EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDIOXIN CONCERNS
from Eyewitness News Online
Jury Selection Underway In Class Action Suit Against Monsanto
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: John Tincher, Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Jan. 4, 2012 7:18 PM EST
Winfield , Putnam County , West Virginia
Concerns about keeping dioxin out of the Kanawha River prompted Solutia, the company responsible for chemical waste at the former Monsanto plant in Nitro, to dig 65 feet down and build a slurry wall.
Similar worries about dioxin prompted a class-action lawsuit, which claims Monsanto improperly disposed of the chemical by burning it, creating a toxic soot that covered the town.
Plaintiffs want Monsanto to pay for medical monitoring for up to 80-thousand people. That many potential plaintiffs makes if tougher to seat a jury.
Putnam County Circuit Court Clerk Ronnie Matthews says the court wants to find six jurors and six alternates before hearing testimony.
The plaintiffs include anyone who lived, worked, went to school or owned property in Nitro from 1949 through the present.
Brian Armstrong is a life-long city resident, he says Monsanto should pay to make sure dioxin isn't causing problems. The chemical has been linked to cancer...and reproductive and developmental problems.
Nitro's Monsanto plant was in operation for 50 years...dioxin was a toxic chemical by-product of Agent Orange.
Lawyers say once a jury is seated the trial could last about three months.
Editor's Note: In the interest of full disclosure, Eyewitness News Reporter Kennie Bass is a member of the plaintiff's class. He is a graduate of Nitro High School. However, he has had no active participation in the lawsuit and does not plan to participate.
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