Rapid-American Corporation/Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation originally manufactured insulation and industrial equipment using asbestos. Because of the overwhelming number of lawsuits related to asbestos products, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2013 and has not yet reorganized.
Rapid-American/Philip Carey History and Asbestos
Although Rapid-American was only created in 1966, the history of the Philip Carey Manufacturing Company is much older. Philip Carey was founded in Ohio in 1873 and incorporated in 1888.
- The company initially manufactured and distributed several asbestos-containing products, primarily industrial insulation materials.
- The company acquired asbestos from mines in Quebec to produce industrial-grade insulation for boilers, pipes, and other purposes in power plants, steel mills, textile mills, refineries, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities.
- In 1967, Philip Carey merged with a company called Glen Alden Corporation. After this merger, the company was commonly called the “New Carey.”
- Just three years later, it merged with another company, Briggs Manufacturing, and changed its name to Panacon. Glen Alden eventually sold Panacon, with its Philip Carey as a subsidiary company, to Celotex. In 1972, Celotex merged with Rapid-American, another Ohio-based manufacturing company.
- Meshulam Riklis founded Rapid-American in 1966 by merging two companies that manufactured plates and lithographs.
- Lawsuits filed against Philip Carey for asbestos use emerged in the late 1970s. These lawsuits were so costly they quickly overwhelmed Rapid-American.
The company ceased operations in 1989. Rapid-American currently exists solely to deal with asbestos liabilities. The company sought bankruptcy protection in 2013. The Rapid-American asbestos trust is set to cease operations 64 years after it was founded.
How Did Philip Carey Use Asbestos?
Rapid-American never used asbestos. It acquired asbestos liabilities from the Philip Carey Corporation after the companies merged.
Like most other insulation manufacturers, Philip Carey used asbestos in its products for many years. For decades, asbestos was commonly used to manufacture a number of products because it was inexpensive, readily available, and had useful insulating properties.
Even as evidence emerged that asbestos could cause illness, many companies continued to use it because it worked so well.
Philip Carey originally made a range of insulation products for industrial settings. Asbestos is highly efficient at insulating, keeping heat from being lost, and is also lightweight, strong, and easy to form into different shapes.
Carey Canada owned asbestos mines in Quebec that supplied the company with the mineral for its products.
Philip Carey Asbestos Products
The Philip Carey Corporation made several products using asbestos:
- Rock wool insulation
- Asphalt shingles
- Asbestos concrete
- Asbestos floats
Who Was at Risk of Exposure to Asbestos From Philip Carey Products?
Unfortunately, asbestos is potentially harmful to human health. Exposure to tiny asbestos fibers can cause damage to internal tissues. For some individuals, this damage causes mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis.
These are all serious illnesses that are difficult to treat or cure. Most workers exposed to asbestos on the job do not develop signs of the illnesses until decades later. This latency period makes diagnosis tricky.
Philip Carey employees were at risk of exposure to harmful asbestos fibers because they worked with or around asbestos. These workers often handled asbestos used to manufacture their insulation products.
Handling of asbestos can cause tiny microscopic fibers to break loose and become airborne, leading to accidental inhalation or ingestion. Anyone working around asbestos is at risk. However, those who directly handled this dangerous mineral were in the greatest danger.
Workers who may have handled asbestos-containing products include those in manufacturing plants, those who installed Philip Carey insulation, and workers in facilities that bought and installed the insulation. This includes:
- Boiler workers
- Factory workers
- Insulation and equipment repair workers
- Metal workers
Asbestos Lawsuits Against Rapid-American
With Philip Carey as a subsidiary, Rapid-American assumed liability for the harm caused by asbestos in the company’s insulation products. Lawsuits were filed beginning in the mid- and late-1970s and continue today.
Initially, many lawsuits targeted Celotex; however, that subsidiary went bankrupt and could not raise funds for an asbestos trust. Liability next fell to Rapid-American.
These are some examples of lawsuits Rapid-American faced:
- Jesse Domanske worked at Philip Carey’s plant in Millington, New Jersey, making asbestos shingles. He developed and died from mesothelioma, and his widow filed a lawsuit. Unfortunately, Rapid-American won summary judgment, and the case was dismissed.
- Julius Novicki worked as a welder and used asbestos-containing products from multiple companies, including Philip Carey. He died from mesothelioma in 1995. Novicki’s family sued Rapid-American and others in 1997.
- Henry Pustejovsky was a metal worker who developed asbestosis in 1982 and mesothelioma in 1994. He initially sued Johns Manville and settled for $25,000. When he received the mesothelioma diagnosis, Pustejovsky sued Rapid-American and other asbestos suppliers. The judge dismissed the case based on the statute of limitations, but in 2000, the Texas Supreme Court reversed that decision. The court determined that Pustejovsky had a right to sue for a second related illness.
Rapid-American Bankruptcy and Asbestos Trust
After dealing with expensive lawsuits, Rapid-American was in a difficult spot. It completely halted business operations in 1989 but continued to exist to settle mesothelioma and asbestos claims.
In 2013, the company filed for bankruptcy.  At the time, it had approximately 275,000 personal injury claims against it, assets of between just $50 and $100 million, and between $100 and $500 million of debt.
It took several years to complete the bankruptcy process. In 2021, it emerged with the establishment of an asbestos trust to compensate victims. Called the Rapid-American Asbestos Personal Injury Liquidating Trust, the company funded it with $12.3 million from insurance settlements.
What to Do if You Were Exposed to Philip Carey Asbestos Products
If Philip Carey asbestos insulation impacted you, contact a mesothelioma lawyer for professional advice on your options for compensation and justice. They can help you make a successful claim with the Rapid-American Trust.
While filing a lawsuit against Rapid-American is not an option, there might be other companies that can be held liable for your asbestos illness. A mesothelioma lawyer can determine all the companies that exposed you to asbestos. They can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit to seek a settlement or jury award.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Mary Ellen Ellis
Mary Ellen Ellis has been the head writer for Mesothelioma.net since 2016. With hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos articles to her credit, she is one of the most experienced writers on these topics. Her degrees and background in science and education help her explain complicated medical topics for a wider audience. Mary Ellen takes pride in providing her readers with the critical information they need following a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness.
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.