Union Asbestos and Rubber Company UNR Claims Trust

By - on May 14, 2020

Last Updated: May 14th, 2020

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The Union Asbestos and Rubber Company (UNARCO) was established in 1941. It produced asbestos insulation products that were marketed for railroad, industrial, and aviation use.

UNARCO products were used in industrial equipment, such as pipes, turbines, and boilers. One of its biggest-selling insulation products was called UNARCO Insutape that was often used on railcars.

UNARCO also made asbestos textiles, such as asbestos gaskets, asbestos packing materials, and sound-absorbing blankets. These products were made with amosite asbestos, which is one of the most dangerous to humans. (Asbestos.com)

UNARCO Blamed for Damaging Worker Health in the 1950s

The company first came under fire in the 1950s when an expert on asbestos-caused diseases did a survey of 900 workers who were employed at a UNARCO factory between 1941-1945. Dr. Irving Selikoff reported the 900 men surveyed had asbestos-related diseases ‘in much greater proportion’ than what one would expect in the general public.

Many workers developed mesothelioma that cut their lives short by many years. UNARCO eventually faced so many personal injury lawsuits that it had to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy and form an asbestos trust to settle claims.

NR Asbestos-Disease Claims Trust Overview

In 1990, UNARCO formed the UNR Asbestos-Disease Claims Trust as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan. (ChicagoTribune.com). It handled all asbestos-related claims for the company for almost 30 years. The trust eventually ran out of funds and shut down in 2019. The final day to file an asbestos-related claim was Dec. 31, 2018.  (CPF-Inc.com)

Asbestos Lawsuits Involving UNARCO

Records indicate that as early as 1950, at least 17 UNARCO workers filed asbestos compensation claims against the company. The firm declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1982 after it faced tens of thousands of personal injury lawsuits by workers and others that were exposed to asbestos. The bankruptcy was thought to be of little note because UNARCO was not a large company.

However, UNARCO’s path blazed a trail in a way for other asbestos product companies. In 1982, 11 other asbestos products companies, including Johns Manville, declared bankruptcy.

In 2009, the family of a woman who died from mesothelioma received more than $2.5 million in damages from UNARCO. Juanita Rodarmel laundered her husband’s asbestos-contaminated clothing in the 1950s. At the time, her husband was employed by UNARCO Industries. The lethal asbestos fibers were brought home on him from work.

Later, Rodarmel’s loved ones filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Pneumo Abex and Honeywell International. They claimed the companies failed to warn employees of the health dangers of asbestos-containing products.

UNARCO Asbestos Products That Endangered Worker Health

Some of the dangerous asbestos-containing products that were lethal to some UNARCO employees included:

  • Unibestos Block Insulation
  • Unibestos Pipe Covering
  • 50 Finishing Cement
  • Wovenstone Lace-On
  • Woven Asbestos Cloth and Lagging Tape
  • Gaskets
  • Insubestos Felt
  • Packings, such as twisted asbestos rope
  • Textiles, such as asbestos fiber, yard, tubing, tape, and cloth

UNARCO Employees At Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Workers at the highest risk of asbestos exposure worked in product manufacturing plants and with assembled asbestos products. It is thought that workers who received and unpacked large bags of 100% amosite asbestos from a UNARCO supplier in South Africa had the highest asbestos contamination.

Not just UNARCO employees were exposed to lethal asbestos. Anyone who worked with UNARCO’s asbestos products at work was in danger. Occupations that were at the highest risk were:

  • Industrial workers
  • Mill workers
  • Railroad workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Powerplant workers
  • Aircraft mechanics
  • Welders
  • Pipefitters
  • Boiler workers
  • Factory workers
  • Construction workers
  • Insulators

In the early 1960s, UNARCO’s Unibestos product line was purchased by Pittsburg Corning, which made them until 1972. Employees of Pittsburg Corning were also at risk of asbestos exposure as they made and worked with these products.

Summary

If you think UNARCO’s asbestos-containing products may have caused your mesothelioma, you may have the right to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

While the firm’s asbestos trust is closed, you still could qualify for compensation from other trusts; 60 active asbestos trusts have at least $32 billion in remaining assets. Please talk to an experienced mesothelioma attorney today to see if you have a case.