St. Louis Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Case over alleged radioactive contamination from West Lake Landfill sent back to state court


By Takesha Thomas | May 16, 2019


ST. LOUIS – A federal court in St. Louis has remanded a class action suit involving alleged radioactive contamination from the West Lake Landfill back to a circuit court.

On May 8, District Judge Catherine D. Perry granted the plaintiffs' request to remand their suit against Bridgeton Landfill LLC, et al., back to the St. Louis County Circuit Court. 

Plaintiffs John C. Kitchin Jr., North West Auto Body Co. and Mary Menke are seeking damages from alleged radioactive contamination on their properties they allege was caused by the West Lake Landfill. According to the order, the plaintiffs allege the landfill caused damage to their property by "soil, dust, and air contamination from improper generation, handling, storage, and disposal of radioactive materials" by the landfill's owners and operators.

Citing the Price-Anderson Act, the defendants argued that under the Class Action Fairness Act, federal courts should preside over "certain class actions in diversity jurisdiction where the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds $5 million" and in cases involving more than 100 plaintiffs, the ruling states.

Perry ruled that the plaintiffs' motion to leave to amend their complaint and remand was moot since the matter was remanded to state court. She also found that the landfill owners and operators' motion to strike the plaintiffs' expert witness testimony was moot because the matter had been remanded.

The ruling states Bridgeton Landfill accepted more than 46,000 tons of radioactive waste mixed with contaminated soil to use as a cover for the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton in 1973. The suit states the radioactive waste was from uranium processing as part of the Manhattan Project.

The landfill is not a licensed nuclear facility and is now a Superfund site under the regulation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It stopped accepting waste in 2004.

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