Resources for Patients and their Families

Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc.

The origin of Eagle-Picher Industries goes back to 1842 when two brothers started up a manufacturing facility that produced white lead, primarily as a base for paints. Their company became known as the Eagle White Lead Works until 1916, when they merged with the Picher Lead Company and established a corporation that primarily produced zinc based products.

Over the years Eagle-Picher continued to grow, diversify and purchase other manufacturing companies to add to their corporation. They mined many different types of minerals for use in the production of automotive and industrial products. One of the minerals that proved to be extremely useful was asbestos. It featured several benefits such as being very pliable, able to hold together in water and withstand extreme heat and fire. Asbestos became a major component of many Eagle-Picher products.

Unfortunately, research later proved that asbestos is an extremely hazardous material. Microscopic particles of asbestos can float freely in the air, where they are easily inhaled by unsuspecting victims. Because of this, the items made by Eagle-Picher became responsible for thousands of people becoming seriously ill. The most severe asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma. Victims of this disease are often faced with a short mesothelioma life expectancy and a grim survival rate. Today, the EPA has provided mesothelioma prevention guidelines for safely handling and removing asbestos products.

By 1982 personal injury lawsuits were being filed against Eagle-Picher Industries. The President of the company, Thomas Petry, established a reserve fund that was specifically designed to pay out asbestos-related claims, including pericardial mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. As the lawsuits poured in, company executives struggled to avoid being forced to file for bankruptcy. They held out until 1991, at which point they reorganized the entire company following bankruptcy statutes, and this process put a cease on all injury claim pay outs. These claims continued to be filed, but now the company was protected by the United States Bankruptcy Court.

With the bankruptcy protection in effect, the company once again became successful and grew. They were finished with the court protection policy by 1997 and were granted an injunction to stop all ongoing and future asbestos-related lawsuits. Before this ruling could go into effect, the President of the company was made to establish the Eagle-Picher Industries Personal Injury Settlement Trust which included nearly $400 million to be used for paying off valid injury claims. A professional mesothelioma attorney can help determine your eligibility for this trust and file your claim.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari