Established in 1946 by Henry J. Kaiser, Kaiser Aluminum relied on the use of asbestos to create heat-resistant materials. The company used asbestos throughout its manufacturing process, which means that it ultimately sold products containing asbestos until 1982.
At the start of the 1980s, Kaiser Aluminum first became involved in asbestos lawsuits. The financial weight of these claims ultimately led the company to file for bankruptcy at the start of the 2000s. Kaiser Aluminum left bankruptcy in 2006 and created an asbestos trust fund to compensate the victims of asbestos exposure.The History of Kaiser Aluminum
Henry Kaiser was involved in various operations during the 1900s, which included the building of ships, the mining of gypsum, and the manufacturing of aluminum. One of Kaiser's biggest operations involved building ships during World War II.
After the war was over, Kaiser became committed to other efforts, including the manufacturing of motor vehicles. Steel was costly and rare to come by following World War II, which meant that Kaiser incorporated its aluminum operation. In 1945, Kaiser leased three facilities tasked with aluminum manufacturing from the government. Kaiser Aluminum quickly expanded.
In the late 1950s, Kaiser started using asbestos in its plants. As a result of the material's heat-resistant nature, asbestos was viewed as a particularly good tool for manufacturing goods. While Kaiser ultimately placed aluminum in its products until 1978, the company stopped the circulation of aluminum-containing products in 1982.
It is unknown how many people Kaiser exposed to asbestos, but at the peak of its operation in the late 1960s, the company employed almost 100,000 workers at nearly 200 plants.
In the 1980s, Kaiser ended up selling many of its subsidiaries and was acquired by MAXXAM Group Incorporated in 1988.
Kaiser ultimately became involved in the first 1980s asbestos lawsuit and would end up filing for bankruptcy in the early 2000s as a result of debt brought on by these lawsuits. As a term of its bankruptcy discharge, the company was ultimately required to establish a trust to address asbestos claims. Today, Kaiser operates 12 facilities throughout the country.Lawsuits Involving Kaiser and Asbestos Exposure
In 2000, Kaiser faced over 100,000 pending claims and paid approximately $100 million in both defense and settlement costs. Various workers were exposed to asbestos-containing products manufactured by Kaiser. One worker was employed at a paper mill where he came into contact with asbestos-containing Kaiser products from 1971 to 1982. In 2005, the worker was diagnosed with mesothelioma and pursued a lawsuit against Kaiser and other companies responsible for his condition. The worker ultimately received almost $40,000 from the Kaiser trust and approximately $700,000 from other asbestos companies.Contact an Experienced Asbestos Exposure Lawyer
Remember, Kaiser Aluminum, unlike many similar companies, continues to operate today. If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos manufactured by Kaiser or another company, you should not hesitate to contact Throneberry Law Group. Reach us today at (888) 506-1131.