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Kelly-Moore Declares Bankruptcy

One of the nation’s largest paint companies, Kelly-Moore, claiming it is unable to compensate asbestos victims, filed bankruptcy.

The company said it made the difficult decision to close because it has been plagued by mounting lawsuits concerning its past use of asbestos in cement and texture products under prior ownership, something that was phased out decades ago.

“I’m extremely disappointed and saddened by this outcome, as the entire Kelly-Moore team made incredible efforts to continue innovating and serving the unique needs of professional painting contractors,” said CEO Charles Gassenheimer. “The ownership group’s commitment from day one was to fix the business if we could. Sadly, no matter how great the Kelly-Moore team, products and reputation for service, we simply could not overcome the massive legal and financial burdens that have been weighing on the Company for many years.”

Asbestos and Paint

Paint manufacturers used asbestos as a filler. It increased the paint’s tensile strength and improved its holding power. Additionally, asbestos does not conduct heat or noise. Therefore, adding asbestos to paint added an additional layer of insulation to commercial and private buildings. Furthermore, asbestos additives kept color pigments suspended in pain so that frequent re-mixing was no longer necessary.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, asbestos was extremely cheap, especially back in the day when domestic asbestos mining was legal.

Several industries took full advantage of this combination, even though using asbestos in paint put people at risk.

  • Automotive plants utilized asbestos paint because it did not corrode
  • Aircraft plants utilized asbestos paint because it was lightweight and aerodynamic.
  • Shipbuilders utilized asbestos paint because it controlled sound, was fire-resistant, and did not rust.
  • Interior decorators utilized asbestos paint to give walls a textured appearance that was popular in the 1960s and 70s.

Asbestos is only dangerous when it is in a raw fiber form or dried additive to the paint. Once the asbestos paint is applied to a surface, it is relatively stable and safe.

But whenever dried asbestos paint is disturbed in any way, tiny microscopic fibers are released. These asbestos fibers are extraordinarily light and frequently go airborne.

By the 1930s, the dangers of asbestos exposure were becoming more widely known. By the 980s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) banned the use of asbestos in paint and other common building materials.

Despite early warnings, asbestos producers and paint suppliers intentionally hid information about airborne asbestos exposure health risks.

Bankruptcy VCF Claims

Bankruptcy enables asbestos providers to avoid liability lawsuits. However, a nationwide asbestos lawyer can still obtain compensation for victims in most of these situations.

Usually, when these companies declare bankruptcy, federal judges order them to transfer most of their assets into victim compensation funds. Today, these funds contain over $30 billion. Fund Administrators evaluate claims and compensate victims for their economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Typically, since they bypass the judicial system, VCF claims are the easiest and fastest way to obtain this compensation. That’s especially true if the victim qualifies for expedited review. Qualifications vary among different funds.

Here’s the bad news. Fund Administrators are usually very stingy negotiators. A judge does not supervise negotiations, and no pending trial date motivates the FA to settle. Therefore, settlement talks are often long and difficult unless the victim is willing to settle for less.

Count on a Hard-Hitting Attorney

Mesothelioma victims need and deserve significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. You have a limited amount of time to act.

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