The other Johns-Manville: Raybestos-Manhattan and Asbestos cover-up
"[Raybestos-Manhattan], together with other leading asbestos manufacturers, initiated a cover-up of the asbestos hazard that continued for more than forty years." – investigative journalist Paul Brodeur (http://www.enotes.com/company-histories/raytech-corporation/1950s-golden-era-raybestos).
At one time the second largest manufacturer of asbestos containing products, the Raybestos-Manhattan, many individuals suffering from asbestos cancers such as mesothelioma were at one time exposed to one of the company’s products.
A company with profits built upon carcinogenic containing products: asbestos
The Raybestos-Manhattan company was originally known as Raytech, founded in 1902 as the A. H. Raymond Company out of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The ‘Raymond Brake’ was one of their first products, and shortly thereafter, the firm came out with an asbestos lined brake. (http://www.enotes.com/company-histories/raytech-corporation/founding-company-1902)
In 1916, Sumner Simpson became president of the then renamed Raybestos company. For the next 40 years, he presided over the company and its growth, including the merge in 1929 with competitor Manhattan Rubber Company.
Brake linings are used not only on car brakes, but also have industrial applications such as in trains or any large machinery that stops through the use of friction. As friction generates high temperatures, the asbestos contained in the linings disperses the heat, which eventually wears down the linings (http://www.familycar.com/brakes.htm). Industrial applications include: cranes, hoists, winches, transport machineries, heavy earth moving equipment, wind turbines, forging presses, brake motors, clutches, textile machineries and paper industries. (http://www.indiamart.com/powermech-engineering/industrial-brake-linings-friction-materials.html)
Raybestos-Manhattan denied all knowledge that asbestos was connected to the asbestos cancers of the lung and mesothelium such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, contending for a long time that this was completely unknown to them. According to Sumner Simpson, they were unaware of the asbestos problem until the 1960s when Dr. Irving J. Selikoff of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine conducted studies providing irrefutable proof that the asbestos in their products was linked to deadly cancer.
Proving the cover-up about knowledge that asbestos posed health risks
Attorneys seeking to indemnify Raybestos-Manhattan for endangering individuals with asbestos products compiled the “Sumner Simpson” documents: the personal papers of Sumner Simpson proving his knowledge of the carcogenic effects of asbestos and his efforts to hide this information from the American public. (http://www.enotes.com/company-histories/raytech-corporation/1950s-golden-era-raybestos)
Sumner Simpson was aware of the toxicity of asbestos well before the 1960s. In 1935, the editor of an industry trade journal wrote to him regarding the suppression of a study linking asbestos to health issues: “Always you have requested that for certain obvious reasons we publish nothing and naturally your wishes have been respected.” (http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1987/04/asbestos.html)
Simpson wrote of the incident: “the less said about asbestos, the better off we are.”
Trying to wriggle out of paying for damages and its societal responsibilities
In the 1980s, under increasing pressure from sufferers of asbestos related diseases Raybestos-Manhattan tried a number of marketing and legal maneuvers to insulate itself from the full liability stemming from the asbestos problem.
In 1982, the company changed its name to Raymark, mainly to disassociate itself from asbestos in the eyes of the public. In the face of overwhelming lawsuits, the company stopped making asbestos containing products.
In 1985, new CEO Craig Smith aggressively fought off litigation even suing the law firms that represented those afflicted with asbestos-related diseases.
In 1986, Raymark created a holding company Raytech to protect other company assets and business that it believed was not related to asbestos. They tried to deny those with legitimate claims against the company a way to get compensation from the company by limiting compensation to only the assets of the now discontinued asbestos products divisions.
In 1988, Raymark was spun off to try to further protect it from any asbestos claims.
When those maneuvers were not successful, Raymark sought bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 in 1989 and Raytech sought bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, under which it remained for the majority of the next decade. (http://www.enotes.com/company-histories/raytech-corporation/filing-chapter-11-bankruptcy-1989)
Corporate negligence and irresponsibility
Our firm has always stood by those who have suffered greatly from asbestos cancers – mesothelioma, lung cancer – and other signature asbestos diseases, such as asbestosis, against the irresponsibility and corporate negligence of the companies whose products made so many so ill.
Whether it is you, your uncle, your brother, your union co-worker, or your spouse, all are fully entitled to seek any and all compensation under the law for developing an asbestos disease.
Weitz & Luxenberg has recovered over 3 billion dollars in verdicts and settlements from these companies, many of whom sought to shirk their responsibilities.
Call us today or complete the form on this site for a free consultation. It is the right first step. We are here to represent your best interests.