Deadline Looms to File Libby Asbestos Claims

More than three decades ago, the lawsuits against W.R. Grace & Co. began cropping up with relative obscurity, brought by former miners and their families who were exposed to the asbestos-laced vermiculite mined in Libby.

People were dying. And as that trend became clear in the mid-1980s, the first of many lawsuits asserted that company officials ignored warnings by state agencies to clean up the contaminated vermiculite mining operation at its site in Libby.

The wave of asbestos litigation that followed was initially stanched by a statute of limitations in Montana requiring plaintiffs to file personal injury or wrongful death cases within three years of learning about any facts giving rise to their claims.