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C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc.

C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc. is a company that works with insulation for industries that include cold storage, marine facilities and vessels, and a wide range of specialty equipment. For many years insulation made by many manufacturers contained asbestos because this natural mineral is so good at insulating against heat and cold. C.E. Thurston was one of these companies.

Based in Norfolk, Virginia, C.E. Thurston & Sons was founded in 1919 and still exists today, although it was forced to go through bankruptcy protection and reorganization following thousands of lawsuits brought against it by victims of asbestos exposure. These people got sick because of the asbestos insulation and now either live with or have died from mesothelioma and other types of cancer. They can now request compensation by filing a claim through the company’s asbestos trust fund.

Company History

The history of the C.E. Thurston & Sons company dates back to 1919 when C.E. Thurston began his small business offering contracting services for several mechanical packing manufacturing companies. He did business throughout southeastern Virginia, and when he incorporated the company in 1949 it was headquartered in Norfolk and called C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc.

Soon after he offered his initial services, Thurston added insulation to the list of offerings. The company contracted with other companies to distribute, install, maintain, repair, or remove insulation in a variety of industrial settings, including maritime. Because of the nature of the business and the time period, C.E. Thurston was a company that dealt in asbestos. Asbestos is an excellent insulator and was inexpensive at the time, so it was used in nearly all types of insulation.

C.E. Thurston never manufactured asbestos insulation, but it contracted with companies to buy, sell, install, repair, and remove insulation, so it was involved in the use of asbestos. During the 1970s the company slowed down its use of products with asbestos and by the end of the decade it had stopped using asbestos insulation entirely. By then, though, the damage was done for too many workers who had handled and worked with the asbestos insulation.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s C.E. Thurston & Sons continued to grow and expand as it acquired other insulation companies and contractors. The company also expanded its operations and services to several different states. Also during this time and into the 2000s, Thurston faced a number of asbestos related lawsuits. The company originally faced this challenge by creating the Asbestos Claims Facility to administer claims and pay settlements. Other companies involved in it withdrew and it became defunct. Thurston then created the Center for Claims Resolution, Inc. for the same purpose, but eventually tried to settle claims on its own. Eventually the company was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It emerged from reorganization in 2006 with a new asbestos trust fund to settle claims.

Use of Asbestos

C.E. Thurston & Sons never directly worked with asbestos because the company did not manufacture insulation. It was a contracting company that other companies would hire to purchase and install new insulation or to maintain or remove old insulation. Because the company worked with insulation that contained asbestos and distributed it, it has been considered liable for the exposure that many people experienced, along with the manufacturers of the insulation.

Workers Affected by C.E. Thurston

The asbestos exposure that C.E. Thurston has been considered liable for includes a range of workers in various industries. Those people working for the company directly, who handled insulation, were at the greatest risk for exposure. These workers installed asbestos insulation, made repairs, and removed old insulation. Any of these roles could easily have led to the release of asbestos fibers from the insulation, which the workers could then have inhaled, resulting in damage and illness later.

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. This includes various types of construction workers, workers in manufacturing plants, mechanics, and many others. The maritime industry in particular used a lot of asbestos insulation. Shipyard workers, like ship builders, repairers, and Navy veterans, were all put at serious risk of being exposed to and affected by asbestos insulation.

Asbestos Lawsuits

C.E. Thurston & Sons started to see lawsuits over asbestos illnesses beginning in the 1980s. They faced thousands of claims that their work with insulation made people sick. To deal with and to administer claims and settlements from these lawsuits the company formed the Asbestos Claims Facility (ACF) through what was called the Wellington Agreement. This was done with 33 other companies that were also facing asbestos insulation related claims. The ACF began evaluating and settling claims in 1985, but it fell apart two years later when several companies withdrew.

Soon after the collapse of the ACF, Thurston and other companies tried again 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 that Thurston faced were those that came from U.S. Navy veterans and their families. The company had spent a significant portion of time and resources on Navy ships in Virginia and other locations, resulting in many veterans who were exposed and later got sick. It was a lawsuit against Thurston that set the precedent that asbestos defendants could not be exempt from lawsuits because of the Federal Enclave Clause.

Asbestos Trust Fund

Thurston administered its own asbestos lawsuits and claims for two years until it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2003. The company reorganized under this protection and emerged in 2006. As part of the agreement for bankruptcy protection the company had to create an asbestos trust fund, the C.E. Thurston & Sons Asbestos Trust. It was created in 2006 to provide funds for current and future asbestos claims against the company. At the time it was created, the trust fund hand $53 million. The trust is still active, and in spite of a temporary shutdown to revise payment percentages, it is settling claims.

Many people were impacted by the insulation used by the C.E. Thurston & Sons company. If you were one of them, either because you or a loved one worked for the company and handled the insulation, or you worked for another employer that contracted with Thurston, you may be able to recover some damages. The trust fund is accepting claims and a good mesothelioma lawyer can help guide you through the process of filing a claim and seeking compensation for your illness or the death of a spouse.

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