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By Laura Smitherman and Laura Smitherman,SUN STAFF | February 10, 2005
Sheldon Myrie used to steer clear of a back room at his Beltsville workplace after he learned that federal officials discovered trace amounts of asbestos that had traveled there from a Montana mine. "They said there was nothing to worry about, but I thought hopefully there was nothing that could kill me back there because I have young children to take care of," said Myrie, who works for Atlantic Transportation Equipment Ltd., which has since moved to a nearby building. The now abandoned shop in a Prince George's County industrial park was one of more than 200 sites from New York to Hawaii where asbestos-tainted vermiculite was shipped or processed and used for insulation, fireproofing and fertilizer.
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BUSINESS
By Baltimore Sun staff and news services | May 9, 2009
MISSOULA, Mont. -W.R. Grace & Co. and three former executives were acquitted Friday of federal charges that they knowingly allowed residents of northwestern Montana town to be exposed to asbestos from its vermiculite mine. Attorneys for some residents of the town of Libby blame tremolite asbestos from the vermiculite for about 2,000 cases of illness and about 225 deaths in and around the community. Miners carried asbestos home on their clothes, vermiculite used to cover school running tracks in Libby and some residents used vermiculite as mulch in their home gardens.
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NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | February 27, 2000
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The pretrial litigation has reached the five-year mark with depositions and arguments ever growing in Dickensian stacks dense enough to make the judge cry out. "This court has been submerged," complained Judge James Michael here in U.S. District Court. "No more of these 180-page briefs," he ordered the battery of lawyers, as he applied a firm hand to one of the more enigmatic environmental lawsuits inching its way across a highly valued corner of the nation. The civil suit involves a group of preservationists in a rustic antebellum enclave of Louisa County and two strip-mining companies, but not in the usual configuration.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown and Matthew Hay Brown,matthew.brown@baltsun.com | February 23, 2009
W.R. Grace & Co. and five former managers go on trial today, accused of exposing a Montana community for decades to a particularly lethal form of asbestos and concealing what the company knew about the dangers. The Columbia-based chemical manufacturer has denied the allegations. Officials at the global company, which employs more than 1,100 in Maryland, say that managers worked continually to improve safety at the vermiculite mine and mill that it bought near Libby, Mont., in 1963 and operated until 1990.
BUSINESS
By Baltimore Sun staff and news services | May 9, 2009
MISSOULA, Mont. -W.R. Grace & Co. and three former executives were acquitted Friday of federal charges that they knowingly allowed residents of northwestern Montana town to be exposed to asbestos from its vermiculite mine. Attorneys for some residents of the town of Libby blame tremolite asbestos from the vermiculite for about 2,000 cases of illness and about 225 deaths in and around the community. Miners carried asbestos home on their clothes, vermiculite used to cover school running tracks in Libby and some residents used vermiculite as mulch in their home gardens.
BUSINESS
By Bloomberg News | May 22, 2007
WILMINGTON, Del. -- W.R. Grace & Co. asked the judge overseeing its bankruptcy case to bar asbestos-related lawsuits against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. over the railroad's objections to the legal protection. Grace's effort to resolve more than 100,000 asbestos claims it faces would be more difficult if Burlington, known as BNSF, starts defending itself against 113 lawsuits involving the railroad's transportation of vermiculite ore in Libby, Mont., Grace attorney David M. Bernick contended yesterday in court.
BUSINESS
By Jay Hancock | January 16, 2002
THE NUMBER of Dr. Alan Whitehouse's patients who are sick, dying or dead of asbestos disease passed 450 last year. He expects the list to grow. "A lot of abnormal X-rays turned up in a screening we had last fall," he said on the phone yesterday. "There has been ongoing exposure - even since the 1980s there has been ongoing exposure - and those people haven't had any time to manifest any symptoms." Whitehouse is a lung specialist in Spokane, Wash. Almost all his asbestos patients come from Libby, Mont.
BUSINESS
By Jonathan Bor and Jonathan Bor,SUN STAFF | February 9, 2005
The asbestos inhaled by residents of Libby, Mont., was never good for much - not for strengthening concrete, soundproofing buildings or insulating boilers, brake pads or clutches. But if someone were to design an asbestos fiber that stood a good chance of triggering cancers and respiratory disorders, experts say, he could hardly have done better. Nature made six types of asbestos, magnesium silicates that exist in nature as bundles of tiny fibers that can fray or be picked apart. The kind that occurred in the W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine is known as tremolite, but not all tremolite is created equal.
BUSINESS
By Gus G. Sentementes and Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF | December 24, 2002
W.R. Grace & Co. said yesterday that it expects to take a pretax charge of at least $20 million after the U.S. District Court of Montana granted a government motion for partial summary judgment in a lawsuit seeking recovery of cleanup costs for the company's old vermiculite mining and processing sites near Libby, Mont. The Columbia-based chemical maker said the Environmental Protection Agency claimed to have costs of about $57 million for cleanup efforts in Libby as of Dec. 31 last year.
NEWS
By Jean Marbella and Jean Marbella,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | July 30, 2003
LIBBY, Mont. - When Bob Dedrick had a routine chest X-ray before a gall bladder operation, the doctor returned with the results and a question. "Where do you live?" the doctor asked. "Libby, Montana," Dedrick said. "That explains it." This small town of 2,800 residents in remote northwestern Montana has become shorthand for a public health disaster of tragic proportions - and lingering questions of corporate and governmental culpability. The scarring that the doctor saw on Dedrick's lungs identified his hometown as clearly as a local accent, signaling that he, too, had inhaled the microscopic fibers of asbestos that swirled through Libby for decades.
NEWS
By Andrea K. Walker and Paul Adams and Andrea K. Walker and Paul Adams,SUN REPORTERS | April 8, 2008
W.R. Grace & Co. said yesterday that it has reached a deal that could be worth more than $3 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits by people who say they were sickened by exposure to the company's asbestos products. The deal potentially clears a path for the Columbia-based chemical maker to emerge by year's end from one of the most complex bankruptcy reorganizations in U.S. history. The accord, which would depend on approval by a bankruptcy judge in Pittsburgh, would establish a trust fund to pay current and future asbestos claims, which date back decades to when the company produced and sold products containing the substance.
NEWS
By Allison Connolly and Allison Connolly,Sun reporter | March 12, 2008
W.R. Grace & Co. has agreed to pay $250 million, the most in the history of the federal government's Superfund program, to clean up contamination from a Montana vermiculite mine that caused 1,200 residents and former mine workers to become ill or die from asbestos-related diseases. The agreement was announced by the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency late yesterday. If the deal is approved by the bankruptcy court overseeing Grace's reorganization, the Columbia-based specialty chemicals maker would be shielded from any additional cleanup claims and costs.
BUSINESS
By Bloomberg News | May 22, 2007
WILMINGTON, Del. -- W.R. Grace & Co. asked the judge overseeing its bankruptcy case to bar asbestos-related lawsuits against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. over the railroad's objections to the legal protection. Grace's effort to resolve more than 100,000 asbestos claims it faces would be more difficult if Burlington, known as BNSF, starts defending itself against 113 lawsuits involving the railroad's transportation of vermiculite ore in Libby, Mont., Grace attorney David M. Bernick contended yesterday in court.
NEWS
March 3, 2007
ALAN STRINGER, 62 W.R. Grace executive Alan Stringer, one of seven former W.R. Grace and Co. executives accused of conspiring to conceal asbestos-related health risks posed by a Montana mine, died of cancer Feb. 24 at his home in Oak Harbor, Wash., his wife, Donna, said Thursday. In Libby, Mont., asbestos from Grace's former vermiculite mine has been blamed for sickening or killing hundreds of people. Mr. Stringer had been the general manager of the vermiculite mine, which closed in 1990.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Schneider and Andrew Schneider,Sun reporter | January 23, 2007
LIBBY, Mont. -- For more than 65 years, lethal asbestos fibers from a nearby vermiculite mine contaminated this small town and its people. Federal agencies have spent seven years and tens of millions of dollars removing tons of the cancer-causing material from homes, businesses, schools and playgrounds. Yet no one is sure that any amount of time or money can clean up the town enough to make it safe to live there. So a growing number of residents now are proposing that the federal Environmental Protection Agency or Columbia-based W.R. Grace & Co., which owned the mine for the last quarter-century of its operation, buy their houses so they can rebuild outside heavily contaminated areas.
BUSINESS
By Laura Smitherman and Laura Smitherman,SUN STAFF | February 10, 2005
Sheldon Myrie used to steer clear of a back room at his Beltsville workplace after he learned that federal officials discovered trace amounts of asbestos that had traveled there from a Montana mine. "They said there was nothing to worry about, but I thought hopefully there was nothing that could kill me back there because I have young children to take care of," said Myrie, who works for Atlantic Transportation Equipment Ltd., which has since moved to a nearby building. The now abandoned shop in a Prince George's County industrial park was one of more than 200 sites from New York to Hawaii where asbestos-tainted vermiculite was shipped or processed and used for insulation, fireproofing and fertilizer.
NEWS
By Meredith Cohn and Stacey Hirsh and Meredith Cohn and Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF | February 8, 2005
W.R. Grace & Co. and seven current and former executives were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on charges of knowingly exposing residents of a small Montana town to asbestos that has made at least 1,200 of them sick, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The Columbia-based company could face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and the executives could be sentenced to five to 70 years in prison if convicted of all charges in the 10-count indictment, which was handed up in Missoula, Mont.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Schneider and Andrew Schneider,Sun reporter | January 23, 2007
LIBBY, Mont. -- For more than 65 years, lethal asbestos fibers from a nearby vermiculite mine contaminated this small town and its people. Federal agencies have spent seven years and tens of millions of dollars removing tons of the cancer-causing material from homes, businesses, schools and playgrounds. Yet no one is sure that any amount of time or money can clean up the town enough to make it safe to live there. So a growing number of residents now are proposing that the federal Environmental Protection Agency or Columbia-based W.R. Grace & Co., which owned the mine for the last quarter-century of its operation, buy their houses so they can rebuild outside heavily contaminated areas.
BUSINESS
By William Patalon III and William Patalon III,SUN STAFF | February 9, 2005
The road to recovery for W.R. Grace & Co. was made tougher by an indictment this week alleging that the company knowingly exposed a Montana town to deadly asbestos for decades and will become tougher yet if the Columbia company takes a hard-line stance, experts said. Grace filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001 to shield itself from more than 100,000 asbestos-related lawsuits, a move necessary for it to emerge as a continuing business. The indictment "makes it a lot more difficult," said Ivan Feinseth, an analyst with Matrix Securities in New York.
BUSINESS
By Jonathan Bor and Jonathan Bor,SUN STAFF | February 9, 2005
The asbestos inhaled by residents of Libby, Mont., was never good for much - not for strengthening concrete, soundproofing buildings or insulating boilers, brake pads or clutches. But if someone were to design an asbestos fiber that stood a good chance of triggering cancers and respiratory disorders, experts say, he could hardly have done better. Nature made six types of asbestos, magnesium silicates that exist in nature as bundles of tiny fibers that can fray or be picked apart. The kind that occurred in the W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine is known as tremolite, but not all tremolite is created equal.
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