Libby Montana News Archive

LibbyMt.com > News > January 2006 > W.R. Grace trial won’t be moved from Montana

W.R. Grace trial won’t be moved from Montana
Change of Venue motion denied
by Dawn Ballou
January 12, 2006

The trial against W.R. Grace Company and seven executives won’t be moved from Montana, a federal court judge ruled on Wednesday. W.R. Grace attorneys filed a motion for a change of venue last September arguing that inflammatory media coverage over six years had prejudiced the jury pool in Montana. They suggested jurors in Idaho, Colorado, Utah or Washington would be less biased than those from Montana. The judge wrote that the defendants failed to meet their burden to demonstrate presumed prejudice in the case and the media coverage was largely factual in nature. The decision puts the trial in Missoula, which is approximately 211 miles from Libby, making it still relatively accessible for Libby residents to attend. The case is scheduled to start in September. For more details on this story, see the article by Tristan Scott in the Thursday online edition of the Missoulian: Judge won’t move W.R. Grace trial (1/12/06, Missoulian Online)

Asbestos lawsuits in other areas
As a side note, W.R. Grace isn’t the only large company facing asbestos lawsuit woes. There are many cases going on across the United States related to asbestos exposure incidents (see our recent article, "Who hasn’t heard about asbestos?", 12/19/05)

Just recently, in West Virginia, a couple has filed an asbestos-related lawsuit naming 35 companies as defendants for a man who worked at a rayon plant from 1966 to 1977 exposing him to asbestos insulation from a steam-generating boiler and other sources of breathable asbestos fibers. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2005. That suit names companies including FMC Corporation, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, Owens-Illinois Inc, Union Carbide Chemical and Plastics Company Inc, Viacom, just to name a few. They are seeking joint and several compensatory damages to be a determined by a jury, plus interest. For more on this story, see the article by Chris Dickerson in the West Virginia Record: Couple names 35 companies in asbestos suit (1/12/06, The West Virginia Record)

Asbestos litigation and legislation
According to The Asbestos Alliance, a coalition that includes companies, trade associations and other parties seeking congressional legislation to solve America’s asbestos litigation crisis, there are hundreds of thousands of claims still pending and new claims are accelerating. "The flood of claims and resulting settlements are forcing companies into bankruptcy and putting at risk compensation for those who are sick today or may become sick in the future." (http://www.asbestossolution.org)

For anyone interested in following asbestos issues, and to get an understanding of the huge scope of asbestos-related concern world-wide (not just in Libby), one good way is to sign up for Google’s news alerts. Set the alert to trigger on “asbestos”, and you’ll receive e-mail alerts and links to the frequent current news stories world-wide that relate to asbestos. Google Search Engine News Alerts

Asbestos Trust Fund Bill
Senator Arlen Spector, from Pennsylvania, has been pushing legislation for an asbestos trust fund designed to compensate those who have been affected through asbestos exposure. The trust fund would replace the court system where victims now get compensation through a court trial. The proposed legislation would establish a $140 billion trust fund to compensate asbestos victims. The legislation has a lot of special interest groups, victim advocacy organizations, insurance companies and big businesses voicing their concerns on how the final version of the bill would be crafted. Spector hopes to get the bill to the senate this year. http://specter.senate.gov/

Related Links:
Grace wants trial moved out of Montana (LibbyMT.com, 11/8/05)

LibbyMt.com > News > January 2006 > W.R. Grace trial won’t be moved from Montana
All page content copyright 2006. All rights reserved. May not be used without permission.

home page
PO Box 940, Libby, MT 59923
e-mail: info@libbymt.com