Nuclear Worker's Lawsuit Rejected

Feb. 11, 2000
A federal judge rejected a proposed deal to provide health coverage to thousands of workers involved in a lawsuit that claims they were exposed to dangerous radiation.

A federal judge has rejected a proposed deal to provide health coverage for thousands of people involved in a lawsuit that claims they were exposed to dangerous radiation.

The Mound plant, about 10 miles south of Dayton, Ohio built triggers for nuclear weapons until the early 1990s. Workers claim they were exposed to radiation but were not told about it for years.

The deal would have provided health insurance coverage for workers and retirees who have cancers from radiation exposure not covered by insurance or Medicare.

U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice ruled that he could not approve the proposed settlement because it favors current Mound employees over former employees and retirees. The ruling was made Monday and became available Wednesday.

In addition, said Rice, the settlement hinges on the Department of Energy (DOE) getting future funding for the deal from Congress.

Rice also said the parties disagree over who should be included in the lawsuit. He said that issue needs to be litigated.

DOE, which owns the plant, announced the proposed settlement in June but admitted no wrongdoing.

In addition to insurance, the department agreed to pay $926,000 to about 800 current plant workers.

The money would have been distributed after the 12 workers who filed the lawsuit received payments of up to $16,500 each.

In all, the settlement could have affected as many as 6,000 workers. It was opposed by about 700, who said that in exchange for the insurance coverage, they would have had to give up their right to sue for many illnesses.

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