On October 20, 2012, the Daily Inter Lake reported that asbestos victims were working toward settlements with W.R. Grace & Co., BNSF Railway Co. and certain insurance companies in what Grace was deeming a “global resolution.” That same day, the newspaper also reported that Montana’s two US Senators were “working to get a full waiver of Medicare liens that have been placed on pending settlements for Libby asbestos victims.” As we have noted in the past, hundreds of Libby residents were poisoned by the toxic asbestos dust from Grace’s vermiculite mine that did not close until 1990.
“Those harmed by the Libby asbestos contamination have already been subject to liens on the small settlement reached by the state of Montana,” Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester stated in a letter to Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “These individuals are seeking a waiver so that new settlements can be distributed without the expense and delay of Medicare lien processing.”
Baucus and Tester were referring to a $43 million settlement from the state for more than 1,100 people with asbestos disease. Any Medicare liens owed by victims were subtracted from settlement payments in that deal, according to the Inter Lake. The senators pointed out that many Libby victims were treated under Medicare, so the federal insurance program was entitled by law to a portion of the Libby settlements to pay back those expenses.
“But, the process to determine how much Medicare is owed has [dragged] on for more than one year, preventing the settlements from being finalized and keeping victims from the compensation they deserve,” the senators stated, according to the Inter Lake.
The town of Libby is a frightening reminder of the many fatal diseases that stem from asbestos exposure, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. We have more information about occupations with high risk for mesothelioma on our website, and you could be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos. Contact our firm at (800) 687-3333 or complete the form on this page to have our Dallas litigation attorneys review your case.
Stanley Iola, LLP – Dallas litigation attorneys