Johns Manville Trust Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit for Mesothelioma

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Were you exposed to asbestos during your work at Johns Manville Company or by working with one of their products that contained asbestos? If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Keep reading to learn more.

The H.W. Johns Manufacturing Company was established in 1858 in New York, using asbestos to make roofing products that were resistant to fire. The Manville Covering Company was established in 1886 in Milwaukee and used asbestos to make heat insulation.

The two firms merged in 1901 and thus was born the H.W. Johns Manville Company. This new company produced many asbestos-containing products: asbestos roofing and insulation, asbestos automotive sheeting cylinder packing, asbestos acoustical supplies, and asbestos cement.

If you worked for Johns Manville or a company that used the company’s asbestos-containing products, you could have a valid personal injury claim.

Johns Manville Company Hid Asbestos Illness Data

For many years, the company hid data about the many dangers of asbestos exposure, which causes asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. The coverup involved physicians, insurance companies, and the executive leadership of the company.

A doctor in 1933 named Anthony Lanza, an insurance company employee, advised a doctor at Manville to not hang posters warning about the health risks of asbestos exposure. Lanza said it could lead to mesothelioma payouts. So, the company knew as early as the 1930s that asbestos exposure could kill, but they chose not to tell workers.

At that time, Lanza’s personal research showed that after five to 10 years of asbestos exposure, 50% of asbestos textile workers had asbestosis. After 15 years, almost 90% had lung disease. (

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company also hid the dangerous health effects of asbestos. It discouraged governmental audits of a Johns Manville plant. Met Life did this even though it was aware of 20% of workers suffering from asbestosis.

Johns Manville Company Policy:  Hide Information From Sick Workers

Kenneth Smith, MD, in 1948 wrote a memo to the headquarters of the company about seven asbestos workers whose x-rays showed asbestosis. He told the company president to hide the test results from the seven workers.

The president, Lewis Brown, not only took that advice. He also made it the company’s policy to not tell sick workers about their asbestos-related disease, even as they became iller. Later, Brown hired the doctor as the firm’s medical director. He knew the doctor would not tell workers they were dying from asbestos exposure.

Johns Manville Occupations At Risk of Asbestos Exposure

The primary purpose of Johns Manville was to make asbestos-containing products for construction and insulation products. Interestingly, the company’s founder, Henry Wards Johns, is rumored to have died of asbestosis due to excessive asbestos exposure.

Many workers in different occupations were at risk of asbestos exposure because the company made so many products that contained the dangerous mineral. If you worked in one of these professions and used Johns Manville products, you may have been exposed to asbestos:

Company Declares Bankruptcy

Thousands of workers in the 1970s and 1980s began to get serious illnesses from being exposed to the company’s asbestos products. Many of them filed mesothelioma lawsuits against Johns Manville. Evidence of a company coverup of asbestos dangers exposed the company to massive liability. That is why the firm filed for bankruptcy in 1982.

However, in 1988, Johns Manville came out of bankruptcy and set up the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust with $2.5 billion. These funds are available to pay mesothelioma compensation for people who were hurt by the company’s many asbestos-containing products.

Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. purchased Johns Manville in the early 2000s. Today, that company makes construction and insulation products that do not contain asbestos. The product line is made with polyurethane and fiberglass in the modern era.

Johns Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust

This firm was the first in the asbestos-producing industry to file bankruptcy and to set up an asbestos trust fund to settle thousands of asbestos settlement claims. At the time, it was thought to be an unusual way to use the bankruptcy law. Since the trust was created, it has been used to pay hundreds of thousands of mesothelioma victims.

At the end of 2018, the settlement trust had approximately $650 million in its coffers. In the last 30 years, it has paid almost $5 billion in claims.

Johns Manville Asbestos Lawsuits

There have been thousands of settlements and judgments against Johns Manville over the years. One of the most significant claims was filed in 1985. James Cavett, a boilermaker, got lung cancer after he started working in the field in the late 1930s. Cavett said that he worked closely with insulators. He testified that his working conditions were as if he had been doused with a barrel of flour because of all the asbestos dust in his work area. Johns-Manville provided approximately 90% of the insulation used in his company. (

Because of the massive asbestos exposure, Cavett developed lung cancer and his health declined. The jury awarded him and his wife $800,000 in compensation plus $1.5 million in punitive damages. The verdict was upheld when Johns Manville appealed. The company was chastised for exposing workers to asbestos with full knowledge of the hazards.

File an Asbestos Compensation Claim Now

The evidence is clear that Johns Manville exposed thousands of manufacturing and industrial workers to dangerous asbestos fibers. Even worse, the company hid these facts for decades and did not even inform some workers that they were ill because of asbestos exposure.

If you were an employee of this company or used Johns Manville products at your employer, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. It is important to talk to a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible because the statute of limitations for making a claim starts the day you learn of your cancer diagnosis.