The A.W. Chesterton Company used asbestos in many of its products for decades. It produced sealing products with the harmful mineral, which put thousands of workers at risk of exposure. Many of those workers have sued the company for asbestos-related illnesses and have settled and won jury verdicts.
About A.W. Chesterton
The A.W. Chesterton Company is known today as Chesterton and manufactures sealing products, coatings, and lubricants. It serves the energy industry, manufacturing companies, and process industries. The company is headquartered in Groveland, Massachusetts, and has more than 1,000 employees in 27 countries.
Arthur Chesterton founded the company in 1884 to distribute and sell products for steamboats and engineering companies. Soon after its founding in Boston, the company began manufacturing products as well.
Chesterton introduced its sealing line of products in 1895 with pump packing and gasketing. Over decades, the company would innovate and develop new products and materials for sealing, including the use of asbestos.
Throughout the 1900s, the company continued to grow, and although it always focused on sealing, it added lubricants and cleaners as well as sealants for a diverse range of industries. It grew from a local business to a national and finally international company.
How Did A.W. Chesterton Use Asbestos?
Asbestos use peaked in the middle of the 1900s when Chesterton expanded its product line of sealing items. Asbestos is lightweight and flexible, making it a useful material for sealing spaces in valves, gaskets, pipes, and equipment.
Chesterton used asbestos in many of its products through the 1970s or early 1980s. These included:
- Graphite tape packing
- Power plant packing
- Pump packing
- Universal packing
- Food process packing
- Gasket tape
- Asbestos cloth
Who Was at Risk for Exposure?
A.W. Chesterton employees faced risks of asbestos exposure because they handled the material and made the products. Many other workers also suffered exposure because many industries used the asbestos-containing sealing and packing products the company made.
Any workers who handled or worked with these products could have been exposed. At risk were workers in power plants, chemical plants, manufacturing plants, shipyards and ships, steel mills, paper plants, mines, and more.
Most at risk were the workers who actively handled or used the asbestos products. This includes workers who installed the packing or sealing, did maintenance and repair work on them, and demolished buildings or equipment with asbestos sealing materials. Even family members of these workers could have been exposed, as they often brought fibers home on clothing.
Asbestos Lawsuits Against A.W. Chesterton
A.W. Chesterton faced its first lawsuit over asbestos exposure and illness in 1980. Hundreds of thousands more followed. The company continues to fight lawsuits, has paid settlements, and has lost jury decisions. Chesterton has not filed for bankruptcy and has not created an asbestos trust fund for victim compensation.
Dennis and Sharon Newinski sued A.W. Chesterton and other companies over Dennis’s mesothelioma diagnosis. He worked for Northern States Power Co. between 1964 and 2000, handling steam valves and sheet packing materials that contained asbestos. They settled with A.W. Chesterton but continued to trial against several other defendants. The jury awarded $4.6 million and assigned 10% of the liability to Chesterton.
In 2010, a jury awarded Rhoda and Bobby Evans $208 million, a record at the time for a single mesothelioma case in California. Bobby worked for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in the 1970s. His work included cutting into asbestos cement pipes. He brought fibers of asbestos home on his clothing, exposing Rhoda. They sued A.W. Chesterton and other companies that made the asbestos products.
Richard Keeney filed a lawsuit against A.W. Chesterton and other companies in 2013 after developing mesothelioma. During his career in the U.S. Navy, Keeney handled many asbestos materials. He never received warnings about the risks, nor was he provided protective gear. A jury awarded him $5.5 million.
Lewis Nash received a mesothelioma diagnosis in 2011 at the age of 80. He drove Fayetteville-Manlius School District buses from 1956 to 1992. The buses contained parts with asbestos made by several companies, including A.W. Chesterton. He spent time in the bus garage during maintenance work and claims he inhaled asbestos fibers there. A jury awarded Nash and his wife $7.7 million in damages.
These are just some of the thousands of lawsuits filed against A.W. Chesterton over the last few decades. If you worked with Chesterton products, contact an asbestos lawyer. Several companies can likely be held responsible for your exposure to it asbestos. An experienced lawyer can sort through all the information and help you take the next step to seek justice and recover damages.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.