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W.R. Grace & Company

Functioning for many years as a well-known manufacturer of both building products and specialty chemicals, W.R. Grace & Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the early 2000s. Several years later, Grace emerged from bankruptcy and established two trusts to compensate the victims of asbestos exposure due to products manufactured by the company.

The History of the Company

Formed in Peru in the 1850s, W.R. Grace was established by an Irishman who fled Ireland during the Great Famine to South America. Several years later, the company’s name was changed to Grace Brothers & Company and it set up its head office operations in New York City. Over the next 100 years, the company expanded its business to various operations including Grace Cruise Lines, Grace National Bank, Grace Shipping, Grace Drilling, and Grace Petroleum. In the 1950s, Grace was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Several years later, Grace acquired Davison Chemical Company as well as Dewey & Almy Chemical Company.

Asbestos-Containing Products Manufactured by W.R. Grace

W.R. Grace began producing asbestos-containing products as early as the 1930s. The mineral was popular due to its durable nature and heat-resistant qualities. Some of the asbestos-containing products manufactured by W.R. Grace include monkote, vermiculite insulation, zonolite super 40, and zonolite plaster. Some of the types of workers who were exposed to asbestos include people engaged in mining, shipping, trucking, and plumbing.

Lawsuits and W.R. Grace

The first asbestos personal injury lawsuits were brought against W.R. Grace in the mid-1980s. Many of the plaintiffs who initiated these cases were former miners as well as their loved ones. By 2000, approximately 150 wrongful deaths and personal injury lawsuits were filed against the company. While six of these cases proceeded to trial, the rest were resolved out of court. By 2010, the number of lawsuits the company faced had grown substantially. Due to the number of lawsuits the company faced, it eventually filed for bankruptcy.

The Trust Established by W.R. Grace

As a requirement for being discharged from bankruptcy, W.R. Grace & Company was required to establish a trust to pay both current and future asbestos claims. The company was required to follow several orders while funding its trust:

  • Payments from the company of $1.8 billion were made into the trust.
  • Following a year after the plan’s confirmation, warrants were made to purchase 10 million shares of the company’s stock at $17 a share.
  • Cash and stock totaling $1.2 billion from earlier settlements with Sealed Air Corporation and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Incorporated.
  • Rights to proceed from W.R. Grace’s liability insurance coverage which could total as much as $917 million.
Speak with an Asbestos Exposure Attorney Today

Following a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer due to exposure to products manufactured by W.R. Grace or another company, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact the Throneberry Law Group today by calling (888) 506-1131.

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