CHICAGO (TBEN) — A major verdict has been handed down against a suburban company that the TBEN 2 researchers uncovered years ago.
On Monday, a Cook County jury ordered Sterigencis to pay a woman $363 million for exposing her to cancer-causing chemicals.
Susan Kamuda sued Sterigenics, alleging that the company knowingly emitted the poisonous gas ethylene oxide from its Willowbrook plant and did nothing to protect the public.
Kamuda developed breast cancer. Her son was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. Kamuda shared what she felt when she heard the verdict.
“The best three words I’ve ever heard, honestly,” Kamuda said. “Just such a relief. What came next didn’t really matter.”
Sterigencis claimed there is no evidence that Kamuda’s cancer is related to their emissions. The company plans to appeal the ruling.
TBEN 2 researcher Dave Savini spent years digging into the company, uncovering documents and speaking to whistleblowers about the impact this initial trial and verdict will have on other cancer cases yet to go to trial.
This mega-judgment is good for the following things, because the company turned out to have behaved deliberately and willfully. More than 700 litigants are still queuing up, waiting for their day in court.
There are people and families with illnesses or deaths such as:‘s. Haller died of stomach cancer. There is also Heather Schumacher who battled Hodkins lymphoma. Those matters have yet to be dealt with.
Sue Kamuda was the first of all prosecutors to appear in court on Monday. She is a breast cancer survivor who has lived near the factory for three decades. A jury not only believed her cancer was related to the ethylene oxide gas emitted by the plant, but also decided that the company should be punished for all of its toxic emissions.
Most of this massive $363 million verdict was for punitive damages. A form of punishment against the company for his role here.
TBEN Researchers broke stories about howbecame whistleblowers, saying how the company was spitting more of this chemical into the air than ever reported to the EPA.
Sterigenics has issued a statement saying they will appeal the verdict. After the Kamuda verdict, the long and arduous process of the legal appeal process begins. But in the meantime, more cases will come to court in the coming months, such as the case of Heather Schumacher. You can expect the same kind of trial, and much of the same evidence against Sterigenics will be laid out. Only the facts about the victims and their specific cancers will change.
Each time, a jury will have to decide guilt and punitive damages and if this trend of high verdicts continues, it could be possible to create one giant super fund to handle all of these cases.
On Monday, a jury in the case of Sterigenics and its role in a Willowbrook woman’s cancerand award her $363 million.
Kamuda testified under oath last week that she would have moved from Willowbrook had she known about the dangerous ethylene oxide released at the Sterigenics plant. She fought back tears as she sat in the stands, talking about being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer more than two decades after moving into her home in Willowbrook.
She also described her shock after being told that the plant near her home had been emitting a known poison all along. Kamuda told the Daley Center courtroom jury that moving into her dream home with her husband and three children in Willowbrook in 1985 was “probably the happiest day” of her life.
But that same year, little did she know that Sterigenics was also moving in, just a third of a mile from her home.
The Willowbrook plant used EO from 1985 until it was shut down in 2019 by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.