Independence, MO (May 4, 2017)- Attorneys for the law firm of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain on Thursday filed a lawsuit on behalf of 27 members of the Boenker family whose 33-acre farm has been exposed to radioactive waste from the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills in Bridgeton, MO.
The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court, states that the landfills’ owners were negligent and reckless in allowing radioactive waste to spread to the Boenker family farm causing personal injury, property damage and the need for medical monitoring.
The lawsuit adds that the landfills’ owners have mismanaged the sites so badly that an underground fire now burns out of control and threatens the nuclear waste.
“Keeping ultra-hazardous waste near people’s property and not taking responsibility for it is a big problem,” said Kenneth B. McClain, senior partner of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain. “These landfills are the poster child of that problem. You can’t have people living in proximity of nuclear waste and not be responsible for it.”
The plaintiffs include nine children of Edward Boenker, a well-known community leader who died in 2009, and his wife Helen. Their spouses and several nieces and nephews also are plaintiffs. All have ownership stake in the Boenker family farm, which has been in operation since the 1800s. The site is adjacent to the landfills.
The defendants include the landfills’ owner, Bridgeton Landfill LLC; Allied Services, LLC, which oversees the operation and management of the two landfills; Republic Systems, Inc., which is and has been responsible for the landfills’ operations; Rock Road Industries, Inc.; Westlake Landfill, Inc.; and two individuals who worked at the Bridgeton Landfill.
According to the lawsuit, the West Lake Landfill in 1973 accepted 40,000 tons of radiological waste from Cotter Corporation, a known possessor of radioactive material. That waste included 8,700 tons of leached barium sulfate residues. It did this without seeking a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Committee.
Without informing the public, the West Lake Landfill dumped the radioactive waste directly into the ground. Members of the Boenker family, while living at or visiting the family farm, were exposed to Uranium 238, Thorium 232 and Uranium 235.
Several of the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer, including Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, skin cancer and lymphoma. Several family members, including Helen Boenker, have died from cancer. And some of the plaintiffs have children who have been stricken with cancer associated with or caused by radiation, as well as bleeding and reproductive problems.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by Kenneth B. McClain and Jonathan M. Soper, of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, a personal injury law firm in Independence, MO that has recovered more than $1 billion in damages on behalf of clients who have suffered injury or financial loss because of other people’s negligence.