Grace Challenges Restoration of Charges in Asbestos Cases

Lawyers for W.R. Grace & Co. are challenging a high court’s decision that restored criminal charges of “knowing endangerment” to the case against the company and several of its managers.

According to an article in the Missoulian, Grace’s lawyers had indicated that they would indeed fight the recent ruling issued by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, reversing six decisions that had been handed down last year by Judge Donald Molloy. Molloy’s decisions, said the appellate court, “had eliminated from trial evidence of releases of 95 percent of the contaminants in the Libby vermiculite.”

Lawyers for Grace have requested additional time to petition the court for a rehearing, notes the article. An extension was granted which gives Grace until November 5 to submit documents arguing that the three-judge panel “erred in its findings of fact.” Grace will request either a rehearing before the same three-judge panel, or before the whole court, or both, the article points out.

Last year, defense lawyers argued that prosecutors had waited too long to file criminal charges, therefore exceeding the five-year statute of limitations governing federal criminal prosecutions. Molloy ruled in favor of the chemical company, saying “the government had not alleged any overt criminal acts within the required time frame.”

Just last month, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that “the government had acted quickly to fix the statute-of-limitations problem by submitting a superseding indictment spelling out the overt criminal acts.”

The trial involving Grace and seven of its top executives is scheduled to begin in late winter or early spring of next year.

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