$320 Million in Punitive Damages Awarded to Victims of Lead Poisoning
On Friday, July 29, 2011, a $320 million verdict was awarded to plaintiffs in a lead poisoning lawsuit against the Herculaneum lead smelter for exposing children to lead pollution. On the previous day, the jury awarded the plaintiffs with $1.25 million to $3 million each in compensatory damages, and on Friday punitive damages were awarded.
The case was decided upon by a St. Louis jury, and the amount of the award surprised everyone. Even attorneys were stunned at the large award, indicating that the jury wanted to send a clear message that a company's profits are not more important than people.
The lead smelter's former owners are accused of exposing 16 children to extremely harmful lead pollution. The lawsuit claims that the current and former owners of the massive lead smelter in Herculaneum, which is about 30 miles south of St. Louis, knew that they were exposing residents to lead pollution.
Although everyone in the area was being exposed to lead, children are at higher risk when exposed to a neurotoxin. The plaintiff's attorneys indicated that the children that were growing up around the smelter suffered the effects of lead poisoning. They lost IQ points and even had multiple health effects as a result of the lead poisoning.
Because the owners knew about this problem and were reluctant to reveal it, the plaintiffs asked for a $208 million award, but the jury came back two hours later with a bigger award. The jury returned this verdict as a result of the plaintiffs' lifetime of lost earnings and health problems.
The Law Offices of Brady Preston Gronlund is pleased to see that a company was held accountable for their wrongdoings and wishes these lead poisoning victims well.