W.R. Grace Judge Lashes Prosecutors Who Admit They ‘Dropped the Ball” – Judge Dism

The New York Times continues to describe the events in the W.R. Grace trial, with the most recent article being one by Kirk Johnson that is located here. The opening two paragraphs are set out below to whet your appetite for more facts – the entire article should be read.

April 28, 2009

Judge in Asbestos Case Angrily Lectures Prosecutors

By KIRK JOHNSON MISSOULA, Mont. — A chastened team of prosecutors stood here on Monday before a clearly angry federal judge in the criminal trial over asbestos contamination in the small town of Libby, Mont., and in soft voices, trying to salvage their threatened case, said they were sorry.

“The truth of the matter is that we just dropped the ball,” said Tim Racicot, an assistant United States attorney, standing before Judge Donald W. Molloy at a hearing in Federal District Court in the trial of W. R. Grace, the big chemical products company, and five of its executives, who are charged with multiple felonies in connection with their operation of a vermiculite mine in Libby. Lawyers for Grace asked last week for the charges to be thrown out after two months of testimony. They accused prosecutors of repeatedly violating court orders to turn over evidence favorable to the defense and of putting on the stand a star witness whose credibility, they said, has since been shattered by information about his character, motivation and relationship with the prosecutors that the jury never heard about.

Caveat/Disclaimer: In the mid-to-late 1990s, I was part of a team of lawyers who represented W.R. Grace in asbestos litigation. My personal opinion is that the prosecution always has been a travesty because it ignored the facts and science regarding the Libby, Montana zonolite mining facility purchased by Grace after the facility had been in operation for many years.

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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