Crane Co. is a publicly traded company founded in 1855 and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. Crane was one of the leading manufacturers of bathroom fixtures in the United States until it sold off that division in 1990.  Today Crane is a holding company operating four business segments, each of which designs and manufactures highly engineered industrial products:  Aerospace & Electronics, Engineered Materials, Payment and Merchandising Technology, and Fluid Handling. Crane’s fluid handling segment distributes industrial fluid control products and systems globally, including valves, pumps, lined pipe and instrumentation. These fluid handling products are used in industries with environments that are highly corrosive or erosive, and with extreme temperature and pressure requirements. 

Users of Crane Co.’s valve systems included the US Navy and General Motors.  During and after World War II, Crane Co. sold the US. Navy valves for use in high-pressure, high-temperature steam pipe systems on ships. Crane packaged the valves with gaskets consisting of an asbestos disc sealed by a layer of rubber, and braided asbestos-based stem packing. Eventually, those materials need to be replaced and Crane marketed an asbestos-based sheet material “Cranite” to be used to produce replacement gaskets and packing. Crane knew that other replacement materials were available but continued to manufacture asbestos-based Cranite.  Crane’s knowledge of the harmful effects of the inhalation of asbestos dust dated back to the 1930s.  Nonetheless, Crane continued to incorporate asbestos components into its products without warning the workers, and never tested their products for hazards.  Even as late as 1983, Crane Co. maintains their belief that the encapsulated asbestos products were safe, despite the request of their customers, including government agencies, to affix caution labels on all of their asbestos-containing products.

The process of cleaning out these valves and replacing worn our asbestos gaskets and packing materials often caused the asbestos within the valves to become loose and disturbed. The valves often had to be grinded down. Once a worker began to grind down the valves fine asbestos particulate was known to permeate the air, exposing workers to carcinogenic dust. Crane Co.  also used an array of prefabricated asbestos coverings and wraps for various piping and other physical structures that needed insulation around the plant. This insulation also had to be regularly changed and maintained throughout any plant or facility.

Crane Co. – Boilers and Radiators

Crane also manufactured boilers and radiators.  The most extensive form of asbestos exposure took place during the removal or tear-out of old residential boilers.  Up until the early 1960s, a round series residential boiler was often covered in inch thick asbestos insulation, otherwise known as asbestos shorts. Hot water or steam pipes associated with these boilers were insulated with asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement. Depending on the manufacturer, interior sections of a round boiler incorporated asbestos insulation in order to insulate combustion chambers. Individuals who installed, repaired and maintained round boilers were exposed to asbestos, which can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer. Prior to the 1970s, interior sections of square sectional boilers contained aircell asbestos insulation between the jacket and sectional heating sections. Depending on the manufacturer, square sectional boilers also contained asbestos gaskets; asbestos rope and/or packing; and asbestos cement. Plumbers and boilermakers installed asbestos components during the installation of sectional boilers.

Asbestos Facts

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals derived from metamorphic rocks. Asbestos fibers are soft and pliable to the touch and capable of withstanding very high temperatures. They are also very strong and can make products more durable. There is a latency period ranging from 15 to 50 years between initial exposure to asbestos and the development of this deadly disease. For many who worked in shipyards, power plants, and other industries that used asbestos in their manufacturing process in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, symptoms of this disease are just beginning to surface now.

Asbestos Litigation Against Crane Co.

Gerald Suttner, who worked as a pipefitter amid Crane valves at General Motors’ Tonawanda Engine Plant, filed a similar New York Supreme Court lawsuit with his wife Joann against Crane and 37 others, after he was also diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.  Suttner’s wife added a wrongful death claim after he died the next year.  A jury ultimately found Crane 4 percent liable and awarded $3 million in damages, and the Supreme Court refused to set the verdict aside. The Appellate Division affirmed. Crane appealed the court’s ruling, but the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s rulings.  The Judge in the case, Honorable Sheila Abdus-Salaam, wrote, “Likewise, Crane’s promotion of asbestos-continuing packing and gaskets as suitable for use in high-temperature, high-pressure system showed that Crane endorsed, as a matter of practical necessity, the joint use of its product and asbestos-laden products that it had promoted.”

As of 2016, Crane had set aside $696 million to cover anticipated asbestos liability claims through 2059.

Inhaling dust and airborne particles from exposure to asbestos put workers at risk for developing mesothelioma or lung cancer. Laborers who worked with Crane Co.’s valves and gaskets, boilers and radiators were not aware of the hazards of exposure to asbestos when they performed their job duties without wearing protective gear.  Even those who might not have been in direct contact with asbestos insulation but worked in the vicinity still remain at risk.  If you or a loved one worked with a Crane Co. product and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights.


Appeals Court Upholds $3 Million Verdict in Asbestos Case

Buffalo Law Firm Wins Major Appeal in Asbestos Case in New York’s Highest Court

Local Judge Recognizes Depth of Mesothelioma Victim’s Pain & Suffering

Jury Awards $3 Million to Ashland Oil Employee in Mesothelioma Case

Tugboat Engineer Awarded $1 Million Dollar Verdict by Syracuse, NY Jury