Pacor Incorporated has been in business since 1921 and today is a leading manufacturer of insulation. The company is well known for its innovative insulation products and materials, including aerogel insulations, fiberglass, ceramic, and foam insulations, and insulation covers. The products are designed for insulating heat and cold as well as sound. Pacor partners with other companies, most notably Johns Manville.
The original name of Pacor was Philadelphia Asbestos Corporation. The company made insulation with asbestos and advertised this fact because it was an effective insulator. It provided its products largely to industrial customers and the U.S. military during World War II. Pacor stopped using asbestos as the risks of the material to human health became known, but much of the damage was already done. After numerous lawsuits, Pacor filed for and reorganized under bankruptcy protection in 1986.
About Pacor Inc.
Although Pacor has a rocky history with asbestos litigation and resulting bankruptcy, today it is a modern and successful company that provides innovative insulation solutions to a variety of industries. It makes more traditional insulation from materials like fiberglass, but also high-tech aerogel insulation. Pacor fabricates insulation in plants in three plants in North Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey. Some of the many industries Pacor serves are locomotive and commuter rail, industrial heating, HVAC, food service, and acoustical. The company also makes a unique and proprietary product called RapidWrap, which covers thermal insulation and is removable and reusable.
Pacor’s successes today began back with its founding in 1921 as the Philadelphia Asbestos Company. The headquarters were in Philadelphia then, but eventually would move to Cinnaminson, New Jersey. From the beginning the company offered a variety of asbestos insulation products, including pipe insulation and covering, and asbestos pads. Over several decades the company grew and expanded, eventually selling insulation to more than 100 companies around the country.
Pacor always focused on industry and commercial customers, as well as the military, rather than residential and home insulation products. During World War II, Pacor was a major supplied to the military, especially to Naval shipyards and vessels. A big recipient of the products was the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
Eventually Philadelphia Asbestos Company became Pacor, but not before it caused a lot of damage making insulation products with asbestos. The company also got into more trouble by partnering with Johns Manville, a company that also used a lot of asbestos, particularly in construction materials like those used for roofing. Eventually the harm caused by both companies led to lawsuits in which both shared liability, bankruptcy, and the creation of a trust to cover claims over both companies’ products.
Asbestos in Products
The use of asbestos in insulation was not uncommon in the early and mid-twentieth century. The mineral was easy to get, inexpensive, and excellent at insulating from heat and cold. It was also easy to use, moldable to many shapes, and durable and strong. It was the perfect material for insulation, unfortunately, it was also damaging to human health, something that was not determined until it had already been used in many applications. These include most of the products that Pacor made at one time: pipe insulation, insulation covers, fiberglass insulation, and others.
Wherever asbestos is used, exposure is possible and people are put at risk. Asbestos exposure, which means either inhaling or ingesting the microscopic fibers of which the mineral is made, can lead to tissue damage. In some people this damage will cause cancer, including lung cancer or mesothelioma. In some it will cause a progressive and eventually fatal scarring in the lungs called asbestosis. People can become exposed and be put at risk any time asbestos is disturbed and fibers come loose and enter the air or the dust in a space or facility.
Because of the asbestos used in insulation, including Pacor products, many people were put at risk of exposure. Pacor factory workers were at risk because they either handled or were near asbestos that was being handled during the making of insulation. Workers in other industries that used Pacor insulation were also at risk. These included construction workers, pipefitters, industrial factory workers, electricians, insulation installers, maintenance and repair workers, shipyard workers, and ship builders.
Another group of people that were put at risk of asbestos exposure because of Pacor and other companies that made asbestos insulation was U.S. Navy men and women. Today, veterans of the Navy have some of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the country because so much asbestos was used on ships. Pacor together with Johns Manville provided a lot of the asbestos materials that went on to Navy ships.
Litigation over Asbestos
Pacor began to see lawsuits over the illnesses caused by asbestos in their products by the 1970s. The number and costs of these lawsuits was enough to force the company to file for bankruptcy protection in 1986. Pacor reorganized and emerged from bankruptcy in 1989. Pacor was a company that faced asbestos litigation relatively early, and one case, Higgins v. Pacor, Inc., in 1984, served as a test trial in how third party suits could be brought against companies that were seeking bankruptcy protection.
Mr. Higgins was suing Pacor over his asbestos illness related to Johns Manville products distributed by Pacor. A judge ruled that his case could not be transferred to Johns Manville bankruptcy proceedings because it was not related. This ruling had an impact on all future similar cases.
Asbestos Trust with Johns Manville
As part of bankruptcy protection, Pacor needed to provide funding for future claimants living with asbestos illnesses because of the company’s products. Because Pacor worked so closely with Johns Manville in making and distributing asbestos products, Pacor claims go through the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. The trust was created in 1988 and was funded with $2.5 billion. It is still active today and accepting claims for Pacor and Johns Manville.
If you suffered an asbestos-related illness because of Pacor insulation products, whether you worked for the company or just used their products, you still have time to request and win compensation. The Johns Manville trust is active and taking claims from Pacor asbestos victims.
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