Canadian Asbestos Trust Claims. How do I Know if I Qualify?
The Asbestos Trusts are located and managed in the U.S.A. Given that there are approximately 3000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the USA each year and less than 600 annually in Canada that seems appropriate. The expense of having both a US trust and a Canadian trust would further erode assets which should rightly go to pay victims, not operate a separate Canadian trust.
Most asbestos compensation trusts accept, and process claims of Canadian mesothelioma victims using the same process and criteria as for American claimants. Contained in the governing document of most Trusts there is a paragraph similar to the extract below, which has been taken from the Armstrong World Industries Trust Distribution Process document.
Accordingly, a "Foreign Claim" is a PI Trust Claim with respect to which the claimant's exposure to an asbestos-containing product for which Armstrong World Industries has legal responsibility occurred outside of the United States and its Territories and Possessions, and outside of the Provinces and Territories of Canada.
In the case of Armstrong World Industries this phrase is on page 14 of 25. The Quigley Asbestos trust had similar wording on page 21 of 38. We have checked the eligibility of every active trust to ensure that we file claims for Canadians appropriately. In some cases, Canadian Claims are treated as "foreign claims" and follow a different, but fair protocol. If you retain a law firm from the USA they may have extensive experience with asbestos litigation but not how to handle foreign, i.e. Canadian, claims.
In the case of a very few trusts, although Canadians are not formally excluded wording such as the following effectively removes Canadians from eligibility.
A foreign claimant shall be defined as an individual who is not a resident of the United States at the time at which the individual submits a claim to the Trust or at the time at which the claim is paid.
The Raytech trust has further clarified their position by stating: In order to file a claim with the Raytech Trust the Injured must be a U.S. Resident that had exposure to Raytech asbestos products while working in the United States. Raytech Trust will not accept any claim filings that allege Raytech asbestos exposure outside of the United States. This phrase is buried on page 16 of the 47 pages that make up the Raytech Asbestos Trust Agreement. Raytech is the Trust that deals with claims against brake maker, Raybestos-Manhattan.
Raybestos-Manhattan registered this trademark in Canada in 1910. They had a facility that churned out pads for vehicle brakes and clutches for the Canadian market. Millions of brakes and clutch pads were sold and subsequently installed by auto and brake mechanics in Canada.
Raybestos-Manhattan (Canada) Limited, was located at 944 Crawford Drive, in Peterborough, Ontario. Raybestos-Manhattan closed the facility when they restructured under the bankruptcy rules to rid themselves of asbestos liability claims. Former Raybestos-Manhattan employees that develop asbestos caused diseases are still eligible for WSIB even though the Peterborough facility is closed.
Another manufacturer of asbestos products, H. K. Porter of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, purchased the Thermoid Rubber Company who sold and distributed asbestos products in Canada as early as 1917, yet they also exclude Canadian Claims by use of the sentence: "In cases of claimants who do not reside, and who did not work, within the jurisdiction of the United States, where H.K. Porter products were known to have been manufactured and used, the Trust will not accept such claims without additional convincing evidence of exposure to H.K. Porter products and evidence of a right to file such a claim in U.S. Courts" in their governing documents.
Thankfully, only a few of the earliest formed Trusts have taken this approach. If you worked with asbestos containing products in Canada and have developed mesothelioma, contact Brown Law now to learn about compensation options open to you based on your individual situation.