W. R. GRACE AND CO. CIVIL COURT DEPOSITION - DECEMBER 19, 1996, Kalispell, Montana
    On the stand: Earl Lovick, former business manager for the W. R. Grace Zonolite mine in Libby

    [The following court testimony was transcribed verbatim from a video tape of the proceedings (which was included in the feature-length documentary film "Dust to Dust", produced by Michael Brown). The questioner is the attorney for the ill plaintiff. - - web editor]


    [Background - - A 1959 internal Zonolite Company report claimed that one in three employees had lung abnormalities as shown by routine chest X-rays. When W. R. Grace purchased the mine in 1963, it never shared this information with its employees or with the Libby community.]

    Q: When you first saw this [Year 1959] report, were you alarmed?

    Earl Lovick: Well. [pause] That was 40 years ago, almost, and I don't, uh, I don't remember what my reaction might have been.

    Q: Did this appear to be an extraordinary number of abnormal chests?

    Earl Lovick: Well, there again, I don't know what one could expect, but I would say yes, it would appear to be a large number of abnormal chests.

    Q: Did you make any inquiries as to how many abnormal chests one could expect in a normal population?

    Earl Lovick: Not specifically. No sir, I don't know that we did.


    Q: What is your understanding of what "asbestosis" is?

    Earl Lovick: My understanding is that it is a disease of the lungs.

    Q: And to your knowledge, have "X" workers at Zonolite died of asbestosis?

    Earl Lovick: Well, to my knowledge, of "X" workers at Zonolite who have died, one of the causes of death was asbestosis. I don't recall whether any of them that their death that it was stated that that was the primary cause, but it would have been one of the contributing factors.

    Q: Were some of these people friends of yours?

    Earl Lovick: Yes sir.


    [Background - - In 1956, the Montana State Division of Disease Control of the Montana State Board of Health, wrote a report in which they said that the mine produced "asbestos that was of considerable toxicity to the workers." This information was known to W. R. Grace when the company purchased the mine in 1963, but W. R. Grace and Co. never passed the information to the workers or to the Libby community.]

    Q: In 1956, did you, did the company disclose to the employees that asbestos in the dust in the air was toxic?

    Earl Lovick: Not that I recall. No sir.

    Q: Do you agree that as of 1956 in the dry mill, that it was not a healthy environment to work in?

    Earl Lovick: Yes sir, I would agree with that.

    Q: As of 1956, did Zonolite do anything to inform the employees what asbestosis was?

    Earl Lovick: Not that I recall. No sir.


    Q: So as of 1956, the Company knew there was asbestos in the dust, correct?

    Earl Lovick: Yes sir.

    Q: And the Company also knew that asbestosis is from inhaling asbestos dust, correct?

    Earl Lovick: Yes sir.

    Q: And the company also knew that there were workers at Zonolite who were inhaling asbestos dust, correct?

    Earl Lovick: Yes sir.


    Q: Did you feel a moral obligation to the employees, generally?

    Earl Lovick: Yes sir.

    Q: Did you feel you had a moral obligation to notify the workers that asbestos dust is toxic?

    Earl Lovick: [pause] Well. [pause] We certainly felt that, uh, we had a moral obligation to make a safe working environment as is possible.

    Q: Did you feel a moral obligation to notify the workers that there was a serious health hazard at the work place?

    Earl Lovick: Well. [pause] I would say....I would say that, yes, we would have an obligation.