TMI cases reinstated

30 November 1999

A US court has reinstated lawsuits by nearly 2000 people who claim to have been harmed by the Three Mile Island accident. A district court had dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims following ten test cases, on the grounds that the expert witnesses were scientifically unreliable.

Defendants in the case are GPU Inc, Pennsylvania Electric Co, Babcock & Wilcox, McDermott Inc, Raytheon Constructors Inc and Burns and Roe Enterprises.

The ten test cases were dismissed after a Pennsylvania District court questioned testimony which aimed to prove that the plaintiffs were exposed to at least 10 rem of radiation following the accident and that the radioactivity correlated with the illnesses of the 2000 plaintiffs.

The appeals court agreed.

“Although the district court was convinced that the majority of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses were well-qualified, the court nonetheless found many of their opinions to be based on methodologies that were scientifically unreliable and upon data that a reasonable expert in the field would not rely upon,” said the three appeals court judges.

But the appeal court did not agree that all 2000 cases could be dismissed on the basis of the evidence presented in ten.

The decision means lawyers can build a case on the belief that any exposure increases risk.



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