Babcock & Wilcox was established in 1867 made several types of industrial equipment designed to withstand high temperatures. The equipment often was built with asbestos-containing materials because the mineral was affordable, fireproof, and abundant. (Asbestos.com)
While the company never made asbestos products itself, it used asbestos-containing products made by other companies to build its equipment.
Asbestos-Containing Products Used by Babcock & Wilcox
Some of the asbestos-containing products Babcock & Wilcox used included:
- Heat seals
- Rope packing
- Block and millboard
Some of the brand names of these asbestos-containing products were:
- Babcock & Wilcox Stirling Boilers
- Babcock & Wilcox Gauges
- Babcock & Wilcox Marine Boilers
- Babcock & Wilcox FJ Furnace Boilers
- Babcock & Wilcox Integral Furnace Boilers
- Babcock & Wilcox Type E Pulverizers
These products were used in:
- Power generation equipment
- Utility boilers
- Water-tube marine boilers
- Other types of high-temperature refractory equipment
Workers who built and installed asbestos products on boilers and other related equipment faced a high risk of asbestos exposure. Also, end-users of this equipment were exposed to asbestos during repair, maintenance and removal.
Many workers at Babcock & Wilcox later developed asbestos-caused lung cancer and mesothelioma and filed personal injury lawsuits against the company. Thousands of lawsuits eventually led to the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and setting up an asbestos trust to handle future claims.
Asbestos Lawsuits Involving Babcock & Wilcox
Babcock & Wilcox dealt with its first asbestos exposure lawsuit in 1982. The company settled more than 300,000 asbestos lawsuits by 2000. These legal actions cost it more than $1.6 billion. (Mesothelioma.com)
At that time, 45,000 asbestos exposure lawsuits were unsettled. The company realized it could not afford to pay for any more claims, which led to it declaring bankruptcy.
Some of the asbestos exposure lawsuits Babcock & Wilcox faced included:
- In 1996, a pipefitter named Cleo Elmore received more than $2.5 million in damages after he developed asbestos cancer. The court found that Babock & Wilcox, as well as 30 other companies, were liable for the man’s disease and death.
- Navy worker Martin McPadden was exposed to asbestos insulation while he worked as a fireman striker and machinist’s mate on a Navy ship. After his death, the court stated that his family had suffered $6 million in damages.
- In July 2018, a family in the United Kingdom was awarded $320,000 after their mother passed away from secondhand asbestos exposure connected to Babcock & Wilcox products. Adrienne Sweeney was diagnosed with asbestos cancer and passed away in 2015. Her husband worked at one of the company’s boiler-making factories in Scotland in the 1960s. He brought home asbestos dust on his clothing, which was inhaled by his wife countless times over the years.
Overview of The Babcock & Wilcox Settlement Trust
Babcock & Wilcox filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2000 and emerged from protection in January 2006. The reorganization plan set up the Babcock & Wilcox Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust. It was initially funded with $1.85 billion to process asbestos-related claims and lawsuits. (BWasbestostrust.com)
On the trust website, there is a list of almost 2,000 occupations that faced a high risk of asbestos exposure from the company’s asbestos-contaminated equipment.
The asbestos trust allows two types of claims to be filed. The first is an expedited review, where there is a fixed payment regardless of your exposure level or health condition. The process for expedited review is faster. The other is individual review, which takes longer to process and payment varies widely.
Generally, expedited claims are handled first and individual claims are processed later. The trust reviews both claim types on a yearly basis, but individual claims are more likely to see adjustment. There also is a higher risk for a reduction in settlement amounts.
The payout percentage from the trust is currently 8.8% of the case value. However, asbestos exposure claimants can receive a higher level of compensation based on their age, exposure, type of disease, and other factors.
Babcock & Wilcox knowingly manufactured industrial equipment for years that contained asbestos-contaminated parts. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma and used Babcock & Wilcox equipment, it is important to talk to an experienced mesothelioma attorney right away.
You could be eligible for a settlement from the Babcock & Wilcox Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust to compensate you for your medical bills, lost work time, pain and suffering, and more.