C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc. manufactures insulation for cold storage, marine facilities and vessels, and a wide range of specialty equipment. For many years, C.E. Thurston products contained insulation, and after thousands of lawsuits, the company was forced to go through bankruptcy. The company established an asbestos trust fund to compensate exposure victims.
C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc History and Asbestos
In 1919 C.E. Thurston began a small business offering contracting services for several mechanical packing manufacturing companies. Thurston conducted businesses in southeastern Virginia.
- When he incorporated the company in 1949, it was headquartered in Norfolk and called C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc.
- Soon after founding the company, Thurston added insulation to the list of offerings. The company contracted with other companies to distribute, install, maintain, repair, or remove insulation in various industrial settings, including ships and shipyards.
- Like many other businesses operating at the time, C.E. Thurston used asbestos insulation. Asbestos is an excellent cost-effective insulator and was used in nearly all types of insulation.
- During the 1970s, the company reduced its use of asbestos products, and by the end of the decade, it had stopped using asbestos insulation entirely. Unfortunately, by that time, the damage had been done.
- Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, C.E. Thurston & Sons acquired other insulation companies and contractors, and the company expanded operations and services to several different states. These included Mechanical Insulation Services in South Carolina and Ambrose Insulation in North Carolina.
- C.E. Thurston & Sons also faced several asbestos-related lawsuits. The company originally dealt with this challenge by creating the Asbestos Claims Facility. This facility administered claims and paid settlements. Other companies involved withdrew, and it became defunct.
- Thurston then created the Center for Claims Resolution, Inc. for the same purpose but eventually attempted to settle claims independently.
- Forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company emerged from reorganization in 2006 with a new asbestos trust fund.
C.E. Thurston emerged from bankruptcy and continues to operate. Today it contracts several services, including insulation, safety training, and asbestos abatement. The company’s headquarters are in Norfolk, Virginia.
How Did C.E. Thurston & Sons Use Asbestos?
C.E. Thurston & Sons did not manufacture insulation. It never made and sold asbestos products. C.E. Thurston was founded as a contracting company. Other companies would hire Thurston & Sons to purchase and install new insulation or remove old insulation.
Because the company worked with insulation that contained asbestos, it has been considered liable, along with the insulation manufacturers, for many cases of exposure and later illness.
Workers Affected by C.E. Thurston & Sons Asbestos
The asbestos in insulation used by C.E. Thurston affected workers in various industries. Individuals working for the company directly and who handled insulation were at the greatest risk for exposure. These workers installed asbestos insulation, made repairs, and removed old insulation.
During these tasks, asbestos fibers from the insulation could break loose and become airborne. Once released into the air, workers could then have inhaled the fibers, resulting in cell damage and later illness.
People working in other industries may have also been affected by C.E. Thurston’s use of asbestos insulation. Anyone who worked in a facility where the company installed insulation could have been exposed.
Some of the types of workers at risk of asbestos exposure from C.E. Thurston’s insulation projects include:
- Construction workers
- Industrial and manufacturing plant workers
- Power plant workers
- Chemical plant workers
- Paper mill workers
- Shipyard workers
The maritime industry commonly used asbestos insulation more than others. Shipyard workers, like shipbuilders, repairers, and Navy veterans, were all put at serious risk of exposure due to this insulation.
Asbestos Lawsuits Against C.E. Thurston
C.E. Thurston & Sons began seeing lawsuits over asbestos illnesses in the 1980s. The company faced thousands of claims. Those claims were filed by workers who became sick due to asbestos exposure. The company nearly foundered over the costs of the claims.
The company formed the Asbestos Claims Facility (ACF) through the Wellington Agreement to handle these lawsuits and administer claims and settlements.
The ACF initially included thirty-three other companies also facing asbestos insulation-related claims. The ACF began evaluating and settling claims in 1985. It disbanded in 1988 when several companies withdrew.
Soon after the collapse of the ACF, Thurston again attempted to form a group to administer asbestos claims. The Center for Claims Resolution was active until 2001. At that time, C.E. Thurston & Sons began administering claims independently.
Among the lawsuits Thurston faced were many from U.S. Navy veterans and their families. The company used significant resources on Navy ships, resulting in exposure in many veterans who later got sick.
A lawsuit against Thurston set the precedent that asbestos defendants could not be exempt from lawsuits because of the Federal Enclave Clause.
C.E. Thurston & Sons Asbestos Trust Fund
Thurston administered its own asbestos lawsuits and claims for two years until filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2003. The company reorganized under this protection, emerging in 2006. As part of the bankruptcy protection agreement, the company created an asbestos trust fund.
The C.E. Thurston & Sons Asbestos Trust was created in 2006 to provide funds for current and future asbestos claims against the company. At the time, the trust fund had $53 million. Despite a temporary shutdown and revised payment percentages, the trust fund is still settling claims today.
What to Do if You Worked with C.E. Thurston Products
The insulation used by the C.E. Thurston & Sons company impacted many people. You may be able to recover damages if you or a loved one worked for the company handling insulation or worked for another employer contracted with Thurston.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help guide you through the process of filing a claim and seeking compensation for your illness. They can also help you recover compensation for the death of a spouse.
For C.E. Thurston & Sons liability, this means filing a claim with the asbestos trust. The process can be complicated. Work with a lawyer for the best chance of getting the compensation you need.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Mary Ellen Ellis
Mary Ellen Ellis has been the head writer for Mesothelioma.net since 2016. With hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos articles to her credit, she is one of the most experienced writers on these topics. Her degrees and background in science and education help her explain complicated medical topics for a wider audience. Mary Ellen takes pride in providing her readers with the critical information they need following a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness.
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.