$25 Million Settlement Reached for Libby Montana Asbestos Exposure Victims

On January 18, 2017, In Libby, Montana, a $25 million settlement was reached with the state of Montana to compensate victims suffering from asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma and lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure from the W.R. Grace Mining Operations.

The plaintiff’s successfully argued that the state of Montana failed to warn the Libby miners about the asbestos hazards in the mining operations. The state of Montana defended its actions by saying they had no responsibility to warn the victims of their possible asbestos exposure and resulting injuries that could occur from the known carcinogen.

There have been hundreds of deaths and thousands of asbestos-related diagnoses as a result of the massive asbestos exposure caused from contaminated mining with the presence of vermiculite asbestos.

In 2004 the Montana Supreme Court ruled the state should have provided warnings to employees about hazards identified by the state officials which were first discovered in the the 1950’s. Libby officials have determined the mines have killed approximately 400 people and 3000 people have come down with asbestos-related illnesses.

In 2011, a $43 million settlement was granted to 1000 victims of asbestos exposure illnesses stemming from the Libby mining operations. Again, the winning argument was that state officials knew of the dangers but failed to warn employees of the mine.

W.R Grace Files For Bankruptcy Protection

W.R. Grace quickly filed for bankruptcy protection after they decided it was no longer feasible to continue business operations after discovering the full extent of the asbestos related injuries suffered by its workers. This was an attempt by them to run away from their asbestos exposure liabilities caused to their workers.

The Libby mine which closed in 1999 cost about $600 million to cleanup the largest toxic asbestos superfund site in United States history.  The Environmental Protection Agency, currently being gutted by the new President, Donald Trump, had cleaned up almost 7,100 properties so far which have been impacted by asbestos exposure and has approximately 100 properties left to cleanup.

Victims of asbestos exposure suffer fatal illnesses of mesothelioma and lung cancer decades after exposure. Lawsuits over the Libby, Montana asbestos exposure will continue for many years to come. If you have been a victim of asbestos exposure it is important to obtain proper asbestos related diagnostics and testing from your healthcare provider.

You want to catch the disease at the earliest stage possible to allow yourself the best chance of receiving successful treatment and surviving your asbestos related illness. It is also important to seek legal assistance to ensure all of your legal rights are protected and you take advantage of compensation available to you to obtain justice for your asbestos exposure related diagnosis.

Matthew Davis

Author

Matthew Davis has studied journalism at the University of Colorado and has covered civil litigation for a variety of publications. He joined Mesowatch in 2016 and covers asbestos litigation developments in the U.S., as well as newsworthy asbestos cases.