asbestos dust from those items, even though some experts still maintain that chrysotile asbestos does not cause asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma.
As a user of asbestos in their products, the company has amassed thousands of lawsuits and records show that Kaiser Gypsum has already paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to those injured by their products. These payments were a result of lawsuits that were either settled out of court or were heard in a court of law.
More than 60 American companies have gone the way of Kaiser Gypsum, declaring bankruptcy in order to get relief from the lawsuits filed by those injured by their products. As a result, most of these companies have formed asbestos trusts – court-ordered funds that are established to pay asbestos-related debts.
The court determines how much money will be deposited in the trust, based on the remaining number of lawsuits not yet settled and an estimate of how many such suits will be filed in the future.
When the trust is eventually established, individuals harmed by Kaiser Gypsum products will need to file paperwork with a trustee, requesting compensation. The amount they receive will depend on the severity of their disease and other factors.
Sadly, however, it often takes years for these asbestos trusts to be established, which means that any number of individuals harmed by Kaiser Gypsum products and sick with mesothelioma could pass away before it happens. That means legal complications for those who are waiting to get paid.
For more information on asbestos trusts and what to do if the company you wish to sue has filed bankruptcy, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney and schedule an initial consultation. He or she should be well-versed in the particulars of these trusts and can advise mesothelioma victims or their loved ones how to proceed.