Crown Cork & Seal Company

Expert Fact Checked

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Jennifer Lucarelli Lawyer and Legal Advisor

In the 1960s, Crown Cork & Seal Company acquired another company that sold asbestos insulation. As a result of this purchase, it also acquired the company’s asbestos liabilities. Crown Cork & Seal Company continues to pay out asbestos settlements to mesothelioma patients and their families.

01. History of Asbestos Use

Crown Cork & Seal Company History of Asbestos Use

Crown Cork & Seal Company (Crown Cork) acquired an asbestos company in 1963. The company, Mundet Corporation (Mundet), had two businesses. One produced cork bottle caps, the other asbestos insulation. This purchase resulted in Crown Cork taking on Mundet’s asbestos liabilities.

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1892 – Present
  • Location: Yardley, Pennsylvania
  • Production: Packaging, insulation
  • Asbestos Trust: No

At this point, Crown Cork had been around for decades. In 1892, William Painter patented the “crown cork” bottle cap, named for its distinctive upside-down crown look. The same year, he started the Crown Cork & Seal Company. By the 1960s, the company controlled a large part of the bottle cap market in the United States.

When Crown Cork acquired Mundet Corporation in 1963, it began a three-year process that resulted in the two companies merging in 1966. Crown Cork purchased Mundet because it was their competitor in the bottle cap business. Crown Cork also acquired a majority interest in a Mundet side business that made and sold asbestos insulation.

Soon after the acquisition process began, Crown Cork sold off the insulation business. But the buyer soon went bankrupt, leaving Crown Cork the owners of the last existing part of Mundet.

Crown Cork currently operates as a subsidiary of Crown Holdings Inc., a global supplier of packaging products (bottle caps, cans, etc.). Crown Holdings Inc. employs over 25,000 people. In 2021, it reported $11.4 billion in net sales.

02. Asbestos Products

Crown Cork & Seal Company Asbestos Products

In 1963, Crown Cork acquired Mundet, a company that sold asbestos insulation. Crown Cork did not bring the Mundet insulation division into its day-to-day business operations and sold it a few months later. But for legal reasons, Crown Cork still holds the division’s asbestos liabilities.

During the 20th century, companies often made insulation with asbestos. The mineral’s heat resistance made it a popular component of temperature-regulating products.

Crown Cork & Seal Company Products Containing Asbestos

List of Products Containing Asbestos

Product Name Start Year End Year
Mundet Asbestos Cement 1950 1963
Mundet Block Insulation 1958 1963
Mundet Cork 85% Magnesia Asbestos Insulation 1958 1963
Mundet Mineral Wool Finishing Cement
Mundet Mineral Wool Insulating Cement
Mundet Pipe Covering 1958 1963

03. Occupational Exposure

Crown Cork & Seal Company and Occupational Exposure

Mundet, purchased by Crown Cork, sold asbestos insulation to a variety of customers. People who installed and worked at jobsites with this insulation faced occupational asbestos exposure. Today, people may still come into contact with asbestos insulation in old homes, schools and other buildings.

Victims have alleged asbestos exposure from Mundet insulation at several types of jobsites. In one lawsuit, a mesothelioma patient said he experienced exposure from pipe insulation at a warehouse. He recalled the insulation came in a package with a bright yellow “M” for “Mundet.”

Other lawsuits have alleged exposure to asbestos-containing Mundet insulation while serving in military branches like the Navy. During the 20th century, asbestos was used in military shipyards, barracks and other locations. Many veterans experienced asbestos exposure and continue to develop asbestos diseases.

04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against Crown Cork & Seal Company

Many mesothelioma patients and family members have filed successful lawsuits against Crown Cork. The company has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to asbestos victims. In 2022 alone, it paid $21 million to settle asbestos lawsuits and cover related legal costs.

Asbestos lawsuits may result in settlements or verdicts. A settlement is a private agreement in which a victim agrees to end a lawsuit against a company in exchange for a specified sum. Mesothelioma settlements average between $1 and $1.4 million.

Verdicts differ in that a judge or jury decides an asbestos verdict and award amount at the end of a trial. Examples of asbestos verdicts against Crown Cork include:

  • $12 million for a shipbuilder: In 2012, a Louisiana jury decided in favor of a shipbuilder exposed to Mundet asbestos insulation, awarding him $12 million. The victim’s shipbuilding duties included cutting and grinding off asbestos pipe coverings. He was later diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma.
  • $1.5 million for an oil refinery worker: In 2013, a California jury decided a wrongful death lawsuit in favor of the family of an oil refinery worker. The jury awarded the family nearly $1.5 million for the worker’s death from mesothelioma. The worker had been exposed to asbestos dust from Mundet insulation at an oil refinery in El Segundo, California.

In 2022, Crown Cork calculated its current and future asbestos liabilities to be approximately $220 million.

A mesothelioma attorney can help determine if a patient may have been exposed to asbestos from Mundet insulation. Attorneys at mesothelioma law firms can handle the lawsuit process on behalf of clients. They can also explore other options for compensation, including trust fund claims and VA benefits.