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Quigley Company was founded by Wirt Quigley in 1916 as a small refractory business. Since refractory products were made specifically to resist high temperatures, asbestos became a popular additive to many of their products by the 1930s.

As Quigley Co. saw more success in the global market, distributing its products for numerous industries, like iron, steel and glass businesses, it caught the attention of Chas. Pfizer & Co., Inc. (now known as Pfizer). Pfizer acquired the company in 1968 to expand their mineral and metals division. However, not long after the acquisition, Quigley Company began to face a growing number of asbestos lawsuits from employees and others who faced exposure to their products. By 1991, the company was entirely defunct and declared bankruptcy in 2004. Today, the company no longer operates, but asbestos victims can still receive remuneration from their asbestos trust fund.


Quigley Company History of Asbestos Use

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1916 – 1991
  • Location: New York, New York
  • Production: Refractory products
  • Asbestos Trust: Yes

Quigley Company started as a small operation in 1916, producing various refractory products for industries known to use high heat in their processes, like steel mills. The company quickly became one of the dominant manufacturers in the field, supplying goods for businesses in America, Canada and Europe.

Quigley Co. continued to expand their offerings of refractory cements and sealants. They also developed one of their most popular products, Insulag, which was used as an insulator in high-heat environments. All of these materials contained asbestos from the mid-1930s until the late 1970s. The products were widely used during this time, and the company continued to grow.

However, by the 1990s, Quigley Company was essentially nonoperational. Pfizer had transferred all assets out of the company and stopped operations altogether in its short-lived mineral and metals division. Though Quigley was defunct for over a decade, it still remained an issue for Pfizer as the number of claims mounted for past asbestos exposure. Quigley Company’s 40 years of asbestos use caught up with them. Past employees, as well as workers in other industries, and their family members began to develop asbestos diseases as a result of working with or using their products.

In 2004, Quigley Company filed for bankruptcy, as the lawsuits and cost of litigation continued to grow.

Quigley Company Asbestos Products

About twenty years after the company was founded, they began to utilize asbestos in a variety of their products. Since asbestos was cheap, accessible and naturally fire-resistant, it was the perfect additive to their line of refractory goods. Reports show the company continued to utilize the toxin until around 1977, despite likely being aware of the health risks of asbestos by 1959.

Quigley Company Products Containing Asbestos
Expand List of Products Containing Asbestos
Product Name Start Year End Year
Quigley Damit Joint Sealant 1940 1970
Quigley Fiberock Felt 1960 1973
Quigley Insulag Refractory Cement 1935 1974
Quigley Insulbox Refractory Cement 1935 1974
Quigley Insuline Refractory Cement 1940 1970
Quigley Panelag Refractory Cement 1945 1974
Quigley Panelbond Refractory Cement 1940 1974
Quigley Panels
Quigley Waterproof Cement 1959 1974

Quigley Company and Occupational Exposure

Use of Quigley Co.’s asbestos products spanned across numerous industries, particularly iron, steel, metal and glass melting. Since all of these workspaces often relied on high temperatures for their production processes, Quigley’s refractory products were frequently used across the United States, as well as in other countries. As a result, employees of Quigley Company and other companies in these industries faced exposure on the job every day. Workers, as well as their loved ones, may still be at risk of exposure to these products today.

Occupations Affected by Quigley Company’s Asbestos Use

Asbestos Litigation Against Quigley Company

Quigley Company was first named as a defendant in an asbestos claim in 1979, just a few years after they stopped using asbestos in their products. The number of lawsuits grew very quickly, increasing by the thousands. Though the company ceased operations by 1991, Pfizer went through the proper legal proceedings to resurrect its subsidiary. As a result, Quigley Co. filed for bankruptcy in September 2004 to help with the growing legal costs.

At the time Quigley Co. filed for bankruptcy, they were facing 411,110 asbestos lawsuits.

Pfizer was a co-defendant in 280,343 of the claims.

Court estimates suggested that the outstanding claims against Quigley at the time of filing were nearly $1.3 billion, when using historic payment amounts. It was also estimated the company would be named as a defendant in at least 261,567 claims through 2052, worth at least $3 billion.

However, bankruptcy negotiations proved difficult. Lawyers in bankruptcy court contested that the bankruptcy filing and reorganization plan was developed in bad faith by Pfizer to protect itself from the litigation costs. The plan was deemed as not being “fair and equitable,” as required by law, and also determined that the plan was not feasible given Pfizer’s proposed financial contributions.

As such, Quigley’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy plan was not approved until June 2013. Pfizer contributed $964 million at the time for the reorganization plan, as well as an estimated additional $1.25 billion in settling a number of other pending asbestos claims. Once the plan was approved, the Quigley Company, Inc. Trust was also formed.

Quigley Company Asbestos Trust Fund

The current payment percentage for approved claims is 3.6 or 14.5%, depending on type of claim.

The Quigley Company, Inc. Asbestos Trust was created in 2013 and began accepting claims in August 2014. The trust was initially funded with $569 million to cover settlements for pending and future asbestos claims. The payment percentage is currently set at 14.5% for non-releasing asbestos claimants and 3.6% for releasing asbestos claimants. This ensures sufficient funds for future claims. However, the amount of compensation each claimant receives can vary. Payment may be higher than these base values depending on a number of factors including their diagnosis, their asbestos exposure history, claimant’s age and their law firm’s settlement history.

The Quigley Asbestos Trust is still active and accepting new claims.

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