The companies that mined, manufactured, and sold asbestos products were long aware of the mineral’s dangers. Despite this knowledge, they continued to use asbestos, posioning workers while banking on long latency periods between exposure and disease development to either conceal or distract from the connection between asbestos and cancer.
Adding insult to injury, when the first asbestos lawsuits were brought against asbestos product manufacturers in the late 1960s, companies continued to deny their awareness of asbestos’ risks. For a decade, the “state-of-the-art” defense was widely used. Companies argued they had no idea workers were developing cancer from asbestos. Not only did plaintiff’s asbestos attorneys reveal this defense was false, but the usage of asbestos continued to rise in the US until lawsuits began being won by injured workers.
Asbestos Trust Funds (Asbestos Bankruptcy Claims)
Many asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code. This doesn’t mean these companies ceased to exist and their assets were liquidated. On the contrary, these companies continue to exist in a modified form; as part of their reorganization, most of these companies set up asbestos trust funds to benefit asbestos workers.