Problems with Kaiser Gypsum Asbestos Trust
Thousands and thousands of individuals have been harmed by asbestos found in building products manufactured by Kaiser Gypsum Inc, but the U.S. Department of Justice says that the trust to be formed by the company to compensate those victims does not include the proper safeguards to prevent fraudulent claims.
“In court papers filed Thursday, the Justice Department said the proposed plan to compensate thousands of people who have filed asbestos-related claims against Kaiser Gypsum ‘lacks sufficient safeguards’ to detect fraudulent claims from people who aren’t ill or otherwise harmed by the toxic substance,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Since 1978, the year the company sold its operations, Kaiser Gypsum has been named in 38,000 lawsuits. The concern, however, is that many who made claims do not actually have mesothelioma cancer though they do have asbestos-related lung illnesses, like pleural plaques or asbestosis.
The Justice Department maintains that those who are not cancer victims shouldn’t be compensated by the trust.
Indeed, the fraud affects those who do have mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused cancers, providing fewer dollars for individuals who really need the compensation.
There are a number of states’ attorney generals trying to remedy the situation, asking US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the fraud.
They’re also hoping that lawmakers will seek changes to the Bankruptcy Trust System, which is far from perfect.
Kaiser Gypsum entered bankruptcy protection about two years ago, with plans to set up a trust for the thousands of victims harmed by the company’s asbestos-laden products.
The move was prompted by a jury decision to award nearly $9 million to an Oregon carpenter with mesothelioma caused by exposure to Kaiser Gypsum products.
The plan still awaits approval.
Regardless of the terms of the trust, the truth remains that those who worked for Kaiser Gypsum as well as those who used the company’s toxic products were indeed sickened by exposure to asbestos.
Many died decades ago while others are just receiving the horrible diagnosis of mesothelioma, having been exposed to those products some 30, 40, even 50 years ago.
Those individuals have a right to compensation as do the victims that were exposed to the asbestos products of dozens upon dozens of other companies who thought it was okay to include the hazardous mineral in the items they manufactured.