$8.1 Million Personal Injury Settlement with Kraft in Chemical Contamination Class Action Suit

July 21, 2011

According to online resources, Kraft Foods Global, Inc. is going to pay an $8.1 million dollar settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by 124 families in Attica, Indiana. This announcement was made public last week after the settlement was approved by a U.S. District Court judge in Indianapolis. The plaintiffs in the case have alleged that pollution from a local Kraft-owned factory contaminated the air and water inside of their homes. As per the terms of the settlement agreement, Kraft is also required to clean up the plant site and groundwater, and to also install mitigation systems in the affected homes.

According to the Chicago personal injury lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, "As part of the settlement, the plaintiffs have the right to bring a separate, personal injury action against Kraft, if somewhere down the line, someone gets seriously sick. Legally, it' important to preserve that right."

The plaintiffs in the suit alleged that dangerous chemicals were spilled on plant property as early as 1957. Families that lived near to the plant claimed that a number of chemicals such as cleaning fluids were dumped into the ground, causing contamination to the groundwater. This ultimately resulted in cancer-causing vapors migrating up from the groundwater and into their homes.

The chemicals released into the Attica groundwater included vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene. After thorough testing, these chemicals were found to be present in homes in the impacted area. Area residents are concerned not only about the effects that the presence of these chemicals will have on their property values, but also on their health. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals has been known to cause cancer. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, exposure to tetrachloroethylene may result in liver and kidney damage, heart beat changes and facial nerve damage.

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