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Bankruptcy settlement would give $19.5M to Montana asbestos victims fund

February 19th, 2012

A proposed settlement in the bankruptcy case of a Montana asbestos company would add $19.5 million to a trust fund for victims of asbestos exposure caused by a mine it operated. W.R. Grace and Co. says adding the money to a fund will offer long-term support for residents of Libby, Montana who suffer from complications related to asbestos exposure.

W.R. Grace operated a mine outside of Libby for decades. Asbestos dust from the mine often coated areas of the town, and workers often returned from the mine with asbestos on their clothes. Since the opening of the mine, an estimated 400 residents have died from diseases related to asbestos exposure, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.

The proposed settlement comes four months after a judge approved a $43 million settlement by the state of Montana to 1,128 asbestos victims. The residents alleged that the state knew dust from the mine was affecting the town but failed to intervene.

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