Celotex Corporation was an American company that made a variety of construction materials and that owned several subsidiaries. These included a British Celotex Company that operates today as Celotex Saint-Gobain and an asbestos mining company called Carey Canada Inc. The mine provided Celotex with the asbestos needed to make wallboard, fiberboard, shingles, and other asbestos-containing construction materials.
After fielding hundreds of thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits, Celotex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and emerged reorganized in 1996. An asbestos trust fund was created as part of the reorganization, to pay current and future claims. The company now operates in Great Britain and some subsidiaries and divisions were sold to other companies.
The origins of Celotex date back to 1924 and to the original manufacturing facility for fiberboard insulation in Marrero, Louisiana. The Celotex Company of Great Britain was founded in 1925 and only this arm of the company still exists today. Over the years the company expanded by opening new manufacturing plants in the U.K. and in several states including New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, California, Ohio, and Alabama.
The company also broadened its product offerings, including insulation of various types as well as other kinds of construction materials, like roofing shingles and siding. Celotex expanded by developing new products but also by acquiring other, smaller companies. One of these acquisitions was Carey Canada, Inc., an asbestos mine in Canada. Carey operated mines and produced asbestos for Celotex products and its own branded construction products through 1986.
By the 1980s Celotex and Carey were starting to face lawsuits over the illnesses that people were being diagnosed with as a result of exposure to the asbestos in their products and from the mines: mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and some other types of cancers. The lawsuits and claims eventually would number nearly 380,000 and force the company to seek bankruptcy protection to reorganize. This process started in 1990 and the company emerged in 1996. By 1997 a British company had bought some of Celotex’s operations and now the only Celotex still operating is in Great Britain. This modern company makes and sells polyisocyanurate insulation.
Use of Asbestos by Carey and Celotex
Celotex was in the business, from the beginning, of making insulation. Asbestos is a natural mineral that was used in insulation for many decades. It is naturally resistant to heat, electricity, and fire, and is lightweight, which, along with the fact that it was abundant in mines, made it the ideal material to add to insulating products. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be until decades after its heavy use in insulation that experts would discover the health problems that asbestos causes.
Even after Celotex expanded its product line to include other types of construction materials, asbestos remained an important component. It was used by most manufacturers of construction products and was put into ceiling, flooring, siding, insulation, and many other materials used throughout buildings and homes. Both Celotex and Carey made these products, and of course Carey worked directly with asbestos, mining it in Canada and distributing it to Celotex and other manufacturers.
Some examples of the products made by Carey and Celotex that contained asbestos are Carey firefoil board and panel, Carey thermalite, Carey marine panel, Careystone roofing and siding, Careystone sheathing and baffles, Celobric textured buff blend, industrial A-C boards, Celobric insulating brick siding, and Vitricel asbestos sheets.
Occupations Exposed to Celotex Asbestos
Through both Carey and Celotex, thousands of people were exposed to asbestos and put at risk of becoming very sick as a result. Workers in the mine were at risk daily from inhaling the dust produced as a result of cutting and pulling the mineral out of the earth. Those who processed and distributed the asbestos from the mine were also at risk. Workers in Carey and Celotex manufacturing plants were put at risk every day on the job because they likely inhaled fibers that came loose from the asbestos.
It was not just the people who worked for the mine or the Celotex plants who were likely exposed to asbestos because of these companies. All of the many construction workers who used their products in the course of their jobs were also likely exposed. This includes carpenters, plumbers, insulation installers, electricians, boiler workers, pipefitters, shipyard workers, contractors, roofers, painters, and many others. All of these people may also have brought asbestos fibers home on their clothing and tools, putting their families at risk of exposure as well.
Because of the exposure that Celotex caused, the company faced hundreds of thousands of asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits from the early 1980s. There are expected to be more people who become sick because of their products in the future, and claims will likely continue to be made for a few more decades. Some examples of the lawsuits that Celotex settled early on include paying $588,000 to the estate of a man who died from mesothelioma after working as an insulation contractor using Celotex products for decades.
Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust
Eventually the number of lawsuits and the amount of money Celotex was expected to pay out to asbestos victims overwhelmed the company. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1990, reorganized, and emerged in 1996. The Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust was created in 1998 to settle claims over asbestos illnesses. At the time of its creation it was funded with over $1.2 billion and covered both Celotex and Carey claims. The asbestos trust fund is still active today.
New York City was just one of many victims to file a claim with the trust. The city claimed that Celotex asbestos products caused damage to public schools and other public buildings in the city. The city had to replace a lot of the insulation and other materials from these buildings at great cost. In 2003 the trust was ordered to pay the city $40 million. This made New York the largest claimant in the trust and it only came after the trust initially refused to pay and a judge ordered it to do so.
If you worked for or with Celotex or Carey products, you may have been exposed to asbestos. If you get diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness you can file a claim with the Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust. Claims are currently being accepted but the process can be complicated. Let a mesothelioma or asbestos lawyer help guide you through it to ensure you get the best chance of receiving compensation.
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