Flexitallic Group is a global company that makes industrial gaskets, especially for the oil industry. For many years, the company made its gaskets with asbestos and was eventually acquired by Federal-Mogul. That company faced thousands of lawsuits over asbestos exposure and ultimately reorganized and set up an asbestos trust fund.
The Flexitallic brand can trace its history to mid-1800s England. The company manufactured gaskets from the very beginning. In the early 1900s, Flexitallic moved to the United States, placing its headquarters in Camden, New Jersey.
Flexitallic experienced success in the US market after introducing the first spiral-wound gasket for industrial use in 1912. Until the 1940s, no other company produced a similar product. Flexitallic also manufactured other gaskets, selling them to several countries.
In 1963, investors from Connecticut purchased the company, incorporating it as the Flexitallic Gasket Company, Inc. By 1970, Flexitallic had been sold to Turner & Newell, a British asbestos and manufacturing company.
Turner & Newell moved the company back to the United States, renaming it Flexitallic, Inc. Eventually, the name changed again to Gasket Holdings, Inc. Later, Dan-Loc Bolt and Gasket bought the company. Currently, the company is known as the Flexitallic Group and is based in Houston, Texas.
In 1998, Federal-Mogul purchased the Flexitallic Group. Federal-Mogul took on the asbestos liability of Flexitallic when it purchased the company. Due to the expense of this liability, Federal-Mogul reorganized under bankruptcy protection and formed an asbestos trust fund.
Asbestos Use by Flexitallic
Flexitallic is known for its industrial gaskets and sealing materials, especially its patented spiral wound gasket. Gaskets were often made with sheet packing that contained asbestos.
Flexitallic was not alone in its asbestos use; however, it was a major manufacturer of these products, distributing them to several companies and industrial workplaces.
Asbestos was used to manufacture gaskets because of its unique qualities. This natural mineral resists fire and high temperatures. Using asbestos in gaskets and seals helped to insulate and prevent heat from leaking.
Asbestos also added strength to materials, making gaskets more durable and resistant to erosion. Finally, asbestos was inexpensive and readily available. The spiral wound gasket contained some of the highest levels of asbestos, resulting in many liability cases filed against Flexitallic.
Flexitallic gaskets put many people at risk of asbestos exposure. Workers who made the gaskets in Flexitallic facilities and those who did not handle the material directly faced those risks.
These employees were in danger of inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers. Inhaling these airborne fibers put them at risk of developing serious illnesses later in life, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Thousands of workers around the world worked in industries using Flexitallic gaskets. Workers in oil refineries, for example, installed, maintained, and repaired gaskets. Every time workers handled the gaskets, they risked exposure to asbestos fibers. Refinery workers, pipefitters, plumbers, and many others could have been at risk due to Flexitallic gaskets.
Flexitallic has been sued many times because of its asbestos use. Victims of exposure and illness claimed Flexitallic was liable and should pay settlements.
At first, Turner & Newell faced all the lawsuits; however, Federal-Mogul stepped in when that company could not cover them all. When this company purchased Flexitallic, it became responsible for the asbestos liabilities and put up over $2 billion to cover them.
Eventually, Federal-Mogul was also overwhelmed by the extent of expected settlements. In 2001, the company was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Federal-Mogul struggled with the expense of lawsuits from several acquired companies. Flexitallic’s lawsuits accounted for the greatest number, at over 150,000.
Asbestos Trust Fund
As part of its reorganization, Federal-Mogul created an asbestos trust fund to cover ongoing and future claims. Tenneco now owns Federal-Mogul, but the trust is responsible for compensating victims.
The Federal-Mogul US Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, Turner & Newell Subfund covers Flexitallic claims. This subfund was established in 2007 and is still active.
If you can trace asbestos exposure to Flexitallic gaskets, you may be eligible to make a claim with the appropriate Federal-Mogul trust fund. If you have an asbestos-related illness and feel certain Flexitallic played a role, let an asbestos lawyer guide you through the claims process.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.