Lawsuit Alleges Plant Endangered Health of Workers and Citizens
According to recent federal lawsuits, the Phillips North American Lighting plant, a glass-manufacturing company located in Danville, Ky., endangered the health of workers and citizens who lived near the plant as well. Documents filed say that the company illegally dumped hazardous substances on property outside the boundaries of land owned by the plant, recklessly or negligently causing injury to others.
Lawyers for Gay Bowen, who lived near the plant for more than 25 years, claim that Bowen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995. The same lawyers also represent a company called Modern Holdings LLC, which says that contamination from the plant devalued their property. Another claim, filed on behalf of Elbert Cox Jr., who worked at the plant for 28 years, claims that the colon cancer Cox was diagnosed with in 2008 is related to contamination generated by the plant. The lawyers are seeking class-action status for the claims. Bowen and Modern Holdings filed suit against Phillips, their parent company, Netherlands-based Royal Phillips, and Corning Inc. The Cox suit only names Phillips, but the proposed class action involves anyone who worked at the plant between 1983 and 2011.
About the Factory
Corning Inc. built the factory in 1952, and glass products were created there for many years before the plant was sold to Phillips in 1983. The plant operated under Phillips until 2011, when the company closed it. It has since been sold back to Corning Inc. At one time, the plant employed approximately 400 people, and was a major part of the local economy. Corning recently received a $6.5 million tax incentive from the state to encourage them to open a new glass-making operation that could employ 100 people, but production has not resumed.
Many hazardous substances, including arsenic, mercury, lead and other heavy metals were used at the plant, and the lawsuit claims plant operators were aware that substances could escape from the site. In addition to the dumping of hazardous chemicals, lead dust was permitted to run into Clark's Run watershed, which further spread the contamination. Employees were routinely asked to walk along Clark's Run to collect dead animals, the court documents claim, and that company owners have misrepresented their cleanup efforts. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Phillips minimized the extent to which the chemicals spread from the site and the risks to those who were exposed for long periods. Plant operators also knew that the large clouds of lead dust were hazardous to workers but did not notify employees of those dangers. Employees were encouraged to appear for safety training, yet no safety training occurred, despite the fact that the company required employees to sign documents stating they had received the training, according to the Cox lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that some deaths occurred due to the contamination.
When reckless or negligent actions of a company are suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in illness or death, a negligence claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an illness or death that may have been caused by the negligent or reckless actions of a company.