Pacor Incorporated was founded in 1921 in Philadelphia as the Philadelphia Asbestos Corporation. It was under that name that the company became a leading supplier of asbestos-containing pads, pipe coverings and insulation materials during World War II. The company utilized asbestos for its insulating capabilities as well as its superior resistance to heat and corrosion.
The Philadelphia Asbestos Corporation focused on marketing to businesses rather than to the consumer market, providing insulation products to the U.S. military and a wide variety of industries. One of its leading business partners was the Johns Manville Company, a prominent manufacturer of asbestos roofing materials for much of the 20th century.
Today, Pacor Incorporated uses asbestos substitutes in the insulation it manufactures for use in the following applications:
- Heat exchangers
- Plastic extruders
- Diesel engines
The company is also a leader in the manufacture of foam insulation products such as aerogel pipe wrap insulation products, used in both high-temperature and low-temperature applications. The company is now headquartered in Cinnaminson, New Jersey and maintains fabricating divisions in New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia.
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Litigation & Specific Lawsuits
With asbestos litigation claims mounting against the company, Pacor Incorporated filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1986. As part of the settlement terms for emerging from bankruptcy, the company set up the Pacor Settlement Trust in 1988. Because of its close relationship with Johns Manville as a distributor of its asbestos-containing products, Pacor Incorporated is also tied to the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. This trust, funded with $2.5 billion, was also established in 1988 and is administered by the Claims Resolution Management Corporation.
Pacor Incorporated’s bankruptcy proceedings served to establish a test for jurisdiction over third party suits brought against companies seeking Chapter 11 protection. In Higgins v. Pacor, Inc.
(1984), asbestos victim John Higgins, Jr. brought a civil action
for work-related asbestos exposure against Pacor Incorporated as a distributor of Johns Manville’s asbestos-containing products. The court found that Higgins’ civil suit was not a proceeding “related to” Johns Manville’s bankruptcy and the claim therefore could not be transferred to the Manville bankruptcy administration.
Under the “Pacor Test,” a claim is “related” to an underlying bankruptcy case if “the outcome of the proceeding could conceivably have any effect on the estate being administered in bankruptcy.” This test is still used as an important determinant in bankruptcy hearings today.
Industries & Occupations
It is well documented that Pacor Incorporated shipped asbestos insulation products to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard during World War II. At the time, use of asbestos products was mandatory on Navy ships. The shipyard workers
who installed and removed these products were placed at risk for inhaling airborne asbestos fibers.
In addition to the shipbuilding industry, Pacor’s asbestos-containing products were used in a variety of ways throughout the construction and manufacturing industries. Workers who installed, maintained or removed asbestos pipe covering made by Pacor Incorporated were likely to experience asbestos exposure to some degree. Pacor is still a manufacturer of a variety of insulation products.
Workers of Pacor Incorporated who helped manufacture asbestos-containing products faced high risks for asbestos exposure. During production, the slightest disturbance to asbestos would have sent asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos exposure
from Pacor products has caused lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer among workers who extensively handled their contaminated products.