Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc. was founded in 1916 as Eagle-Picher Lead. The company was formed by a paint pigment manufacturer and a mining company that mined lead, which was used at the time to create many products, including paint, storage batteries, and other items. Eagle specialized in paint pigments, while Picher handled mining. When the two joined together, they expanded the company’s interests to create new product lines and diversify their holdings. Eagle-Picher used minerals to make batteries for the military during World War II. They also began producing insulation and other products that were made with asbestos, and many of which were also supplied to the military of the United States.
Eagle-Picher stopped the production of asbestos products in the 1970s when the dangers of the material were first discovered. However, thousands had already been exposed through working for the company or their use of the products. Even though it ceased early, the company still faced hundreds of thousands of claims from people with exposure related illnesses caused by asbestos.
Today, the company is known as EaglePicher Corporation, with a subsidiary known as EaglePicher Technology leading the technology industry. It does quite well for itself, despite the legal settlements that are ongoing, probably as a result of the trust that was created to handle any claims coming against the company. Whether in a case of retribution or sheer irony, the company was awarded a huge defense contract in 2007 and wrote the National Cancer Institute’s safe handling of carcinogens guide.
Insulation was the main product that was manufactured by Eagle-Picher that contained asbestos. However, it wasn’t the only one. Asbestos cement was also manufactured by this company, and sold under brands like One Cote, Super 66 and Hylo. Anyone who worked in the following occupations could face a risk of exposure as a result of working with Eagle-Picher cement or insulation:
Asbestos Lawsuit History
Eagle-Picher has been a defendant in more than 160,000 asbestos-related claims. Most of the cases have been settled, but there are still thousands that are pending. One of the best known cases involved a sheet metal worker that was a part of the U.S. Navy. His name was Charles Press. He worked at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from 1941-1979, where he was constantly exposed to many asbestos insulation products and other items. In 1979, he and his wife filed suit against 22 manufacturers in total, including Eagle-Picher. Even though Charles died four years into the lawsuit, his wife continued the suit and was awarded more than $575,000 in total, $68,000 of which came from Eagle-Picher.
In 1990, there was a suspension ordered on cases involving around 70,000 claimants, but they still ended up paying an additional $45 million to victims whose claims were already settled. Eventually, the company filed bankruptcy in 1991, and created the Eagle-Picher Industries Personal Injury Settlement Trust, or EPI Trust, to handle the rest of the asbestos litigation.
Asbestos Cancer Information: