Libby asbestos claims are overwhelming courts in Montana. Now, the Montana Supreme Court has appointed six additional Asbestos Claim Court judges to handle the overflow of claims pending.
The Asbestos Claims Court was created in November of 2017 to deal with the many plaintiffs seeking reparations from the old vermiculite mine owned by W.R. Grace. The mine, which is riddled with asbestos, is the reason thousands of people in the town and surrounding areas contracted asbestos-related illnesses.
In 2001, the Montana Legislature gave the Supreme Court the authority to establish an asbestos claims court. Since 2001, Libby and the former W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine have become ground zero for one of the largest environmental cleanups in American history. The mine is now the reason for the astronomical amount of civil cases and criminal charges being presented to the court.
The mine officially closed in 1990. Since then, more than 2,000 current and former residents of the area have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses; over 400 have died in the last decade.
As of December 12, 2018, there are over 2,000 claimants alleging exposure with an estimated 200 additional cases per year.
Many people have been made sick and lost their lives after decades of asbestos exposure from the W.R. Grace mine. Mine workers unknowingly put themselves and their families in danger by carrying toxic fibers home on their work clothes after breathing and ingesting the toxic particles all day.