Today a Cook County jury awarded a $363 million judgement to the first plaintiff who went to trial seeking damages from Sterigenics, its parent company, and corporate predecessor, for knowingly emitting lethal levels of ethylene oxide into the air near her home. In the ruling, jurors found that Sterigenics is responsible for the breast cancer developed by plaintiff Susan Kamuda, and the non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma developed by her child. In response to the large verdict, State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) issued the following statement:
“This is just the first of 762 cases that are currently pending against Sterigenics, and the size of this verdict validates the belief that the cancer cluster in the Willowbrook area is a direct result of toxins released into the atmosphere by Sterigenics. What we suspected all along, and what has now been found by a jury, is that Sterigenics was a bad actor that turned a blind eye to the fact that they were slowly poisoning the residents who lived in the vicinity of their facility.
“This is an astounding verdict that puts facilities that deal with potentially harmful chemicals on notice. Environmental protections must be sufficient to protect nearby property owners, and regular testing and responses to testing data must be prioritized. While no amount of money can truly compensate the victims who have suffered greatly, I applaud and thank Ms. Kamuda for the courage she displays in fighting to hold Sterigenics accountable for their reckless conduct.”