Libby Asbestos Victims Await Settlement

by Sokolove Law

Asbestos is so powerful and dangerous, it not only destroys individual humans — it also eliminates whole communities and towns.

One such community is Libby, Mont. As this blog noted, Libby has paid an enormous toll in sickness and suffering because of the operations of a nearby vermiculite mine that also contained asbestos.

The mine, owned and operated by W.R. Grace and Co., covered Libby and the region around it with asbestos dust. Hundreds of locals have died or become ill. More deaths from asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other conditions will occur for decades.

In response, the state of Montana worked out an agreement with W.R. Grace to pay the victims settlement money. The process has been slow-going, in part, because of bureaucratic hurdles. However, at least 100 Libby asbestos victims will receive portions of the multi-million dollar settlement package by the end of April, according to the Missoulian.

The assurance came from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who noted 150-plus people have been awaiting necessary information from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The CMS has already offered medical treatment to some of the asbestos victims — and now the agency is entitled to recover some of the cash as reimbursement. However, this has also held up the settlement process — and some of the victims have been waiting for over a year for the finalization process to complete.

In a press release, Baucus stated: “There’ve been so many levels of injustice in Libby, Mont., and this backlog shouldn’t be one of them.”  He noted the settlement had taken so long, one woman widowed by her husband’s asbestos disease herself had already passed on. She never received “the compensation she deserved,” as Baucus’ press release noted.

Were you exposed to asbestos? Did you develop an asbestos disease, such as mesothelioma? Then contact the experienced mesothelioma attorneys at Sokolove Law to discuss a potential asbestos lawsuit.