From the blog

CARD Clinic in Libby Files for Bankruptcy

Published: September 8, 2023

The Center for Asbestos Related Disease in Libby, Montana recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The center, known as CARD, had to pay $6 million because it submitted 337 false asbestos claims. The lawsuit revealing this information was filed by the BNSF Railway under the Federal False Claims Act. Private companies can sue on the federal government’s behalf due to the act. The lawsuit alleges that the clinic failed to get outside confirmation of patients’ claims that they had asbestos-related illnesses. The railway, which is owned by Warren Buffet, is also facing asbestos-related lawsuits. The Montana Supreme Court found that the railway was liable for shipping vermiculite contaminated with asbestos through Libby. Libby, Montana is a town contaminated with asbestos. It was contaminated by a vermiculite mine that also contained asbestos. It had to be put on the EPA’s superfund list more than 20 years ago. Cleanup is still ongoing, but it is almost complete.

CARD is a nonprofit clinic that was opened in 2000. It gives screenings and provides health resources to people dealing with asbestos exposure. It claims that it has done nothing wrong, despite the false claims judgment. The clinic claims that it filed for bankruptcy so it could keep offering services, keep its doors open, and keep paying its employees. There are no plans to change operations. CARD claims the only reason it even filed for bankruptcy protection is that there was a False Claims Act lawsuit ruling against the clinic. There is no long-term debt, and it continues to pay its bills every month. It also claims that there is federal financial audit conducted by outside accountants to ensure compliance and that it follows all relevant laws. CARD is going to continue to operate and pay its bills.

Libby was one of the worst manmade disasters in the country. There were an estimated 694 deaths and thousands sick due to asbestos exposure in the town of Libby. The source of the contamination was vermiculite that was laced with asbestos. The mine was closed in 1990 and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2001. A $3 billion trust fund was created to help residents of the area affected by asbestos exposure. There were also many lawsuits claiming that the residents were not warned of the dangers of asbestos contamination in the area. Lawsuits have been filed by both residents and mine workers who were exposed to asbestos. There have been multiple settlements totaling $68 million.

“Clinic in Superfund town submitted 337 false asbestos claims costing government more than $1 million, jury says” CBS News (June 29, 2023). [Link]
Matthew Brown, “Montana clinic files for bankruptcy following $6 million judgment over false asbestos claims” Associated Press (August 9, 2023). [Link]
Scott Shindledecker, “CARD Clinic files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy” The Western News (August 9, 2023). [Link]
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