In September 1984, Maryland filed a $500 million law suit against 48 mine operators, manufacturers, sellers and distributors of asbestos containing building materials installed in hundreds of state-owned buildings. The state asserted the materials were a health hazard and sought damages for removal and replacement. After nearly four years of discovery and motions, the parties agreed to use special masters to resolve thousands of individual factual disputes. The parties reserved for jury trial, however, the issues of ultimate liability and punitive damages, unless both sides sought to settle such issues privately. Hearings before four special masters began in February 1989 and concluded a year later (the process would have taken three years of judge time). Based on the masters' findings, the state and a majority of defendants settled their dispute over liability and damages in mid-1990. The remaining defendants brought the issues of liability and damage~ to a jury. The masters' findings formed the basis of factual stipulations which were read to the jury, obviating the need to hear evidence on or decide these matters. The jury trial began last December and concluded Feb. 1, 1991. The verdict was in favor of the remaining defendants on the liability and punitive damage issues. The jury apparently concluded that the asbestos in state buildings was not dangerous or, if it was, that it was not the responsibility of the defendants.