A judge has approved a settlement in a suit involving South African gold mine workers, ending years of negotiations and litigation for Mount Pleasant law firm Motley Rice, the firm has reported in a press release.

Motley Rice was retained in 2011 to consult on the litigation by South African human rights lawyer Richard Spoor.

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg granted final approval of the suit on July 26, more than a year after the settlement was reached in May 2018. The suit was filed on behalf of thousands of South African gold mine workers and their families who developed tuberculosis and other chronic illnesses after being exposed to toxic silica dust while working in the mines.

The agreement creates a trust to compensate all eligible workers who worked in the defendant companies’ mines dating back to 1965. The companies agreed to compensate all eligible claimants. It is the first class action of its kind in South Africa.

“This litigation has always been about providing a means to justice and meaningful compensation for the thousands of sub-Saharan African gold miner workers and their dependents,” said Motley Rice attorney Michael Elsner, a consultant in the litigation and one of the lead settlement negotiators.

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