If mesothelioma victims had to choose one place in the United States to use as an example of the impact of asbestos, there’s a good chance they would choose Libby, Montana. Libby was the site of the W. R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine that spread asbestos throughout an entire community. It sickened workers and residents, contaminating the ground, the homes, retail establishments and travel routes. Hundreds of died and thousands have been sickened, with many more expected to be diagnosed in the coming years. Now, in response to the current backlog of lawsuits waiting to be heard and in anticipation of more to come, the Montana Supreme Court has appointed six additional judges to a special asbestos claims court designated to oversee the personal injury cases.
The six new judges will provide significant relief to Judge Amy Eddy, who has been the only one presiding over the 2,229 mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease cases that are pending. The Asbestos Claims Court was implemented on November 28th, 2017, with dockets designated as active for those who have manifested disease symptoms that impact their lives, and deferred for those who have cases that are pending but that are not yet considered acute. The active docket currently has 835 cases pending.
Libby, Montana’s residents who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases have been forced to wait for years before being able to seek justice. The victims have not been able to pursue their claims in state court because the company filed for bankruptcy. This is a large part of what has caused the current backlog, but even with the additional judges it is likely that the caseload will be overwhelming for the foreseeable future, as it is anticipated that there will be roughly 200 new cases of asbestos-related disease diagnosed in the area each year. Each judge will have their own caseload, and will be managing each individual case from beginning to end.
If you or someone you love has been affected by mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and you need guidance on your legal options, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.