Environmental Protection

Hexavalent Chromium Lawsuit Can Move Forward, Judge Says

A class action lawsuit against Honeywell and PPG is seeking money for medical monitoring of residents who live near a chrome ore processing site in Jersey City, N.J.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan D. Wigenton has ruled that a class action lawsuit (pdf) seeking cancer screening and compensation for Jersey City, N.J., residents who may have been exposed to cancer-causing hexavalent chromium may move forward, according to attorneys involved in the case.

In an opinion released March 2, Wigenton denied a motion by Honeywell International, Inc., to dismiss the complaint, attorneys said in a press release.

The lawsuit was filed May 17, in New Jersey State Court, Hudson County, claiming Honeywell and PPG Industries dumped and failed to clean up hexavalent chromium waste at sites across Jersey City. The defendants removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act.

In a 2008 report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the authors found that some residents living closest to the waste sites had up to a 17 percent higher rate of lung cancer than people residing farther away.

The suit demands that defendants pay for periodic medical screenings for the early detection of cancer in exposed populations and pay damages to landowners whose properties have been devalued. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages for defendants’ knowing and deliberate conduct in disposing and failing to properly remediate hexavalent chromium contamination in Jersey City.

Source: Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC; German Rubenstein, LLP; Williams Cuker & Berezofsky, LLC; and Kanner & Whiteley, LLC.

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