W.R. Grace Will Settle Property Damage Claims

Andrea K. Walker, Baltimore Sun - A deal worth a minimum of $60 million was reached by W.R. Grace & Co. to settle property damage claims that were filed by the owners of homes and businesses that used Zonolite attic and wall insulation.

Manufactured by a Columbia chemical maker, Zonolite contained vermiculite that was contaminated with asbestos. Mesothelioma, an often lethal tumor of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavities is known to be caused by asbestos.

According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, users of the product, within the scope of the deal, can expect to be paid 55 percent of the amount of damages that were claimed in the lawsuit. According to the filing, no one filing a claim will be eligible to receive more than $4,125.

In the first year Grace will fund a 20-year trust with $30 million and put an additional $30 million in during the third year. If the trust falls before $10 million after the fifth year, Grace will add $8 million a year to the trust. As long as the trust is in existence, homeowners and businesses may file claims. The trust money is meant to provide reimbursement for costs associated with replacing the Zonolite insulation that needed to be removed and replaced with a non-asbestos type of insulation.

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