J.T. Thorpe Inc.

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J.T. Thorpe Inc. was founded in 1906. The company was a refractory manufacturer and contractor. It used asbestos in its refractory products for decades. Facing many asbestos lawsuits, J.T. Thorpe Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2002. An asbestos trust fund was created to satisfy ongoing asbestos claims.

01. History of Asbestos Use

J.T. Thorpe Inc. History of Asbestos Use

J.T. Thorpe Inc. was initially founded in 1906 in the California Bay Area as J.T. Thorpe & Sons Inc. The company has a long history with many different owners, affiliated companies and name changes. This article refers to J.T. Thorpe Inc., which operated as a refractory manufacturer and contractor in California.

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1906 – Present
  • Location: Richmond, California
  • Production: Refractory products
  • Asbestos Trust: Yes

J.T. Thorpe & Sons Inc. was founded in 1906. In 1922, it was officially incorporated as J.T. Thorpe Inc. Records show the company installed and distributed asbestos refractory materials beginning in the mid-1920s. As a contractor, the company serviced many industries, including power plants and metal forges.

Refractory materials had to withstand high temperatures. Asbestos was a common ingredient in refractory products because of its ability to resist intense heat.

In the late 1930s, the company expanded its services to shipyards. J.T. Thorpe Inc. installed asbestos-containing products at shipyards and on Navy ships during World War II.

The company continued to successfully operate as a refractory contractor for shipyards and other industries. Records indicate the company distributed asbestos materials until the late 1980s. However, around the time asbestos use on ships ended, J.T. Thorpe Inc. began to experience difficulties from rising asbestos litigation costs.

From 1986 to 2002, J.T. Thorpe Inc. began a complex set of maneuvers designed to avoid these costs and keep the company afloat. This included creating new companies and offloading debt to them while ceasing operations under the original J.T. Thorpe Inc. name and assuming a new, similar name.

In 2002, J.T. Thorpe Inc. filed for bankruptcy because of rising litigation costs from its use of asbestos. The J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust was created in 2006 to satisfy new and existing asbestos exposure claims.

Today, the company operates as J.T. Thorpe & Son Inc., and the trust continues to accept and pay claims.

02. Asbestos Products

J.T. Thorpe Inc. Asbestos Products

J.T. Thorpe Inc. distributed and installed refractory materials for businesses around California. Refractories are materials typically made of ceramic meant to withstand extremely high temperatures. They are more heat-resistant than metal. J.T. Thorpe Inc.’s refractory materials contained asbestos for added heat and pressure resistance.

Refractory products are often used in manufacturing and industrial applications. They are used to line high-temperature equipment like fireplaces, boilers, kilns and furnaces.

03. Occupational Exposure

J.T. Thorpe Inc. and Occupational Exposure

Individuals who worked at J.T. Thorpe Inc. risked asbestos exposure during the manufacturing process. Any exposure can lead to asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma.

Workers at companies that used these refractory materials may have also risked exposure. As the materials wear or need repair, the asbestos can become disturbed. If the asbestos fibers became airborne, the workers risked occupational asbestos exposure. Records also show J.T. Thorpe Inc. products were used aboard military ships, potentially exposing veterans to the dangerous mineral.

Workers at J.T. Thorpe Inc. and other companies may have unknowingly brought asbestos fibers home with them on their clothes or body. If a family member comes in contact with these fibers, it is called secondary asbestos exposure.

Occupations Impacted by J.T. Thorpe Inc.’s Asbestos Use

04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against J.T. Thorpe Inc.

J.T. Thorpe Inc. exposed thousands of individuals to asbestos, including its own employees. Many of these individuals developed asbestos-related illnesses and may be eligible for compensation. If you believe you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos, learn how a mesothelioma lawyer can help.

J.T. Thorpe Inc. and its associated companies have been named in many asbestos lawsuits since 1990. One case involved a 79-year-old Navy worker and laborer in Los Angeles, California. The man received a $1.46 million settlement from J.T. Thorpe Inc.

Rising litigation and award costs led to the asbestos company filing for bankruptcy in 2002.

05. Asbestos Trust Fund

J.T. Thorpe Inc. Asbestos Trust Fund

J.T. Thorpe Inc. filed for bankruptcy in February 2002. As a result of bankruptcy proceedings, the J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust was created in June 2006 with initial funding of $154 million. The asbestos bankruptcy trust fund was established to pay out asbestos claims for:

  • J.T. Thorpe Inc.
  • J.T. Thorpe
  • Thorpe Holding Company
  • Thorpe Technologies Inc.

It should not be confused with the JT Thorpe Company Successor Trust or the Thorpe Insulation Settlement Trust, which were both created by other wholly independent companies.

The current payment percentage for successful claims is 50%.

Individuals who were exposed to asbestos by J.T. Thorpe Inc. and later developed an asbestos disease may file trust fund claims. Successful claimants may receive compensation from the trust. The trust has paid thousands of claimants since its establishment in 2006. As of 2019, the trust has paid more than $127 million in claims.

The payment percentage is currently set at 50% to ensure funds will be available for future claimants. However, actual payment amounts may depend on numerous factors, including age, disease severity, exposure history and asbestos settlement history.