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BREAKING: WR Grace settles

Plaintiffs asked for $6 billion; WR Grace said the asbestos claims were worth only $500 million because of extensive fraud. According to Bloomberg, the parties settle for "$1.8 billion," though this amount consists of in-the-money options and payments over 15 years beginning in 2019, so is substantially inflated in present value--depending on the discount rate one uses, the total is more like $600 to $900 million. I haven't yet explored the filing in detail to see what audit protections the settlement will have: will the plaintiffs' lawyers have a blank check to divvy up funds, or will allocations be decided by a neutral administrator as in the Vioxx settlement? And, alas, the settlement means we won't get a federal judge making authoritative pronouncements on the extent of fraud by the asbestos plaintiffs' bar, though the fact that the plaintiffs are settling for less than a quarter on the dollar (well under $1.3 billion of the $5.5 billion in dispute) is telling. More: the 8-K filing; Reuters; Thomson/CNN/Money.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.