Jury awards $36.5M to former Libby miner with lung disease

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BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A Montana jury has awarded $36.5 million in damages to an Oregon man who suffers from lung disease because of exposure to asbestos while working at a vermiculite mine in Libby.

The jury on Friday awarded Ralph Hutt $6.5 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages.

Hutt was one of more than 880 plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against W.R. Grace & Co.’s workers compensation insurance provider, Maryland Casualty Company.

A judge overseeing a special asbestos claims court in Montana chose Hutt’s case as the lead case to settle complex legal questions fur future cases.

Zurich Insurance, which acquired Maryland Casualty, declined to comment.

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