Judge Tries To End WR Grace Stalemate

WR Grace's long-running bankruptcy case is about to get interesting.

A bankruptcy judge on Thursday cut off the Columbia company's exclusive control of the bankruptcy case, opening up the possibility of competing Chapter 11 proposals for the specialty chemical conglomerate.

In a three-page order, Judge Judith Fitzgerald of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., granted a motion by lawyers for asbestos claimants, who have been unable to reach an agreement with company.

Big asbestos liabilities pushed W.R. Grace into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001, according to a report that moved on the Dow Jones/AP news wires.

"Termination of exclusivity will facilitate moving the case toward conclusion by changing the dynamics for negotiation while permitting (Grace) to continue to operate their business, resolve claims and participate in negotiations," the judge wrote.

Earlier this week, WR Grace reported (pdf) that it spent $23.6 million in the second quarter on legal expenses stemming from the case, up from $11.5 million in 2006. It warned that its liabilities and contingencies could grow depending on the outcome of the case. The company turned a $20.5 million profit in the second quarter( 29 cents a share), after losing $5.2 million (8 cents) during the same period in 2006.

By Dan Beyers  |  July 27, 2007; 6:03 AM ET  | Category:  WR Grace
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I am still dying while waiting for justice to be done to those who knowingly killed three generations of my family in Libby Montana.Plese....

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