WR Grace Makes Deal to Settle Asbestos Claims

Chemical company hopes to leave bankruptcy by year's end
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Apr 8, 2008 1:21 PM CDT
An asbestos removal specialist looks for asbestos fibers.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Chemical company WR Grace cleared a major hurdle in its 7-year effort to emerge from bankruptcy yesterday, agreeing to pay more than $3 billion to settle asbestos-related personal injury lawsuits, reports the Baltimore Sun. The deal, which a bankruptcy judge must approve, would establish a trust fund to settle current and future lawsuits. "In the final analysis, nothing will really compensate for people who lose their husbands or wives," said a lawyer for the claimants.

Grace has been under bankruptcy protection since 2001, when it faced 110,000 claims relating to cancer and mesothelioma resulting from exposure to building and fireproofing products it manufactured before 1973. The company will establish a $250-million trust, augmented by $1.55 billion in payments through 2034, proceeds from Grace’s asbestos insurance, and cash from former Grace holdings.