The state of Montana and their former insurance company have asked the state Supreme Court to decide who’s liable for almost $100 million in damages for Libby asbestos victims.
The state won a lawsuit in 2018 when the judge ruled National Indemnity Co. (NIC) was responsible for the full settlement. The settlement involved claims from Libby residents who weren’t warned about the health dangers of asbestos exposure from W.R. Grace and Co.’s vermiculite mine between the 1950s and 1980s. The court ruled the settlement amount was estimated to be $43 million to more than 200 victims.
In 2012, NIC sued the state, demanding the $16.1 million it spent defending the state over the asbestos claims. Montana counter-sued, saying the insurance company failed to properly defend against the injury claims and they were required to cover the subsequent settlements.
Health conditions that develop from asbestos exposure can take decades to develop. It is still unknown how many more victims from the mine in Libby may come forward in the coming years.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in 2021.