In the 1920s, the Celotex Corporation of America, and its U.K. subsidiary, established themselves as importers of bagasse fiberboard. They reincorporated in 1964 when Jim Walter purchased the Celotex Corporation of America. The company primarily made and distributed residential and commercial building products. Another subsidiary, Carey Canada Inc., mined asbestos fiber and processed Celotex products. The mine exposed workers to asbestos and contaminated products until it closed in 1986.
Celotex ceiling products and gypsum wallboard operations were purchased by a U.K. company in 2000. By 2012, Celotex continued U.K. operations, selling insulation, ensuring energy needs with thin material. They sold industrial insulation, using asbestos for protection against fire and extreme temperature. Construction contractors, repairmen, boiler workers, pipefitters, roofers, and shipyard workers who handled Celotex products may develop asbestos-related illnesses from even a little exposure. Health organizations confirm asbestos exposure unsafe at any level of inhalation. Some people develop mesothelioma after only a few instances.
Asbestos could be found in Celotex products such as:
- Carey firefoil board and panel, Stone corrugated sheets, Canesto board, Industrial A-C board, Marine panel and thermalite
- Careystone roofing & siding, sheathing and baffles
- Celobric textured buff and insulated brick siding
- Careyflex board
- Vitricel asbestos sheets
- Acoustical & Sound Control Systems (Acoustical ceiling panels and Insulating panels)
- Celotex Brand ceiling tiles
- Cane Fiber Products (Celotex Sheathing, Insulating Lath, Interior Finish and Celo-Siding)
- With many other dangerous Celotex products an endless risk to their liable asbestos-related illnesses for which they are responsible.
Lawsuits Brought Against Celotex
Celotex faced thousands of personal injury and property damage lawsuits. By 1998 Celotex had encountered 380,000 asbestos-related claims, with health claims as high as $200 billion. In 2003 the Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust paid New York City for property damages of schools and buildings on over 400 claims. Trustees attempted to deny payments, but were ordered by the court to make payments over $40 million.
Marion George filed a Celotex claim after her husband, Stuart, died from mesothelioma. Stuart worked for an asbestos insulation contractor and distributor for 48 years, handling almost all the Carey products in the warehouse and inhaling asbestos dust. In 1989 the jury awarded $588,000 to Stuart’s estate.
Haskel and Mattie McNair also won a claim based on asbestos exposure from Celotex insulation products. The case included 12 other manufacturers and the judge held Celotex responsible for 30 percent of the total damage amount of $125,000.
In September 1980, Louis H. Catrett’s wife sued fifteen asbestos companies, including Celotex, in U.S. District Court, based her husband’s asbestos-related death in 1979. Her claims of negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability against the defendant corporations were denied due to lacking evidence. The case was dismissed under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon appeal, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the original decision, but Supreme Court reversed the appeal and remanded the case.
Celotex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 1990. With reorganization approved in 1996 and inclusion in the creation of the Asbestos Settlement Trust, Celotex was relieved of current and future asbestos-related liability, all transferred to the trust.