The Riley Stoker Corporation used asbestos materials in the boilers it manufactured for many years. Asbestos put workers at risk of exposure and resulting mesothelioma, leading to numerous lawsuits against Riley Stoker. Riley Power is now a subsidiary of Babcock Power, Inc.
Riley Stoker History and Asbestos
The Riley Stoker Corporation was founded in 1890 in Worcester, Massachusetts.
- Since its earliest days, Riley Stoker made boilers and firing equipment for industrial settings and various fuels, including gas, coal, oil, and waste fuels like wood, refuse, and cellulose.
- From the beginning, the company manufactured industrial-scale boilers and related products and parts. The company sold numerous times over the years, but it continues to manufacture boilers and is still headquartered in Worcester, Massachusetts.
- Before the dangers of asbestos use were widely understood, Ashland, Inc., a large oil company, purchased Riley Stoker.
- In 1990, Ashland sold Riley Stoker, but not before facing lawsuits over asbestos exposure, which began in the 1980s.
- Riley Stoker survived as a subsidiary despite costly asbestos-related lawsuits over the company’s boilers and parts.
Today Riley Stoker is known as Riley Power and is a subsidiary of Babcock Power. It provides services, engineering, equipment, and technology for power generation, steam generators, and heat exchangers.
How Did Riley Stoker Use Asbestos?
Asbestos was once commonly used in boilers and boiler components. Asbestos effectively resists heat and fire.
These properties, along with its lightweight flexibility, made asbestos prized in high-temperature industries. In boilers, asbestos could be used to insulate and strengthen materials that would be heated to high temperatures.
Riley Stoker did not manufacture its boilers with asbestos. However, the company used components made by other companies in its boilers. Some of those parts contained asbestos.
Riley Stoker Products That Contained Asbestos
Many of Riley Stoker’s boilers contained asbestos because of the components that went into their manufacture:
- Heat exchangers
Which Workers Were Exposed to Asbestos Due to Riley Stoker?
Asbestos contains sharp microscopic fibers. When inhaled or ingested, these needle-like fibers can become lodged in tissue. This causes damage that can lead to devastating diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis.
When asbestos materials are disturbed or broken, the tiny fibers break loose and cause exposure. This is a huge risk for workers who handled asbestos or asbestos-containing materials, like Riley Stoker Boilers.
Riley Stoker Employees
Riley Stoker workers who assembled boilers likely handled the asbestos parts, causing fibers to loosen and become airborne where anyone in the area could accidentally inhale them. The company’s employees had some of the highest risks of exposure to asbestos in Filey Stoker factories.
Other Workers Exposed
Riley Stoker workers were not the only ones at risk because of asbestos. Anyone who worked with Riley Stoker boilers in other facilities could have been exposed to asbestos.
- Boiler workers
- Boiler operators
- Maintenance workers
- Repair workers
Over time, the asbestos in Riley Stoker boilers could have deteriorated and become exposed, at which time, fibers may have come loose and led to inhalation by workers in several industries:
Secondhand Exposure to Riley Stoker Asbestos
Another avenue for asbestos exposure is secondary, or secondhand. This occurs when a worker carries asbestos fibers away from the workplace, contaminating other spaces and exposing others.
There are many cases of wives and children of workers developing mesothelioma and other illnesses after secondary exposure in the home.
Asbestos Lawsuits Against Riley Stoker
Riley Stoker employees and other workers who operated their boilers could have been exposed to asbestos. Many of these workers never received warnings that they worked with a dangerous material.
As a result of asbestos in Riley Stoker products, Ashland, the parent company, experienced its first lawsuits in the 1980s. Although Ashland was not involved in making asbestos-containing boilers, the company became liable when it purchased Riley Stoker.
Although Riley Stoker did not experience the huge number of lawsuits that many other companies faced, it was still an expensive situation. Ashland faced hundreds of lawsuits from workers who got sick.
These are some examples of the lawsuits Ashland and Riley Stoker faced:
- Karly H. Lange and his wife Dorothy brought a lawsuit against 184 companies, including Riley Stoker, in 2011. Lange worked in several jobs, being exposed to asbestos products over many years. He eventually developed mesothelioma and asbestosis.
- Paul and Lorraine Palmer filed a lawsuit against 87 companies, including Riley Stoker, for Paul’s asbestos exposure in Louisiana. The Palmers’ lawyer filed their lawsuit in a court in Wisconsin, which a judge dismissed as being unrelated to the area.
- Billy David Harris worked as a laborer and encountered asbestos in numerous brands of boilers, including those made by Riley Stoker. He developed mesothelioma in 2011 and died in 2013. In a lawsuit against Riley Stoker and others, he described refurbishing boilers, which required chipping and resealing asbestos components. Unfortunately, the courts granted Riley Stoker summary judgment in this case.
In 2002, Ashland announced that its insurance policies would be enough to cover approximately $6 million in asbestos liabilities and claims.
What to Do if You Were Exposed to Riley Stoker Boilers
If you believe you were exposed to asbestos because of boilers made and distributed by Riley Stoker, you may have a case for compensation. Contact an experienced mesothelioma and asbestos lawyer to help you determine what to do next.
Mesothelioma lawyers often provide free consultations to give you some initial advice. They can help you determine if any other companies are liable for your exposure. A lawyer will also help you take legal action, filing a lawsuit to seek a settlement or making a claim with an appropriate asbestos trust.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.