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Harbison-Walker Refractory

Between 1960 to 1981, Harbison-Walker manufactured various products including brick, refractory cement, and rope that contained asbestos. Harbison-Walker pursued bankruptcy in 2002 and soon after established an asbestos exposure trust.

The History of Harbison-Walker

Harbison Walker was established as the Star Fire Brick Company in 1865. The Star Fire company manufactured fireclay bricks for use in large furnaces. A decade later, Samuel Harbison and Hay Walker took control of the business and changed its name to Harbison Walker.

At the start of the 20th century, the Industrial Revolution resulted in increased demand for industrial furnaces in the country. This demand led to increased demand for Harbison Walker products and the company subsequently grew substantially.

In the 1950s, Harbison Walker began placing asbestos in products. The company added asbestos to various products including block, gunning mix, and roll board. Asbestos was attractive due to the material’s durable and heat-resistant nature.

In the late 1960s, Harbison Walker became a subsidiary of Dresser Industries. At the time the acquisition occurred, Harbison Walker was still using asbestos. Harbison Walker ultimately stopped using asbestos in the late 1970s.

When Dresser purchased Harbison Walker, Dresser assumed responsibility for asbestos exposure caused by Harbison Walker. Dresser spun Harbison Walker into a company called Indresco Incorporated. The same year, Dresser merged with Halliburton Company and Halliburton assumed responsibility for asbestos exposure caused by Harbison Walker.

In 2001, Harbison Walker and Halliburton Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Then in 2005, Halliburton established an asbestos exposure trust fund of $5.1 billion.

Additionally, in 2003, Harbison Walker merged with two other companies and was renamed ANH Refractories. The company kept this name until 2015 when the company was rebranded and changed its name to HarbisonWalker International.

Harbison Walker and Bankruptcy

Harbison Walker faced one notable lawsuit in 2001, shortly before the company filed for bankruptcy. Due to this lawsuit, the company lost $40 million. In this lawsuit, Harbison Walker along with several other companies was found to have contributed to asbestos-related diseases faced by the victims.

Harbison Walker was involved in over 200,000 asbestos exposure claims in the early 2000s. More than half of these claims were the result of an indemnification agreement following Harbison Walker’s 1992 indemnification agreement following the Dresser merger.

Most companies create asbestos exposure trusts after filing for bankruptcy. Harbison Walker entered into a deal with its underwriters to resolve asbestos claims. The trust was initially funded with $4 billion and over $570 of this amount came from the underwriters. Trust currently compensates successful claims at 60%.

Before pursuing bankruptcy, Harbison Walker and Dresser shared liability for Harbison Walker asbestos exposure claims. Haliburton then merged with Dresser and took responsibility for current as well as future asbestos exposure claims.

As the number of lawsuits against Harbison Walker increased, the companies were unable to pay for the cost of the claims. Harbison Walker eventually filed for bankruptcy.

In 2005, claims were dispersed through DII Industries LLC Asbestos PI Trust. The trust is responsible for compensating the asbestos exposure victims of several companies including Dresser, Halliburton, Harbison Walker, and Kellogg Brown and Root.

Obtain the Assistance of an Experienced Asbestos Exposure Lawyer

If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos-containing products manufactured by Harbison Walker, you should remember that you have rights as a victim of exposure. You also should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney at Throneberry Law Group.

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