Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Supreme Court Doesn't Overturn the Ninth

For those who are lawyers, this is a man bites dog category.

Today, the Supreme Court declined to review the Ninth Circuit's decision in a case involving W.R. Grace & Co. The matter in question has to do with W.R. Grace's operations in Libby, Montana. Essentially, W.R. Grace mined asbestos there.

Since the 1930s, the asbestos industry knew that asbestos could kill the people who mined it, refined, worked with, or was exposed to it. And like responsible corporate citizens, they suppressed the information. Finally, the EPA and the government got around to prosecuting W.R. Grace for the pollution that they had caused to the town of Libby. They were found guilty.

On appeal, W.R. Grace complains that they should not be forced to pay for the clean up. Let's see, you've been convicted, the industry has lost literally thousands of cases for the harm caused by your product, and now they claim that they should not have to bear the burden of cleaning up the costs. Chuzpah?

Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court's ruling, which the Supreme Court has seen fit to not overturn. So in essence this was a two for one.

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