Attorneys in asbestos settlement seek $4M in fees

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Attorneys for asbestos victims in a Montana mining town are seeking more than $4 million in fees and costs from a settlement with chemical company W.R. Grace.

State District Judge James Wheelis has ordered a March 1 hearing on the request.

It equals about 20 percent of a $19.6 million settlement following decades of asbestos exposure from a Grace mine outside the town of Libby. The contamination so far has killed an estimated 400 people and sickened more than 2,000.

Attorneys involved say the settlement required more than 16,000 hours of work over 11 years.

A medical trust fund established through the settlement has enough money to last about five years.

A separate settlement with the state for failing to intervene promptly in Libby included $14 million in attorney fees.

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