Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in soil and rock. It has been used in an assortment of products due to its unique physical properties which make it resistant to heat, fire and acidic chemicals. However, during the lifetime of asbestos-related products, asbestos particles break down into small fibers which remain airborne for long periods of time. When inhaled, these fibers can penetrate tissues in the lungs and can remain in the body for many years. These fibers cause a number of serious and often fatal illnesses, including asbestosis and mesothelioma, a deadly and vicious form of cancer. Once commonly used across hundreds of different industries for over a century, asbestos is now known to be extremely harmful and is banned from use in many countries, including the United States. However, asbestos-related products are still out there in circulation and the effects of asbestos are still being felt to this day.
In Libby, Montana, a $25 million settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit brought by over 1,000 victims of asbestos-related diseases. The class-action states that Montana health officials failed to warn Libby miners and residents about the hazards or a contaminated vermiculite mine. In the 1950’s, it was discovered that the W.R. Grace and Co. mine in Libby contained dangerous amounts of asbestos. This information, however, was allegedly never reported to the miners or the residents of the nearby town. It is reported that since then, 400 people have died due to asbestos-related illnesses and roughly 3,000 have been injured.
The Libby mine closed in 1999, and nearly $600 million has been spent on the largest, longest-running asbestos cleanup project in American history. The claimants assert that efforts to clean the mine are far too late and that the damage has already been done. The Montana Supreme Court said the state should have warned miners about hazards first identified by state officials in Libby in the 1950s, and the defendant reached a settlement with the claimants for $25 million soon thereafter.
If you or a family member have been injured by asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries, as well as any emotional trauma and financial hardship caused by the exposure. Call our Boston asbestos attorneys 24/7 at 617-787-3700 or email us at email@example.com for a free and private consultation.