01. Mesothelioma Trust Fund
What Is a Mesothelioma Trust Fund?
Mesothelioma trust funds hold large amounts of money set aside by asbestos companies to compensate asbestos victims. Eligible patients and loved ones can file trust fund claims to receive compensation.
During the past few decades, asbestos companies have faced thousands of lawsuits. Individual victims have received millions of dollars from mesothelioma lawsuit settlements and verdicts. Many companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to handle their asbestos liabilities.
Important Facts About Mesothelioma Trust Funds
- Bankrupt asbestos companies have set up trust funds to compensate present and future victims.
- Asbestos trust funds have already paid out billions of dollars in financial compensation.
- These funds still have billions of dollars set aside for people who develop asbestos-related illnesses.
- The United States Congress added a provision to the Bankruptcy Code to allow the creation of special trusts to pay asbestos victims.
Companies create trusts as part of bankruptcy reorganization plans. A trust sets aside a certain amount of money to compensate current and future asbestos victims. People may hear them referred to as:
- 524(g) trusts
- Asbestos bankruptcy trust funds
- Asbestos trust funds
- Mesothelioma trust funds
Asbestos use was popular until the 1980s when its dangers became widely known. Many companies knew the health risks of asbestos decades before the general public became aware. But they continued to mine the mineral and use it when manufacturing asbestos-containing materials.
Asbestos trust fund compensation can help victims with treatment costs, lost income and other expenses.
Why Were Asbestos Trusts Created?
Asbestos trusts were created to provide compensation to victims of exposure and their loved ones. Trust funds provided companies with a way to handle a large volume of active asbestos claims, as well as future claims.
Many companies filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to manage their liability. Two processes for distressed companies facing high asbestos liabilities are Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Types of Asbestos Company Bankruptcies
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, a company sells all its assets to pay off creditors. It is also known as a “liquidation bankruptcy.”
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, a company restructures its debt with the goal of emerging as a viable company. It is also known as a “reorganization bankruptcy.”
Chapter 7 bankruptcy ends with the termination of the company. A successful Chapter 11 bankruptcy ends with the company still in business. Part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan may involve creating an asbestos trust fund.
Currently, Johns-Manville, National Gypsum Company, Eagle-Picher Corporation and Keene Corporation have the longest standing asbestos trusts. The number of companies establishing trusts continues to grow.
Financial Assistance to Help With Treatment
02. Compensation From Trusts
Compensation From Mesothelioma Trust Funds
Asbestos victims and loved ones can file trust fund claims to receive compensation. Trust funds are managed by trustees, who process claims. Payouts depend on several factors, such as disease severity, age and payment percentage.
How Asbestos Trust Fund Compensation Helps
- Helps pay for treatment and travel expenses
- Provides financial security for patients and families
- Replaces lost income when a patient can’t work
Payment percentages indicate how much of a claim’s value can be expected from a trust. Trustees apply payment percentages to the value of claims to determine payouts. The percentages are designed to maintain funds for current and future victims. A trustee may adjust a trust’s payment percentage to ensure funds are available for future claimants.
In 2010, the RAND Institute for Civil Justice reported a $126,000 median value for asbestos trust claims for mesothelioma patients. The same report found claim values between $7,000 and $1.2 million across various trusts. A trust’s payment percentage may range from less than 1% to 100% of the value of a claim.
Mesothelioma lawyers can ensure patients meet eligibility requirements for maximum compensation.
Mesothelioma Trust Fund Eligibility Requirements
Eligibility requirements limit the number of individuals who can file asbestos trust fund claims. For example, trusts often require documented proof of exposure and an asbestos-related diagnosis, among other evidence.
Who Can File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim?
- People diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases
- Family members of deceased asbestos-disease patients
Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones can work with an asbestos attorney to meet eligibility requirements. This includes determining appropriate funds to file against. Attorneys at asbestos law firms have experience handling the intricacies of mesothelioma trust fund claims.
How Much Is the Average Asbestos Trust Fund Payout?
Asbestos trust fund payouts can range from around $10,000 to more than $100,000. The amount of compensation from a single trust fund claim varies based on several factors. Payment percentage, age, occupation and severity of disease may all affect amounts awarded from mesothelioma trust funds.
How Much Will I Get From an Asbestos Trust Fund?
According to one report, average mesothelioma compensation from a single trust claim ranges from $13,000 to $238,000.
An asbestos victim may be able to file claims with a number of trusts. A mesothelioma attorney can help identify potential trusts a patient or family member may have claims against. An attorney can also file the claims on behalf of their clients.
What Is an Asbestos Trust Fund Payment Percentage?
An asbestos trust’s payment percentage indicates how much of a claim’s value a trust will pay. For example, the W.R. Grace trust currently has a payment percentage of 31.7%. The trust values mesothelioma claims at $180,000. This means a mesothelioma patient may expect around $57,060 for a successful trust fund claim.
Trustees may adjust trusts’ payment percentages. These adjustments are made to keep compensation for future claimants available.
Currently, trusts with high payment percentages include:
- North American Refractories Co. (NARCO): 100%
- Halliburton Company: 60%
- Western MacArthur: 51.1%
- J.T. Thorpe Inc.: 50%
Additional factors, such as age and occupation, may further affect a claim’s ultimate payout. These factors may decrease or increase the compensation an individual receives.
How Much Money Is Left in Asbestos Trust Funds?
Overall, around $30 billion is still available in asbestos trust fund money. Individual trusts have begun with as much as several billion dollars in available funds. As they process claims, trustees may adjust payouts accordingly to ensure future claimants are able to receive compensation.
03. List of Asbestos Trusts
Asbestos Trust Fund List
Mesothelioma patients and loved ones can reference this extensive list of asbestos trust funds. The list is not exhaustive and is subject to change.
|Asbestos Trust Fund
|A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust
|A. P. Green Industries
|APG Asbestos Trust
|A.B.B. Global Inc.
|Lummus 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Pneumo Abex Asbestos Claims Settlement Trust
|ACandS Asbestos Settlement Trust
|API, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust
|Armstrong World Industries
|Armstrong World Industries, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|ARTRA Group, Inc.
|ARTRA 524(g) Asbestos Trust
|ASARCO LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|Babcock & Wilcox Company
|Babcock & Wilcox Asbestos Trust
|Burns & Roe Enterprises, Inc.
|Burns & Roe Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|C.E. Thurston & Sons
|C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc. Asbestos Trust
|Celotex Corporation/ Carey Canada, Inc.
|Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust
|Combustion Engineering 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Congoleum Plan Trust
|Not yet established
|DII Industries, LLC (Dresser Industries)
|DII Industries, LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Not yet established
|Duro Dyne Corporation
|Not yet established
|Eagle-Picher Industries Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|Not yet established
|Federal Mogul Corp.
|Federal Mogul U.S. Asbestos Personal Injury
|Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Ferodo Subfund
|Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Flexitallic Subfund
|Flintkote Co./ Flintkote Mines Ltd.
|Flintkote Company and Flintkote Mines Limited Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Not yet established
|MLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|G-I Asbestos Settlement Trust
|Hercules Chemical Company, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust
|H. K. Porter Co., Inc.
|H. K. Porter Asbestos Trust
|J. T. Thorpe (C.D. Cal.)
|J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust
|J. T. Thorpe (S.D. Tex.)
|J.T. Thorpe Company Successor Trust
|Johns-Manville Corp./ Philadelphia Asbestos Corp. (Pacor)
|Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|Kaiser Aluminum Corp.
|Kaiser Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Keene Creditors Trust
|Metex Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Leslie Controls, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|MacArthur Co./ Western Asbestos Company
|Western Asbestos Settlement Trust
|Maremont Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|National Gypsum Company
|NGC Bodily Injury Trust
|North American Refractories Co. (NARCO)
|North American Refractories Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|Owens Corning Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Owens Corning Subfund
|Owens Corning/ Fibreboard Corp.
|Owens Corning Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Paddock Enterprises LLC 524(g) Asbestos Trust
|Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Plant Insulation Company
|Plant Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust
|Plibrico Asbestos Trust
|Porter Hayden Co.
|Porter Hayden Bodily Injury Trust
|Quigley Company, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Raymark Corp./ Raytech Corp.
|Raytech Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|Not yet established
|Shook & Fletcher Insulation Co.
|Shook & Fletcher Asbestos Settlement Trust
|T. H. Agriculture & Nutrition
|T. H. Agriculture & Nutrition, LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Thorpe Insulation Co./ Pacific Insulation Co.
|Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|Turner & Newall
|Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Turner & Newall Subfund
|United Gilsonite Laboratories
|Not yet established
|United States Gypsum Co./ USG Corp.
|United States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|United States Mineral Products
|United States Mineral Products Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust
|W.R. Grace & Co.
|WRG Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
|Yarway Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
04. Filing a Trust Fund Claim
How to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
Lawyers can file appropriate asbestos trust fund claims on behalf of clients. Services provided by mesothelioma law firms are designed to make getting compensation as easy as possible for patients and family members. This leaves clients time to focus on treatment and spend time with loved ones.
Do You Need an Attorney to File a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claim?
An asbestos attorney is important not only for filing a lawsuit, but also for filing a trust fund claim. Experienced lawyers provide a variety of benefits, including an understanding of eligibility requirements, experience negotiating for maximum compensation and knowledge of trusts accepting claims.
Step 1: Understanding Trust Fund Criteria
Trust funds have requirements that must be observed by those who wish to process a claim. Mesothelioma lawyers have expertise meeting these requirements. Initially, they will consider factors such as exposure and work history to determine which trusts to file against. Once trusts are identified, lawyers will make sure to follow their specific filing criteria.
Trusts may also have filing time frames. The time frame for filing varies among trusts and may fluctuate depending on the facts of the case. Some trusts adopt relevant state laws called statutes of limitations for filing claims.
Mesothelioma Claim Deadlines
- Filed on behalf of mesothelioma patients
- Patients must file within a certain number of years after a mesothelioma diagnosis
Step 2: Gathering Evidence
Mesothelioma lawyers can help gather the evidence needed to file successful claims, including:
- Employment records
- Medical records
- Military records
- Personal records
- Union memberships
- Witness testimony
Step 3: Filing a Trust Claim
After gathering evidence, a lawyer can file the claim with the trust. Claim submission varies among trusts. Some filings may be submitted online or with paper documents. A lawyer will also file any other paperwork, including diagnostic medical records, that an individual trust may require.
Step 4: Review of Trust Claim
Once they receive the filing documents, trust fund administrators begin the claim review process. Claimants are usually given the option to choose between different types of review. In both instances, the payment percentage is still applied.
- Trust administrators assign a claim value based on a formula applied to a patient’s diagnosis
- Typically quicker payouts
- Trust administrators assign a claim a unique value based on individual consideration of a patient’s case
- Typically slower payouts
Asbestos lawyers can determine the best option for review based on victims’ case details.
Step 5: Negotiation and Payment of a Trust Claim
Asbestos lawyers can advocate for the highest compensation for their clients. If a payout is unsatisfactory, lawyers may negotiate for larger payouts or even pursue the trusts through arbitration. Otherwise, lawyers can work with the trust to finalize the claim process and administer the funds.
Are Asbestos Trust Fund Payments Taxable?
Payments from asbestos trust funds are generally not taxable. But certain laws and regulations may result in taxation for some claims or parts of claims. Mesothelioma lawyers can provide insight into the tax status of your payout.
05. Trust Fund vs. Lawsuit
Filing a Trust Fund Claim vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Mesothelioma patients and family members may be able to seek compensation from multiple sources. In addition to trust fund claims, victims may be able to file mesothelioma lawsuits against non-bankrupt asbestos companies. The government also offers benefits for veterans with duty-related mesothelioma in honor of their service.
Asbestos Trust Fund Claim vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuit
- Filed against a trust fund
- Reviewed and either approved or denied by trust administrators
- Average payouts range from tens of thousands of dollars to over $100,000
- Filed against an asbestos company
- Results in a settlement or a verdict given by a judge or jury
- Settlements average over $1 million and verdicts $2.4 million
Can Asbestos Trust Fund Claims Impact Lawsuits?
An individual may be able to file a lawsuit and claims against multiple trusts. A lawyer can determine the number and type of mesothelioma claims available to their client. In some states, trust fund claims may impact lawsuits.
For example, several states have passed so-called “trust transparency” laws. In general, these laws require victims to disclose trust claims they have made or can make against trusts. In some cases, companies may be able to get trust fund payout amounts deducted from verdicts against them.
Lawyers can develop the best asbestos litigation strategies for securing the highest compensation. For example, they may recommend filing in a state with favorable compensation laws. Victims can ask their lawyers any questions they have about how trust fund claims may impact asbestos lawsuits.
06. The FACT Act
The FACT Act and Tort Reform
The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act is a tort reform measure that has been introduced in Congress several times. “Tort reform” is a movement designed to make it harder for victims to file legal claims and to limit compensation. Currently, no action to pass the bill into law has been taken since 2017.
The FACT Act is written to require asbestos trust funds to publicly disclose claims against them. Critics of the bill state that the bill’s provisions are an invasion of privacy and would slow down the claim review process.
Although Congress is not currently taking action on the FACT Act, it could be reintroduced and passed into law in the future. However, advocates continue to fight for the rights of asbestos victims and will oppose the bill if it is reintroduced.
DOJ Trust Fund Concerns
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently spearheaded its own tort reform efforts. The DOJ appears primarily concerned with fraud and trust mismanagement. Some people have expressed skepticism about the extent of problems around trusts.
The DOJ has taken certain actions in recent years related to asbestos trusts. In 2018, it objected to the appointment of a lawyer to the Duro Dyne Trust. It has also intervened in two trust bankruptcy proceedings, expressing concerns about a lack of safeguards to prevent fraud. The effect of and extent to which these interventions were warranted is a matter of some debate.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can navigate trust fund processes to help asbestos victims receive compensation. A lawyer can also explore other legal options, such as lawsuits.
07. Common Questions
Common Questions About Asbestos Trust Funds
How many asbestos trust funds are there?
- There are currently more than 60 trusts to compensate victims of asbestos exposure. Some asbestos companies are still in the process of creating them as part of their bankruptcy restructuring plans.
Is there a limit to how many asbestos trust funds I can submit a claim to?
- No, there is no limit to the number of trusts an asbestos victim can file with. Eligible claimants can file against the trusts of any companies responsible for their asbestos exposure.
What fees will be taken out of my trust fund settlement?
- Generally, your attorney will receive the same percentage of a trust fund settlement that you agreed to when you retained their services. Some trust funds cap attorney fees.
How long is the claim review process for asbestos trust compensation?
- The claim review process can vary greatly between trusts. Some trusts can take as little as one to two weeks to approve a claim. Many take one to three months and some can take as long as six months to one year. Generally, trusts prioritize the cases of living claimants.