Plaintiffs Exposed to Nuclear Waste Provided Roadmap to Success
ST. LOUIS, March 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys representing plaintiffs exposed to radioactive materials stored in North St. Louis County, Missouri, will amend their pleadings consistent with the Order of the District Court.
U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig, sitting in the Eastern District of Missouri, found that prior cases interpreting the Price-Anderson Act (42 U.S.C. § 2210) required plaintiffs to allege exposure to specific doses of radiation in excess of federal limits and that plaintiffs' state law-based claims were redundant as they were pre-empted by the Federal law of Price-Anderson. Based on that finding, the Court ordered plaintiffs in the Coldwater Creek litigations (McClurg v. MI Holdings, Inc. et al., Docket No.: 4:12CV00361 and Adams v. MI Holdings, Inc. et al., Docket No. 4:12CV00641), to amend their complaints, which in their current form claim that radiation levels at the three storage sites (St. Louis Airport, Hazelwood Interim Storage Site, and Coldwater Creek) were in excess of federal dose limits without claiming a specific level of exposure for each individual plaintiff. In allowing the plaintiffs to amend their complaints by May 10, 2013, the District Court found that the plaintiffs must set forth more specific claims about the extent of plaintiffs' exposure levels. In essence the trial judge set forth a road map required for plaintiffs to succeed in the face of the restrictive Price-Anderson Act.
"While we are, of course, happy that the Court did not grant the defendants' motions to dismiss," said plaintiffs' lead counsel Marc Bern, "we are disappointed that our claims on behalf of the residents of the area were deemed insufficient merely for pleading a cause of action under the harsh requirements of the Price-Anderson Act." As Bern further noted, "we are pleased that the Court has directed us to amend our pleadings in such a way that we may ultimately prevail. Although Price-Anderson established criteria that might be difficult to meet, the Court has nevertheless provided us with a path to recovery. Tens of thousands of innocent Americans living in the area over the past 70 years have been unknowingly exposed to some of the worst toxins on earth causing cancers and other very serious illnesses and death in many instances. We expect to prevail for these innocent victims and end this terrible nightmare for so many people."
Tor Hoerman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, added, "Motions to dismiss are common practice in cases like this, and often times counts are stricken or amended. In this instance, Judge Fleissig has essentially limited the claims to the Price-Anderson Act which is federal law that controls nuclear radiation injury claims. This is not a great surprise. The cases have not been dismissed completely; they are limited to the Act. We are, however, concerned with the order asking us to plead a higher standard of proof, but plan to continue to fight on behalf of our clients."
The law firms Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik & Associates, LLP, Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC and TorHoerman Law LLC are dedicated to seeing that justice prevails for the Cold Water Community.
Please direct questions or other inquiries to Marc J. Bern 516-361-4909; Eric Carlson & Chris Byron 618-655-0600; or Tor Hoerman 618-656-4400, plaintiffs' co-lead counsel.
Press Release Contact Information:
Marc Jay Bern
Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik & Assoc., LLP
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SOURCE Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik & Associates, LLP