Georgia-Pacific LLC recently pledged to advance $1 billion to an asbestos liability trust fund to compensate victims who developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers as a result of exposure to asbestos caused by one of the company’s subsidiaries. Georgia-Pacific’s affiliate, Bestwall LLC, is currently embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings as part of reorganization proceedings to free the parent company from the legal liability from the subsidiary, which it purchased in 1965.
During its history, Bestwall LLC, formerly known as Bestwall Gypsum Company, manufactured asbestos containing products such as gypsum wallboard, acoustical plaster, joint compounds and drywall adhesives. Bestwall used asbestos, as many companies did for decades, due to the mineral’s heat-resistant properties which allowed it to be molded to fit a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications.
Unfortunately for workers and consumers, asbestos is a known carcinogen that is directly linked to developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissues surrounding the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. Even worse, asbestos companies like Bestwall knew for years about the health risks posed by exposure to asbestos but provided no safety precautions or warnings to manufacturing workers, those working with the materials, or consumers about the risks associated with the carcinogenic products. Sadly, thousands of Americans every year receive a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis, leaving most of them with just months to live and few treatment options to improve their prognosis,
As of 2017, Bestwall LLC was facing an estimated 62,000 asbestos illness claims brought by plaintiffs who claimed they developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related medical conditions. Georgia-Pacific itself has paid out almost $3 billion in total compensation to resolve more than 400,000 asbestos illness claims by that time as well. Prior to Georgia-Pacific’s infusion of cash, Bestwall’s asbestos trust had only $175 million, a figure that many experts determined would fall short of properly compensating all of the victims and their families who filed claims against the company.
If approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina, the asbestos liability trust set up by Bestwall would be an addition to the some other 50 such currently in existence created by asbestos companies to relieve themselves of ongoing litigation and compensate plaintiffs. By filing a claim with an asbestos liability trust, claimants may be able to forgo the long process of litigating claims in court, while still being able to recoup compensation for their past and future medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering of living with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
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If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.