Libby, Montana asbestos case to be reviewed by Workman’s Compensation Court

28 Jan 2015 by under Legal, News

forest libby 100x100 Libby, Montana asbestos case to be reviewed by Workman’s Compensation CourtIn 2009, Edwin Moreau died of asbestos-related lung cancer after working at W.R. Grace Mine in Libby, Mont., for almost 30 years. Since he became ill, his wife, Cristita Moreau, has been battling to secure her husband’s benefits to cover his medical expenses. Initially, her claim for occupational disease benefits was refused by Transportation Insurance, W.R. Grace’s company covering claims from sick workers. In 2010, Moreau filed a petition with the Workman’s Compensation Court, which resulted in a settlement in 2013.

Though she was paid $95,000 for her husband’s expenses by the established by W.R. Grace, the program refused to accept reimbursement from the insurance company. Moreau has argued that the difference between the insurance settlement and the declined reimbursement should be paid into her husband’s estate or charity of choice. Transportation Insurance denied this request, leading Moreau to file another petition. The Workman’s Compensation Court denied this petition, stating that she has no right to the insurance money because any further money would be a “double payment.”

The Supreme Court has now ruled that Moreau does have standing as the “personal representative” of her husband’s estate, and has ordered the Workman’s Compensation Court to fully consider the petition and merits of the case.

The small, rural community of Libby, Mont.,has faced a critical environment and public health crisis since hundreds of illnesses and deaths have resulted from occupational and non-occupational environmental exposures to asbestos associated with Libby’s vermiculite mining and milling operations. For more than 70 years, the Libby community was exposed to asbestos from the vermiculite mine that operated in the town, producing at one time 80 percent of the world’s vermiculite. Since this mineral, containing asbestos, was shipped to nearly 300 processing plants around the country, Libby’s Center for Asbestos Related Disease fears that other towns and cities will soon realize that they have asbestos exposure issues to address.

Sources:
KBZK News
Center for Asbestos Related Disease

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