GREAT FALLS — A $36-million dollar ruling was decided this week in a Great Falls courtroom against the Maryland Casualty Company.
A jury found the company did not warn the plaintiff - Ralph Hutt - of the occupational hazards at the W.R. Grace vermiculite plant in Libby, Montana.
According to Courthouse News Service, vermiculite is a silicate mineral that occurs naturally in asbestos-laden rock on Vermiculite Mountain near Libby. Thousands of W.R. Grace workers and their families since the 1960s have been injured or have died from lung disease related to working at or living near the W.R. Grace vermiculite mine, which closed in the 1990s.
Among the questions posed to the jury:
- Did you find Maryland Casualty Company proved Ralph Hutt knew or should have known all the facts for Maryland Casualty Company's statute of limitations before September 4, 2021? The jury responded NO.
- Did you find Maryland Casualty Company breached its duty to warn Ralph Hutt of the asbestos hazard at the Libby mill? The jury responded YES.
- Did you find Maryland Casualty Company breach of the duty to warn was a cause of Ralph Hutt's asbestos-related disease? The jury responded YES.
The jury returned a judgment of $6,500,000 to Hutt, with an additional $30 million dollars awarded in punitive damages. Click here to read the court document (PDF).