J.T. Thorpe was a Southern California based company that specialized in performing refractory work. Until the mid to late twentieth century, individuals who performed refractory work used materials that contained asbestos which allowed the materials to retain their strength at extremely high temperatures.
Quite some time after asbestos was first mined for commercial purposes, researchers uncovered the fact that it is dangerous for humans to be around. It was found to be a toxic substance, and miniscule particles of asbestos were likely to be ingested by anyone who worked with items that contained the hazardous material. People who did inhale the asbestos often developed diseases such as asbestosis and Mesothelioma, both of which can be deadly.
Individuals who performed the refractory work or worked on ships that were repaired by J.T. Thorpe may have been exposed to asbestos. Those occupations at the highest risk for exposure include boilermakers, insulators, pipefitters, steamfitters, stationary engineers and boiler tenders. Many union workers in these trades were also placed at risk. As a result of asbestos exposure, a large number of individuals worked with mesothelioma attorneys to file lawsuits against the company. These personal injury cases, mostly involving malignant mesothelioma, demanded monetary compensation, and the sheer number of them caused the company to seek help from the United States Bankruptcy Court. The decision was made to offer J.T. Thorpe bankruptcy protection and a plan to reorganize the company, in exchange for the establishment of a trust fund to pay off all valid injury claims.
The J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust was created in June of 2006 in accordance with the bankruptcy proceedings. The trustees were given the duty of investigating every claim that is submitted to determine whether or not they were true instances of people becoming sick with mesothelioma cancer or other asbestos disease or families losing loved ones because of exposure to asbestos. Pay outs are determined by the Trust Representatives, and the amounts are determined based on how severe the circumstances are for each claim.