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US: Boeing Settles Cancer Suit

Associated Press
January 12th, 2006

Boeing Co. has agreed to pay $30 million to settle a lawsuit by residents who alleged that pollutants from a company lab caused them to get cancer.

The settlement, agreed to in September but not immediately disclosed, ends an 8-year dispute with neighbors of Boeing's Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

The plaintiffs said dozens of years of nuclear and rocket engine testing at the 2,668-acre hilltop lab near Simi Valley was responsible for a wide range of cancers, autoimmune disorders and tumors afflicting nearby residents.

Boeing spokesman Inger Hodgson declined to comment Wednesday. The settlement included a confidentiality agreement between Boeing and the 133 plaintiffs in the case.

''All I can say is we are satisfied and our clients are satisfied,'' said Barry Cappello, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit alleged that a partial nuclear meltdown at the lab in 1959 released more radiation than originally estimated. The accident was not widely publicized until 20 years later.

For years, Boeing said the meltdown posed no danger to its workers or the public. But disclosure in 1989 of lingering low-level contamination from past nuclear projects created an uproar, and pushed the company to halt nuclear research there the following year.

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