- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The state of Montana has agreed to buy about 100 acres from a Lincoln couple who sued over the construction of a repository for mine waste in the upper Blackfoot River drainage, saying it would cost too much to continue the legal battle.

Mike and Barbara Grimes filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the Sieben Ranch Company over the purchase of 132 acres from Sieben and the subsequent decision to construct a mine waste repository on adjacent property to hold tailings from the old Mike Horse Mine.

Defendants of the lawsuit included Sieben, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Stimson Lumber Company and Geographic Investments Group. The Grimeses said Sieben sold the property under false pretenses and that the construction devalued their property.

A confidential settlement was reached in February with Sieben. Claims against Stimson were dismissed early in the case, and Geographic Investments Group disbanded, the Independent Record reported (https://tinyurl.com/nphysnp ).

The settlement with the Department of Environmental Quality was the final piece of the Grimeses’ lawsuit.

The department said the lawsuit against the state had no merit, but it would cost too much to defend it. Department attorney Cindy Brooks said the state spent $250,000 on outside council in addition to significant staff time.

Mike Grimes said he is satisfied with the settlement. “The bottom line is we no longer own an amenity adjacent to and down grade from a mine waste repository,” he said.

He said he earned enough from the sale of the property to cover attorney costs.

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Information from: Independent Record, https://www.helenair.com

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