A class-action lawsuit filed last week in Ohio alleges a link between a northwest Ohio cancer cluster and toxins found at a former Whirlpool Corp. park. The suit against Whirlpool blames area cancer cases on polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at the old park. It seeks punitive damages of $750 million for 10 named plaintiffs in the Green Springs and Clyde area, as well as other class members, including everyone who died from exposure to PCBs or other toxins in a cancer cluster region defined in the suit as including parts of Sandusky, Ottawa, and Erie counties. It also seeks compensatory damages of more than $25,000 for each plaintiff and other class members.
“Now is the time to initiate a lawsuit. Now is the time to begin to answer these serious and important questions,” said a representative for the plaintiffs at a news conference. The suit states Whirlpool “knew or should have known that dumping” or allowing toxic materials at the park “would injure its neighbors.” Grist Mill Creek LLC of Fremont, listed as a defendant, purchased the park property in 2008.
Whirlpool spokesman Kristine Vernier said in a written statement the company is reviewing the lawsuit and is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to address issues at its former park. “As a member of the community for over 60 years, with more than 3,000 employees in the area, we are also very interested in figuring out the facts behind this ongoing issue,” the statement said.
The class-action suit seeks to include those who have been harmed by exposure to PCBs or other toxins, those who visited the former park between 1953 and 2008, and those who own nearby property. The suit also asks for the creation of medical monitoring and cleanup funds.