E.J. Bartells Company

Expert Fact Checked

This page was legally reviewed by Jennifer Lucarelli. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have comments or questions on our content please contact us.

Jennifer Lucarelli Lawyer and Legal Advisor

E.J. Bartells Company manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing refractory and insulation products. The company’s products exposed workers to asbestos, leading to many asbestos-related cases. In 2001, a $20 million bankruptcy trust was established to handle asbestos claims against the company.

01. History of Asbestos Use

E.J. Bartells Company History of Asbestos Use

In 1923, Edwin J. Bartells founded the E.J. Bartells Company in the state of Washington. He wanted to provide a comprehensive line of refractory and insulation products and services.

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1923 – 2004
  • Location: Renton, Washington
  • Production: Refractory products, insulation
  • Asbestos Trust: Yes

For decades, E.J. Bartells Company manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing products. The company distributed asbestos products manufactured by other companies as well. These included Eagle-Picher Corporation cement and Johns-Manville Corporation cement and insulation products.

In the 1970s, asbestos regulations stopped the company’s use of the toxic mineral. However, half a century of asbestos use had exposed many people to the company’s products.

The company was named in several asbestos lawsuits in subsequent years. In 2000, the company ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy trust was created to handle ongoing asbestos claims. The original E.J. Bartells Company has been officially inactive since 2004.

However, in 2001 a separate private company revamped E.J. Bartells Company and renamed it E.J. Bartells. The new company continued the business, without asbestos use.

In 2015, a firm called Distribution International, Inc. acquired E.J. Bartells. It is now headquartered in Renton, Washington, and continues to supply insulation, fabrication, refractory and HVAC products. E.J. Bartells changed hands again in 2021, when TopBuild Corp. acquired Distribution International.

The original E.J. Bartells Company is no longer in operation. However, individuals exposed to the company’s asbestos products may be eligible to file an asbestos claim.

02. Asbestos Products

E.J. Bartells Company Asbestos Products

E.J. Bartells Company manufactured and supplied asbestos refractory and insulation products. Asbestos was used in these products because of the mineral’s natural ability to hold up against high temperatures. The company’s products were often used in industrial applications, including shipbuilding.

Refractories are ceramic products used to line hot surfaces and withstand extremely high temperatures. They are often used to line industrial burners and furnaces. Insulation products can come in many forms, including spray-on, raw asbestos and block insulation. Industrial insulation includes products for pipes, ovens, boilers and furnaces.

In addition to manufacturing these products, E.J. Bartells Company also sold other companies’ products. This included Johns-Manville cements and insulation products. E.J. Bartells Company distributed these products from 1955 to 1972. The Johns-Manville cement products were made with 15% asbestos.

Some asbestos products manufactured and distributed by E.J. Bartells Company include:

03. Occupational Exposure

E.J. Bartells Company and Occupational Exposure

E.J. Bartells Company produced refractory and insulation products to line furnaces and other high-heat applications. Often, these products contained asbestos because the mineral is durable and resistant to heat.

As a result, workers may have been exposed to asbestos while performing their regular duties. This occupational exposure may have put them at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, like mesothelioma or asbestosis.

Occupations Impacted by E.J. Bartells Company’s Asbestos Use
04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against E.J. Bartells Company

The E.J. Bartells Company faced many asbestos lawsuits after decades of manufacturing and distributing products that exposed their employees to the mineral.

One successful asbestos lawsuit involved a plaintiff who was exposed to many asbestos products over his 35-year career. As a result of this exposure, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1993.

During his long career, the plaintiff came into contact with E.J. Bartells Company’s asbestos products. His lawsuit specifically identifies two products distributed by the company: Eagle-Picher Corporation cement and Johns-Manville Corporation cements and insulation.

In 1993, the asbestos victim named E.J. Bartells Company and 17 other defendants in his lawsuit. At least nine of the defendants settled out of court. Defendants E.J. Bartells Company and Owens-Corning Fiberglas continued to trial.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The jury awarded:

  • $307,000 in economic damages against both defendants
  • $1.5 million in noneconomic damages against both defendants
  • $3 million in punitive damages against Owens-Corning Fiberglas

Unfortunately, the mesothelioma patient passed away during the trial. His spouse was substituted into his lawsuit and received the jury’s award.

E.J. Bartells Company has also been named in cases that led to an asbestos settlement. For example, a 61-year-old asbestos victim who filed their case in Seattle, Washington, received a settlement from the company. The individual had experienced household and shipyard asbestos exposure. Their case named E.J. Bartells Company and Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Company. They received ~$946,498 in asbestos compensation.

If you or a loved one have developed an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for legal action against the liable parties. Knowledgeable mesothelioma lawyers can review your options and help you receive the compensation you deserve.

05. Asbestos Trust Fund

E.J. Bartells Company Asbestos Trust Fund

In October 2000, E.J. Bartells Company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. The company’s subsequent reorganization included the establishment of a trust fund in February 2001.

Asbestos bankruptcy trusts are created to handle current and future asbestos claims. They ensure that funds will be available for the company’s victims. The Bartells Asbestos Settlement Trust was initially funded with $20 million.

By 2008, the trust had paid $15 million in asbestos claims. The trust is still active.

Asbestos exposure victims of E.J. Bartells Company can contact an experienced mesothelioma law firm to discuss filing their own trust fund claim against the Bartells Asbestos Settlement Trust. Claim payout amounts may vary depending on several factors, including a patient’s exposure history and their type of asbestos disease.