The victims of asbestos exposure in the town of Libby, Montana have moved for judicial review of the $4 million in attorney’s fees and costs requested by the legal counsel for the victims. The attorneys are requesting the fees and costs for their work in negotiating a settlement with W.R. Grace and Co.
About 20 people, including some victims of asbestos exposure, have submitted letters to Judge James Wheelis of the 19th Judicial District of Montana opposing the $4 million attorney’s fee request of the lawyers who represented the victims of asbestos exposure in the infamous case against W.R. Grace. The opposition letters set forth several grounds for reducing the attorney’s fee, and using the settlement money for the good of the asbestos victims and the community of Libby, Montana generally.
Judge Wheelis has also received three letters in support of the attorney’s fee request. The letters in support of the request detail the work of attorneys from three law firms who performed over 18,000 of work over a period of 11 years. The lawyers have also agreed to a 20% (of the settlement amount) fee, rather than the 40% fee that the lawyers were entitled to receive according to the terms of the retainer contract. The attorney’s fee request represents approximately 20% of the $19.6 million settlement that W.R. Grace agreed to pay into a trust fund, that will benefit the victims of asbestos exposure caused by the company’s mining activities in Libby.
The comment period regarding the attorney’s fee request is open to all effective parties for 30 days following the March 1 fairness hearing on the issue.
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