One of the nation’s most recognized companies, General Motors (GM) has been manufacturing automobiles for over 100 years. As the company grew, it entered other industries as well. Many of the products that GM and its subsidiaries created contained asbestos and, because of the size of GM, the number of people impacted by the company’s use of asbestos is extensive.
History of GM
GM was founded in Flint, Michigan on September 16, 1908 by William Durant. At that time, GM only owned the Buick Motor Company. However, Durant would go on to purchase more than 30 companies with the intention of bringing all of them together under the GM label. These companies included Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Cadillac. Today, GM is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.
As the company began expanding, it entered other industries apart from the manufacturing of automobiles. For example, it acquired subsidiaries like Frigidaire and the Delco Appliance Corporation. Additionally, GM helped during World War II by producing tanks, naval ships, and planes. Today, GM also provides consumer lending services.
General Motors and Asbestos
The disturbance of asbestos causes microscopic fibers to be released into the air, which can be breathed into the lungs. Those fibers can cause serious health issues, like the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. An individual may live for several years after exposure to asbestos fibers before any health complications become apparent.
GM purchased products containing asbestos from numerous outside companies, which led to the company being named in a number of lawsuits. For example, Borg-Warner produced clutch parts that contained chrysotile asbestos, which GM used from the early 1960s into the 1980s. The majority of the lawsuits involving GM related to brake linings and clutch facings. GM used asbestos (or products that contained asbestos) in brake and clutch assemblies from the 1930s to the 1980s. Asbestos was also used in adhesives, gaskets, and electrical parts.
Individuals at significant risk included automobile mechanics, warehouse employees, brake and clutch assemblers, and boiler workers. Risk of asbestos exposure also extended to sales people of automobile parts and consumers. Many parts were widely available at stores to enable consumers to work on their own cars. GM subsidiaries, like Frigidaire and Delco manufactured products that contained asbestos to insulate boilers and ovens. This placed individuals who repaired or installed these products at risk, as well as consumers.
The company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and emerged from it the same year. As a result of its bankruptcy, GM was forced to create an asbestos trust fund. This was completed in 2012 and contains $625 million for the benefit of victims of exposure to asbestos that can be traced to GM.
If you have developed health issues as a result of exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to recover for the damage you have suffered. For more information about potential legal remedies, contact an attorney with experience handling mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cases today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we will travel to you to provide our help.