The battle against CSR’s corporate responsibility began in the 1970s, with former Wittenoom workers contesting the company’s use of the corporate veil as protection. Initially, legal actions were directed at Midalco Pty Ltd, a CSR subsidiary, shielding the parent company from direct litigation.

Cornelius Maas was among the first to challenge Midalco in 1978, followed by Joan Joosten, and Walter Simpson, each suffering from asbestos-related illnesses.

While initial cases faced dismissals or settlements, Klaus Rabenalt’s landmark victory in 1988 established CSR’s negligence, leading to subsequent successful litigations by Peter Heys and Stephen Barrow. These legal wins pierced the corporate veil, compelling CSR to acknowledge liability and settle claims out of court, including the 1989 Wittenoom group settlement.

Despite these resolutions, CSR continued to face liabilities, indicative of broader challenges in handling asbestos-related issues, with annual liabilities reaching $30-50 million by 2010.

Source: Battling CSR