Kelly-Moore is one of the largest U.S. paint companies, producing 20 million gallons of paint a year and reporting $350 million in sales. In 1946, the company was founded by William Moore and William Kelly. William Moore previously worked for Glidden Paints as a lab technician and salesman before World War II. Teaming up with William Kelly, a retired Glidden superintendent, Moore opened the original store in San Carlos, California.
In 1952, Moore bought out William Kelly as a business partner but kept the established name. By the time Moore retired in 1984, Kelly-Moore had grown into an enterprise with 80 stores and grossed more than $136 million with over $11 million in profits.
For more than a decade, Kelly-Moore used asbestos as a thickener, filler and fire retardant in its Paco Textures and other interior finishing products. These products were found to contain 5 to 10 percent asbestos. Spackling and taping compounds manufactured by Kelly-Moore may also contain asbestos material.
In 2018, an International Journal of Epidemiology study looked at asbestos-related cancer risks for British workers in different industries. Painters were included in one of the highest risk categories, with a risk of mesothelioma almost 16 times higher than in the general population.
Exposed to Asbestos at Kelly-Moore Paint Co?
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Litigation & Specific Lawsuits
To date, there are more than 48,000 lawsuits previously filed against Kelly-Moore seeking compensation for asbestos-related injuries; many of them initiated by painters and other laborers who now suffer from mesothelioma. Workers affected by Kelly-Moore’s asbestos products have received millions of dollars in settlement funds.
One 47-year-old construction worker diagnosed with mesothelioma, Alfredo Hernandez, was awarded $55.5 million in 2001 following exposure to asbestos through a Kelly-Moore joint compound product. In 2004, 60-year-old Robert Tregget won a trial in Los Angeles, receiving 14 percent of $36.6 million from Kelly-Moore. Tregget used Kelly-Moore’s Paco Quik-Set Joint to remodel his home in the 1970s.
Kelly-Moore filed a $4.1 billion lawsuit against Union Carbide in 2002, claiming that Union Carbide did not inform the company about asbestos hazards before selling Kelly-Moore its asbestos-containing products from 1963 to 1978. Union Carbide claimed that Kelly-Moore was aware of the hazards associated with their product. In 2004, the case was tried in Texas and Union Carbide was not found guilty.
Currently, Kelly-Moore has not filed bankruptcy and is active in regular business functions.
Industries & Occupations
Unaware of the dangers of asbestos, painters would often work without any respiratory protection while in close proximity of asbestos-containing materials and surfaces. These materials release asbestos particles into the air, which individuals nearby may inhale. Asbestos exposure can lead to a number of diseases such as mesothelioma, which may develop 20 to 50 years after exposure.
Workers encounter asbestos particles through Kelly-Moore’s products when mixing asbestos cement, using paint and finish for shipyards and commercial and residential building projects, and when adding drywall. Kelly-Moore employees who worked in the company’s manufacturing facilities also encountered asbestos on the job.
Individual asbestos-containing products from Kelly-Moore include:
- Bedding cement
- Deco-tex ceiling texture
- Paco all purpose point compound
- Paco finishing compound
- Paco joint cement
- Paco joint compound
- Paco quick-set joint compound
- Paco ready mix joint compound
- Paco spray texture
- Paco taping compound
- Paco texture
- Paco texture paint
- Paco topping compound
- Paco wall texture
Kelly-Moore sold asbestos-containing products for painting, cementing, texturizing and filling drywall.
Kelly-Moore Attempts to Avert Blame
In 2005 Kelly-Moore set forth a motion to retry the Union Carbide case, claiming that Union Carbide hid evidence that connected their product to cancer and asbestosis. Judge J. Ray Gayle III of the Texas 23rd District Court for Brazoria did not grant the motion.
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Last Modified March 4, 2019
10 Cited Article Sources
- Gilham, C. et al. (2018, March 9). Past and current asbestos exposure and future mesothelioma risks in Britain: The Inhaled Particles Study (TIPS). Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/47/6/1745/4925430
- International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2012). Asbestos (Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Tremolite, Actinolite, and Anthophyllite). Retrieved from: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol100C/mono100C-11.pdf
- The New York Times. (2001 August 31). Company New; Man Wins $55 Million Verdict Against Kelly-Moore Paint. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/31/business/company-news-man-wins-55-million-verdict-against-kelly-moore-paint.html
- Andrus, J., Hayes, J., McGovern, K. & Hartment, J. (2005 January 5). Court Rejects Kelly-Moore's Claims of Juror Misconduct. Raising the Bar in Asbestos Litigation. Retrieved from: https://harrismartin.com/pdfs/Asb0105Issue.pdf
- Girion, L. (2004 October 23). Union Carbide Cleared in Kelly-Moore Asbestos Suit. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from: http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/23/business/fi-asbestos23
- Rand. (2010). Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. Retrieved from: http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf
- Funding Universe. Kelly-Moore Paint Company, Inc. History. Retrieved 2012, June 29 from Retrieved from: http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/kelly-moore-paint-company-inc-history/
- The United States District Court Middle District of Alabama. Plaintiff's Response To Defendant Kelly-Moore Corporation's Motion To Dismiss. (2008 March 20). Retrieved from: http://c.plainsite.org/almd/37417/204.pdf
- Voorhees, T., Hellerman, E., Covington and Burling. (2003 February 28). Peripheral Defendants As Litigation Targets. Fourth National Forum: Asbestos Litigation. Retrieved from: http://www.cov.com/files/Publication/9de0ea41-479d-4100-be34-a0a472c3aa1e/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/9d028b7b-9fef-45ef-afb4-a1e3bc39fbef/oid6374.PDF
- Verdict Search. (2004 November 15). Worker Exposed to Asbestos in Gaskets and Joint Compound. Retrieved from: http://www.waterskraus.com/pdf/Worker%20Exposed%20to%20Asbestos%20-%20Treggett%20$36%20Million.pdf