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CASE UPDATE: Please Call or Email for Update
February 2019 - For an update on the Coldwater Creek litigation, please contact our office or email us at STLradiation@thlawyer.com
“What we are seeing now is an environmental health disaster, slowly unfolding, as a result of poor management many decades ago.”
-Faisal Khan, St. Louis County Public Health Department, September 2015
It certainly looked innocent enough, a creek running through a Missouri town located near soccer fields, golf course, and schools. It was beloved by the neighbors and the children that enjoyed their summer swims. But, the secrets that Coldwater Creek MO held for many years have come to light and the injuries that arose from it are staggering.
The legacy of nuclear waste in the St. Louis area began when Mallinckrodt Chemical Works (which is now Covidien Pharmaceuticals) was invited to prepare refined uranium for secret work on a war project. Mallinckrodt became the sole supplier for the Manhattan project experiments and then continued to be a leader in the field of uranium ore refining during and after World War II.
When Mallinckrodt’s downtown site ran out of space to store its radioactive waste, it was transported to a site at Lambert International Airport to be stored in bulk on the open ground. Thereafter, the radioactive waste was transported from the Airport site to another site on Latty Avenue in Hazelwood, MO. Sadly, we now understand that the storage, handling, and transportation spread the radioactive waste along the haul routes, contaminating the nearby properties including Coldwater Creek MO.
Residents of communities bordering along Coldwater Creek MO thought nothing of their proximity to the uranium dumpsite and had assumed they had only historical connections to uranium. But some perceptive graduates of McCluer North High School dug a little deeper into the unfortunate number of strange health problems that seemed to plague their hometown. With the help of Facebook and other social media tools, these perceptive residents believed there may be a pattern to the “cancer cluster” surrounding Coldwater Creek MO – this was just the beginning of an impressively organized community effort to learn the truth behind their Coldwater Creek MO.
Residents of the communities bordering along Coldwater Creek MO, including Florissant, Hazelwood, Black Jack, Spanish Lake, St. Ann, Berkeley, and Ferguson continue their advocacy on behalf of those injured in their neighborhoods and have since filed lawsuits on behalf of those injured.
There are a lot of resources available to you thanks to the hard work of community activists. Below are just a few of those resources:
If you have any questions about a toxic exposure lawsuit, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
In 2017, HBO released a documentary covering the events and the current battle between North St. Louis residents and the named defendants. Atomic Homefront quickly gained popularity and brought national recognition to this case.
August 2018 - We are currently reviewing the expert reports that have been submitted by Mallinckrodt. Once we have reviewed those expert reports we will begin the process of deposing the Defendants’ experts, to the extent necessary.
April 2018 - Litigation regarding radiation exposure in North County St. Louis continues to progress towards trial. Currently, Plaintiffs are waiting to receive expert reports from the Defendants which will be followed by depositions. Subsequent to this phase, Plaintiffs are required to submit expert reports regarding specific causation on certain bellwether Plaintiffs. While there is a lot of work and steps to accomplish in between, Plaintiffs are hopeful that the first cases will be in front of a jury in 2019.
April 1, 2015 - In a significant development in the Coldwater Creek North St. Louis Radiation Exposure Litigation on February 27, 2015, District Court Judge Audrey G. Fleissig of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, struck down defense motions to dismiss cases filed by plaintiffs seeking damages for injuries resulting from exposure to hazardous, toxic, and radioactive substances handled by defendants Mallinckrodt, Inc. and Cotter Corporation. In addition to striking the order to dismiss, Judge Fleissig issued an order that will allow all plaintiffs in the Coldwater Creek litigation to move forward with their cases against Mallinckrodt based on a strict liability standard.
Strict liability can be imposed in situations in which a company engaged in an abnormally dangerous activity, such as disposing of radioactive material. A strict liability standard requires that plaintiffs prove their injuries were caused by the toxic contamination of North St. Louis County. After causation is proved, there is no need to go further, strict liability will hold Mallinckrodt liable without the need to prove exactly how Mallinckrodt was negligent.
A strict liability standard is not available in the claims against Cotter Corporation because federal dose limits were in place at the time Cotter handled the toxic materials. Instead, those plaintiffs in the Coldwater Creek litigation who are able to demonstrate Cotter violated federal regulations pertaining to exposure levels will also be able to move forward in their lawsuits against Cotter Corporation.
According to Tor Hoerman, attorney for the Coldwater Creek Plaintiffs:
"We have been waiting for this ruling for eight months and we could not be more excited about the outcome. Judge Fleissig's ruling allows the Coldwater Creek plaintiffs to move forward with their lawsuits. Residents of North St. Louis County are actively searching for answers to why toxic related diseases in the area occur at such high rates and we are thrilled that this litigation may be a small step towards resolution. We have a long road ahead of us, but we look forward to holding those parties responsible for the toxic contamination of the air, soil, surface water and groundwater in North St. Louis County accountable."
Plaintiffs also allege that Defendant's transportation and migration of the radioactive waste to and from SLDS, SLAP and HISS spread radioactive substances along haul routes to nearby Vicinity Properties (“VPs”), including properties along Coldwater Creek. Plaintiffs allege that the radioactive materials and their by-products are highly toxic and carcinogenic to humans. Further, because of the long half-life of the radioactive substances involved, Plaintiff's allege that persons living, working, or recreating near SLAPS, HISS, and the VPs continued to be exposed to dangerous substances for decades after the alleged misconduct and will continue to be exposed to such substances in the future.
Ken Brennan, attorney for the Coldwater Creek Plaintiffs, further stated:
"These are our neighbors and too many of them are horribly sick. We haven't won the case, but we just moved past a giant hurdle the defendants placed in our way. We believe our neighbors were poisoned through the irresponsible acts of Mallinckrodt and Cotter and this ruling gives us the opportunity to prove it. We look forward to pushing ahead."
Feb 15, 2013 - TorHoerman Law, along with Napoli, Bern, Ripka, Shkolnik, LLP, and Bryon, Carlson, Petri & Kalb ("Coldwater Creek Litigation Team") are pooling resources in order to continue to advance the complex litigation. TorHoerman Law was appointed "lead counsel" by Federal Judge Audrey G. Fleissig in the United States District Court – Eastern District of Missouri.
As "Lead Counsel" in the Coldwater Creek litigation, TorHoerman Law acts on behalf of all those residents that seek to hold those companies responsible for mishandling the storage, handling, and transportation of radioactive waste from the Manhattan project.
Aug 21, 2012 - The Coldwater Creek cases continue to move forward procedurally in front of U.S. District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig in the Eastern District of Missouri. On August 20, 2012, all attorneys met with Judge Fleissig in a case scheduling conference that set the stage for some rather intensive legal work that will be done in the next couple of months.
A case management conference is part of a normal court procedure. It is a meeting between the judge and the lawyers representing the plaintiffs and defendants. The goals of these conferences are to settle procedural issues in dispute before going to trial and set important dates and deadlines for the completion of the case. These early conferences improve the quality of the trial and expedite the lawsuit.
Complex litigation takes a significant amount of time in order to make sure that all sides of the litigation get a chance to be heard and have all issues resolved in a just manner. We will continue to make our best efforts to keep clients apprised of the litigation as it moves forward, but please understand that a lot of this work is procedural in nature.
1969 to 1973 – Cotter purchased the waste materials, stored and processed the waste, and transported a portion of the waste to West Lake Landfill in north St. Louis County, MO. The majority of the waste was transported by railway to Canon City, Colorado. Plaintiffs' allege that Cotter's acts and omissions during this time caused the release of hazardous, toxic and radioactive substances into the environment in north St. Louis County, MO, thereby contaminating the air, soil, surface water, and the groundwater in the area.
1960's – The hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste materials were removed from SLAPS in various stages and transported to a site on Latty Avenue in Berkely, MO (later known as the Hazelwood Interim Storage Site "HISS") for storage.
1946 – 1957 – Mallinckrodt transported radioactive waste materials (also known as "Airport Cake Residuals") from SLDS to a 21.7-acre tract of land, designated as the St. Louis Airport Site ("SLAPS"), in north St. Louis County. Mallinckrodt also disposed of and stored the radioactive waste materials at SLAPS during this time. Plaintiffs' allege that Mallinckrodt's acts and omissions during this time caused the release of hazardous, toxic, and radioactive substances into the environment in north St. Louis County, MO, thereby contaminating the air, soil, surface water, and groundwater along the haul routes and in the area surrounding SLAPS.
1942 – 1957 – Under contract with the federal government in connection with the Manhattan Project, Mallinckrodt refined and processed more than 50,000 tons of uranium at a facility in downtown St. Louis, MO, known as the St. Louis Downtown Site ("SLDS").
Last Modified: January 29th, 2020 @ 02:42 pm
Hazardous radioactive runoff coming from Coldwater Creek MO is believed to have caused a mass of people in the communities surrounding the creek to develop rare forms of cancers.
At this time, TorHoerman Law is no longer accepting Coldwater Creek lawsuit cases.
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