A Fine Piece of Fuckery – The W.R. Grace Verdict

Ah, the W.R. Grace verdict of “not guilty.” I wanted to let the verdict sink in before attempting to write coherently and without the use of any variation of fuck, i.e., fuckery, motherfuckers – that kind of thing. It hasn’t worked.

Because – it could indeed be defined as a fine piece of fuckery.

The thing most stunning was the length of time the jury spent in consultation and deliberation. Not quite two days following a 10-week trial, 2-1/2 months, to decide such an awesome, almost overwhelming task regarding the biggest “environmental crime trial in history” of this nation. In fact at the University of Montana blog, UM Grace Case – partnered by the School of Law & School of Journalism – it reads as  “jurors deliberated for just one full day before acquitting W.R. Grace Co. and three of its executives Friday of all criminal charges.”

Not quite two days, just one full day – whatever could have swayed the jury made up of the ‘local citizenry’ to dismiss a case so quickly whose very framework decried the epitome of blatant deliberateness necessary for a ‘cover-up.’  Now there are some point to Judge Donald Molloy.

Andrew Schneider, who reports for the Seattle Times, writes on public health issues.  He has been following W.R. Grace for quite some time, and at his excellent blog, he writes:

The heavy charges of conspiracy and knowing endangerment that carried long prison sentences were taken out of play early as Molloy imposed repeated restrictions and limitations on what evidence and witnesses the prosecution could use.

It’s unfortunate that so much evidence was withheld from the jury by the district court’s evidentiary rulings, including some of the most compelling internal memos written by W.R. Grace officials about the harmful effects of their mining operations,” said David Uhlmann, who led the U.S. Justice Department’s environmental crime section when the Montana U.S. Attorney’s office sought to bring the charges in this trial.

Uhlmann, who is now professor and director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program at the University of Michigan Law School, added: “Many questions now linger about what would have happened if the trial had been conducted in a manner that was fair to everyone involved.”

Uhlmann said, “It’s also hard to know how much the jury was influenced by the district court’s hostility to the government’s case.

Another outstanding public health blog, The Pump Handle, where Liz Borowski has this post up.

It’s widely known that W.R. Grace’s actions contaminated the entire town of Libby, Montana with asbestos, and that hundreds of Libby residents have died or become seriously ill from asbestos-related diseases. There’s plenty of documentation showing that W.R. Grace knew about the dangers their operations posed to residents but concealed that information

So it has been “….widely known …… plenty of documentation” – the least of which was provided by the company’s general manager at the time of the contamination, Earl Lovick, who gaved deposition, wherein he admitted he knew ….. certain things…..

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Democracy Now!  has been following this for a good while with several shows over the past month, and this  most recent following the verdict, actually Tuesday – yesterday (although I’m writing this late Tuesday night).

The worry now seems to be the medical program W.R. Grace has been providing for those diagnosed with asbestosis and asbestos-related disease.  According to Gayla Benefield, W.R.  Grace pays

“a good bulk of our prescriptions and medical bills. And that was something that—that if this is taken away, it’s going to be devastating to the people of Libby and to the people struggling with this disease right now, and to the pharmacies, to the hospital, to everyone.  And we really don’t know what is going to happen next.

My guess – like good capitalists W.R. Grace will bail out on that medical program.  With the help of Judge Malloy, W.R. Grace has received the gift of absolution.

Truly mind-boggling…..truly.

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One Response

  1. Corporations are never responsible for anything. This is the new America conservatives bestowed upon us. We exist at the pleasure of the corporation.

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