Over 1,000 mesothelioma cancer victims recently settled claims against the state of Montana over allegations the plaintiffs developed the deadly asbestos-related cancer in a privately-owned asbestos mine. The settlement is the second such largest in the state’s recent history, after a $43 million resolution another group of 1,000 plaintiffs from Libby, Montana agreed to in 2011 as compensation for their own mesothelioma cancer lawsuit.
The latest settlement is the culmination of hundreds of mesothelioma cancer lawsuits filed by local residents against the state, claiming the government failed to protect them from the known dangers of the asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine located near the town. Plaintiffs from this settlement had not been diagnosed with mesothelioma at the time of the 2011 resolution but have since developed the condition.
Hundreds of Victims Develop Mesothelioma
The plaintiffs’ awards will vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case but will generally receive amounts between $10,500 up to $60,000 to help cover the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages. Many of the victims also filed claims against railway company BNSF, whose parent company is chaired by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, over allegations that company contributed to the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma.
Experts studying the case estimate at many as 400 individuals living in or around Libby, Montana have died from asbestos related conditions and another 3,000 became ill. Litigation in the matter has gone on for years with the state refusing to take responsibility for not warning Libby residents despite knowing about the vermiculite mine’s dangers since the 1950’s.
The mine’s owner, W.R. Grace, has been the target of over 7,000 investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency into the company’s asbestos business. In 2008, W.R. Grace agreed to fund a $250 million cleanup effort in Libby, which is expected to end soon.
How Does Asbestos Contaminate Vermiculite?
Vermiculite, like asbestos, is a naturally occurring material used in various industrial applications such as insulation and water absorption. Although vermiculite does not naturally contain asbestos, deposits often form side by side with asbestos, which can lead to a deadly mix.
Just like asbestos, miners need to take the mineral from the earth and can be exposed to the substance. Due to the relationship between asbestos and vermiculite, companies working with the substance need to take special precautions to ensure employees and consumers do not develop mesothelioma from exposure to contaminated vermiculite.
When individuals do develop mesothelioma from exposure to contaminated vermiculite, victims can file mesothelioma cancer lawsuits to recover for their damages and hold wrongdoers accountable.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Cancer Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.