Kelly-Moore Paint Company produces paint and other construction supplies and materials. At one time, Kelly-Moore used asbestos in some of its products, including joint cement, joint compounds, wall texture paints, taping compounds, and other construction materials. Many workers who used these asbestos materials got sick with asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer and filed lawsuits against the company.
Today, Kelly-Moore is one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of paint and paint-related materials. The company was founded in 1946 by William Kelly and William Moore.
The two men formerly worked as a superintendent and a lab technician and sales representative for Glidden paints. They decided to start their own business after World War II. The first Kelly-Moore store opened in San Carlos, California.
In 1952, William Moore bought out his partner, William Kelly, but kept the original name for brand recognition. Moore remained in control of the company until his retirement in 1984. During those years, the business grew into a large and successful operation.
Now one of the largest paint companies in the United States, Kelly-Moore has more than eighty stores around the country with more than $100 million in annual sales. Kelly-Moore became an employee-owned corporation in 1998. Two manufacturing facilities, located in San Carlos and Hurst, Texas, supply all the company’s stores.
Asbestos Use in Products
Kelly-Moore once used asbestos in its products because of its ability to resist heat and fire. Asbestos was also used as a thickener and filler for paints.
Although paint and paint products are currently the company’s main focus, at one time it made other construction materials like drywall, compounds, wall textures, and adhesives. These construction materials often included asbestos because it provided insulation, fireproofing, heat resistance, and durability.
Several Kelly-Moore products made in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s included asbestos:
- Paco brand joint cement
- Spray texture
- Topping compound
- Joint compound
- Joint cement
- Taping compound
- Texture paint
- Wall texture
- Quick-set joint compound
- Bedding cement
- Deco-tex ceiling texture
Asbestos Exposure in Workers
Asbestos exposure occurs when its microscopic fibers break off and enter the air, becoming part of the dust in a room or facility. Once inhaled or ingested, these tiny fibers cause damage to tissues and organs.
For some people, this damage leads to devastating and aggressive cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer. For some others, it can cause progressive lung scarring known as asbestosis.
Workers who made Kelly-Moore products and paints risked harmful asbestos exposure. These workers could have inhaled fibers on the job; however, they were not the only ones put at risk.
Construction workers, drywall installers, painters, and others using Kelly-Moore asbestos-containing products could also have been exposed. Sanding was especially dangerous with drywall and joint compounds that contained asbestos. This produced dangerous asbestos dust that could have exposed anyone on a job site.
Even homeowners whose houses were constructed with Kelly-Moore products were at risk of asbestos illnesses and exposure.
Asbestos Lawsuits and Union Carbide
Because of the harm asbestos can cause, Kelly-Moore has faced several lawsuits from people exposed through their products. These lawsuits were largely brought by painters and other construction workers looking for justice and compensation. Some cases have resulted in expensive settlements, costing the company millions.
One case was filed by Alfredo Hernandez, a construction worker who used Kelly-Moore joint compounds. Hernandez won a $55.5 million settlement for his mesothelioma.
Robert Tregget brought another case in 2004. Tregget won his trial in California with a $36.6 million award. Several defendants were listed, and Kelly-Moore was held responsible for 14% of the damages. Tregget had used a Kelly-Moore joint compound when he remodeled his home.
While not all cases were as costly as the Hernandez case, Kelly-Moore did not consider itself responsible for these illnesses. In a move to protect itself, Kelly-Moore filed a lawsuit against Union Carbide in 2002.
Union Carbide provided Kelly-Moore much of the asbestos that went into its paints and other products. The company claimed Union Carbide failed to warn them of the dangers of asbestos materials; however, Union Carbide argued back that Kelly-Moore did know the risks. Ultimately, Union Carbide was found not guilty.
Kelly-Moore faced many lawsuits over asbestos and has paid many expensive settlements as a result. Despite this, the company has avoided bankruptcy. Kelly-Moore has also avoided the creation of a trust to compensate victims. If you think Kelly-Moore products affected your health, talk to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to determine if you have a case.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.