Dunmore, PA - Dunmore, Pennsylvania-based United Gilsonite Laboratories (UGL) has announced that it will contribute $11.75 million to an asbestos trust fund as part of their bankruptcy reorganization plan. The fund will help settle asbestos-related claims against the company.
According to an article in the Citizens Voice, United Gilsonite, which filed for bankruptcy about 18 months ago, was the manufacturer of coatings, sealants, and paint. Their cement-type construction sealant was made with asbestos from 1954 until 1975. As a result, the company is facing nearly 1,000 lawsuits in 14 different states. The largest number of cases from any one state comes from New York, where there is a total of 350 suits lodged against UGL.
Like many companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products, UGL claims to have been overburdened by the asbestos lawsuits, hence the decision to file for bankruptcy protection. Now, they've asked the court to establish a trust fund with cash that will come from the company and its insurers. Once the fund is established, claimants who suffered asbestos exposure from UGL products would petition a court-appointed committee for compensation.
According to company records, UGL and its insurers paid more than $25 million in asbestos-related claims before they declared bankruptcy. The company reported that it recorded $49 million in sales in 2010 and claimed assets of $21 million and liabilities of $3 million at the time of the bankruptcy filing.
Anyone who wishes to file a claim with UGL will need to do so within a year of the approval of the reorganization plan by the bankruptcy court. Their petitions would then be reviewed by a neutral third party to determine whether or not they will qualify for payment from the fund.
The company, which is best known for manufacturing Drylok, a leak-prevention and waterproofing compound, and Zar wood finish, currently employs about 150 workers including some 80 or so at its plant in Dunmore, which is located near the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. There is no word as to how many asbestos-related lawsuits have been filed by Dunmore employees, who may be candidates for developing malignant mesothelioma if they were employed by the company during the time period that asbestos was used.