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Asbestos Manufacturer W.R. Grace Settles Claims

W.R. Grace & Co. has reached an agreement to resolve current and future asbestos claims against the company, which would allow it to emerge from bankruptcy without further obligations for asbestos injury.

Asbestos contamination from a former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine in the northwestern Montana town of Libby has been blamed for sickening hundreds of people, some fatally. The agreement will require the company to pay $250 million into a trust fund for asbestos victims, followed by deferred payments of $110 million per year for five years beginning in 2019 and $100 million per year for 10 years beginning in 2024.

Other contributions to the trust fund are $1.2 billion from Sealed Air Corp. and $100 million from Fresenius Medical Care Corp., both formerly affiliated with Grace. The trust will be able to file claims against $917 million in product liability insurance purchased by Grace.

Grace filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2001. The company had been named in 110,000 asbestos personal injury claims. The company will be able to emerge from bankruptcy late this year or early next year, at which point the trust fund would be set up and trustees appointed. A majority of the asbestos injury claims against Grace are related to a spray-on fireproofing product the company manufactured.

From 1923 to the early 1990s, millions of tons of the asbestos-contaminated vermiculite ore were shipped from the mine near Libby to about 270 processing plants across the United States for use in insulation, fireproofing, gardening and other products.

For more information, contact the Mesothelioma Lawyers at Williams Kherkher at 1.800.220.9341.

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