The Fairbanks Company

The Fairbanks Co.’s building on Division Street. (Doug Walker,

The Fairbanks Company announced that it filed a voluntary petition for reorganization yesterday under chapter 11 to resolve all existing and future personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products produced and sold by Fairbanks more than 40 years ago, a press release stated.

According to Mark D. White the vice president and general manager of The Fairbanks Company:

For decades, Fairbanks has been a defendant in thousands of personal injury lawsuits arising out of its alleged manufacture and distribution of a line of asbestos-containing bronze and iron valves from its Binghamton, New York, facility dating back to the early 1900’s.

"Fairbanks never produced or distributed asbestos-containing products from its facility in Rome," White wrote in an email. "With this filing, Fairbanks joins over 100 other companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection over the years as a result of asbestos-related litigation."

The asbestos lawsuits are the sole reason for the action taken by Fairbanks, he wrote.

"After decades in the tort system, Fairbanks is confident that the action taken will enable it to continue to thrive as a company and as an employer, while at the same time establish an asbestos personal injury trust for the purpose of valuing, resolving, and, if eligible, paying, current and future asbestos-related claims against Fairbanks in a fair and efficient manner," White wrote.

Incorporated in 1891, Fairbanks is a Georgia corporation that manufactures customized material handling equipment in its more than 200,000 square foot manufacturing and warehousing facility located in Rome.