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News & Press: Montana Supreme Court

Montana Supreme Court orders creation of Asbestos Claims Court

Tuesday, November 28, 2017  
Posted by: Joe Menden
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The Montana Supreme Court on Nov. 28 issued an order creating an Asbestos Claims Court to resolve hundreds of asbestos-related cases pending in Montana’s trial courts. The cases, which have languished while federal bankruptcy issues were pending, can now proceed in the state court system. The action places all pending asbestos cases into the specialty court.

The order requires attorneys representing parties in cases arising from asbestos-related claims to file a notice of appearance with the Asbestos Court by Dec. 28, 2017.

The court has identified a list of about 600 pending cases but not all cases may have been captured. Parties and attorneys involved in litigation brought for the recovery of monetary damages for personal injury, wrongful death, loss or consortium, or other injury arising out of an asbestos-related disease that is alleged to result from the mining of vermiculite, the processing of vermiculite, or the transfer, storage, installation, or removal of a product containing vermiculite should file a notice of appearance in the court even if a case does not appear on the list. The notice of appearance must be filed electronically through the Montana Supreme Court.

Flathead County District Court Judge Amy Eddy will preside over the court initially. Consolidating the cases will allow discovery and settlement discussions to proceed quickly.  Any cases that are not settled will be tried in the Judicial District in which the cases originated.

The Montana Legislature gave the Supreme Court the authority to establish an asbestos court during the 2001 legislative session.

The order creating the Asbestos Claims Court is available here. The list of identified pending asbestos cases is available here.