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Riley Stoker was founded in 1890 and remains in business today, under the name Riley Power. Riley Stoker was a manufacturer of industrial boilers, as well as other related parts and components. Asbestos was used heavily throughout Riley’s products, as it could withstand high temperatures and offer fireproofing capabilities.

Riley Stoker put workers and consumers at risk of asbestos exposure, resulting in a number of asbestos-related claims against the company. Ashland, Inc. purchased Riley Stoker and handled many of the asbestos lawsuits before the company was sold again in 1990, becoming a subsidiary of Babcock Power.

01. History of Asbestos Use

Riley Stoker History of Asbestos Use

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1890 – present
  • Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Production: Industrial boilers
  • Asbestos Trust: No

Riley Stoker focused primarily on the production of industrial-sized boilers. Boilers are closed vessels that heat fluids to then be dispersed for heating purposes. This could include heating water, producing heat, producing power, cooking, sanitizing and more. Riley Stoker also produced related parts and components, such as gaskets and boiler insulation.

Since boilers and their components face high temperatures, asbestos was used frequently to provide insulation, heat resistance and fireproofing. As with other asbestos companies, Riley Stoker also benefited from the cost efficiency and accessibility of asbestos.

However, the company was putting thousands at risk of asbestos exposure, including their own workers and those in industries that used their asbestos products. As a result, the company began to face lawsuits in the 1980s because of wrongful exposure and workers developing asbestos diseases.

02. Asbestos Products

Riley Stoker Asbestos Products

Many of Riley Stoker’s products contained asbestos until the mineral was phased out in the late 1900s. Manufacturers continued to produce asbestos-containing materials even after its dangers were known and safer alternatives became available.

Riley Stoker products manufactured with asbestos include:

03. Occupational Exposure

Riley Stoker and Occupational Exposure

One of the most common ways asbestos victims were exposed to the carcinogen was through occupational exposure. Riley Stoker was responsible for the exposure of not only their own workers, but workers in other industries that utilized their products on the job.

Occupations Affected by Riley Stoker’s Asbestos Use

Those installing, repairing or removing Riley’s boilers and equipment were at risk of exposure, as well as those that came into contact with the products when they faced wear and tear. When disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air and susceptible to ingestion or inhalation. Victims can then develop asbestos illnesses like asbestosis, lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma.

04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against Riley Stoker

Riley Stoker began facing asbestos claims in the 1980s. At the time, their parent company, Ashland, Inc. was responsible for the claims. They were able to deny some based on lack of evidence, but did arrive at many settlements with victims seeking compensation after exposure from their products.

In 2007, company officials for Riley Stoker relayed that there were an estimated 46,300 active lawsuits pending against the company.

One example of an emerging lawsuit against Riley Stoker comes from a couple suing Riley, along with 183 other companies for the husband’s diagnosis of asbestosis and mesothelioma. Throughout his work history, the victim claims to have been exposed to various asbestos products, including from Riley Stoker. Other cases have involved loved ones filing on behalf of family members, such as a man filing on behalf of his father who has passed away from lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure from Riley’s products.

With the long latency period of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases, it can take decades for symptoms to emerge. As a result, asbestos claims will likely continue to arise against Riley Stoker as more victims are diagnosed from the company’s negligence.

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