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Asbestos Watch Newsletter
November/December 1988

Featured Articles:

Healthy Manville Immune From Suits
Who Says It's Safe?


Healthy Manville Immune From Suits
Victims' Trust Works
to Solve Payment Problems

"The Trust is also legally responsible for payments to Manville, the government and other asbestos companies, their insurers and distributors. Unfortunately for victims, these claims take precedence over--and have to be paid before--the victims' claims."

The Manville Corporation and its officers are facing a bright future. The picture is not so rosy for their hundreds of thousands of victims. The company which murdered so many of its workers is looking forward to emerging from bankruptcy as a viable and healthy company at the end of November. Manville victims who filed suit against the company before August, 1982, will be eligible to receive payments for settlements when the bankruptcy plan is consummated. The situation is a little more complicated and not quite so hopeful for victims who had not filed by 1982 or who will be filing in the future.

Marianna Smith, Executive Director of the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust, explained to White Lung members that the trust hoped to have agreements on settlements for at least 75% of the 17,000 pre-bankruptcy cases by November. Settlements have been negotiated for large groups of victims, whose lawyers allocate settlement amounts to individuals. The Trust sends auditors out to review allocations to make sure that settlements are made on the basis of severity of disease and do not show favoritism to certain victims.

Asbestos victims who did not file against Manville by 1982 will have to present an eight page proof of claim form including medical diagnosis and history. No x-rays are required unless there is a dispute. Ms. Smith says it is possible for a victim to file without a lawyer. (The WLA recommends that the decision to do without legal representation should not be made without careful consideration of all factors in a case.)

Victims' claims filed after 1982 are to be handled on a "First In, First Out " (FIFO) basis. The court's FIFO rules are very complicated and each case must be dealt with individually. For example, one victim's payment could be delayed at the last moment because another victim or an insurance company filed a suit. Hardship cases jump to the head of the FIFO line for payment. As of September only seven had been filed.

The Trust will assume that victims who have already settled with other manufacturers or who worked in shipyards, insulation or refineries were exposed to Manville products and have a right of claim against Manville. It will demand more proof of claim from workers exposed in other situations: carpenters and construction workers, for example. Ms. Smith feels that some presumptions set up by the court are too arbitrary and hopes to develop a system which reduces the burden on the victim.

If the sixty-five thousand lawsuits already settled by the Wellington Group come in to the Trust, it will take a long time to process and evaluate them. There is no guarantee that the Trust will have the money to pay the one hundred to two hundred thousand claims that may be filed over the coming years. In order to economize, the Trust is offering limited release for future filings on lung cancer or mesothelioma if a victim with pleural plaques or asbestosis will settle for less money for the present. (The WLA recommends that asbestos victims who do not have cancer should not give up the right to future claims if cancer develops.)

The Trust is divided into departments. The general counsel, under David Austin, acts as lawyer for the trust in settlement negotiation. The finance department, under Ted Kleinman, monitors Manville operations closely because the Trust is the corporation's largest shareholder and will get a share of Manville profits to pay victims within four years. The largest department, claims, evaluates cases like the claims department of an insurance company. Paul Lohr formerly of Aetna Insurance heads this department which is staffed by people with experience working for other manufacturers, the Wellington Group and insurance companies.

Ms. Smith explained that the department would not function like a manufacturer or its insurer. Their job is to "settle cases.... We won't spend money fighting you," she said. The Trust is also legally responsible for payments to Manville, the government and other asbestos companies, their insurers and distributors. Unfortunately for victims, these claims take precedence over--and have to be paid before--the victims' claims.

At its September meeting, the WLA Board of Directors took a firm stand against Manville Corporation and other commercial claims taking money from victims and is working to prevent this. The board also voted to work to assure that hardship cases and younger victims in the first stages of disease were not denied their rights. The board will continue to study Trust activity and will be proposing steps to make sure that the Trust's resources benefit asbestos victims and not the corporations.


Las Compañias Evitan Pagar A las Victimas

Cuando la compañia de asbesto Manville salga de la bancarrota, las victimas con casos llevados antes de agosto de 1982 seran pagados primeros. La corte establecio un sistema de "primero que entre, primero que salga" para arreglar otros casos. Este sistema es muy complicado. Las otras compañias de asbesto tambien estan desarrolando sus estrategias para evitar pagar compensacion justa a sus victimas. Pongase en contacto con la Asociacion del Pulmon Blanco si Ud. tiene preguntas sobre su caso.


Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.