Latest news on US sailors’ class-action suit against Tepco — Nuclear Hotseat, Stars & Stripes, Bloomberg, DTRA webisode

In the US sailors’ class-action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric, — Lindsay R. Cooper v Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc., 12-cv-3032. U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, — California Judge Janis Sammartino ruled that the lawsuit can proceed and include not only Tokyo Electric Power Company, but also the builders of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi.

Nuclear Hotseat posted the plaintiff attorneys’ press release:

” U.S. SAILORS WIN KEY COURT DECISION TO GO FORWARD WITH CLASS ACTION AGAINST JAPAN’S NUCLEAR POWER COMPANY

U.S. Navy Sailors have won a crucial battle in the United States District Court in San Diego against Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as TEPCO. A Federal judge has ruled that the sailors’ class action law suit may go forward against TEPCO and additional Defendants General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi, the builders of the Fukushima nuclear reactors. The 200 young sailors claim that TEPCO deliberately lied to the public and the U.S. Navy about the radiation levels at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant at the time the Japanese Government was asking for help for victims of the March 11, 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. Up to 70,000 U.S. citizens were potentially affected by the radiation and will be able to join the class action suit.

The lawsuit is based on the sailors’ participation in Operation Tomodachi (meaning “Friends”), providing humanitarian relief after the March 11, 2011 devastation caused by the Earthquake and Tsunami. The lawsuit includes claims for illnesses such as Leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals, brain cancer, brain tumors, testicular cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, thyroid illnesses, stomach ailments and a host of other complaints unusual in such young adults. The injured servicemen and women will require treatment for their deteriorating health, medical monitoring, payment of their medical bills, appropriate health monitoring for their children, andmonitoring for possible radiation-induced genetic mutations.

One Sailor, age 22, has been diagnosed with Leukemia and is losing his eyesight. In his declaration to the court he states, “Upon my return from Operation Tomodachi, I began losing my eyesight.I lost all vision in my left eye and most vision in my right eye. I am unable to read street signs and am no longer able to drive. Prior to Operation Tomodachi, I had 20/20 eyesight, wore no glasses and had no corrective eye surgery. Additionally, I know of no family members who have had leukemia.” Paul Garner and Charles Bonner, attorneys for the sailors, say that additional plaintiffs are continuing to come forward with serious ailments from radiation.

The sailors would like the general public to contact their members of Congress, locally elected officials, and President Obama and implore them to tell the Government of Japan to (1) apply the principles of “Operation Tomodachi” to the Plaintiff-victims and help these U.S. Sailors; and (2) tell TEPCO to stop shirking responsibility for their publically acknowledged wrongdoings.
fukushimaradiationvictims.net Email: daryljbrooks@roadrunner.com ”

* * *

Here is a map showing the position of the USS Ronald Reagan in Operation Tomodachi on March 13 in chronological relation to the stream of radiation flowing out of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

Reagan_Position_Mar13

 

Next, read a Stars and Stripes article titled, “Judge: Sailors’ class-action suit can proceed over alleged radiation exposure,” published on Oct. 30, 2014.

” A U.S. federal judge has ruled that a class-action lawsuit filed by about 200 Navy sailors and Marines can proceed against Japanese utility TEPCO and other defendants who they blame for a variety of ailments from radiation exposure following a nuclear reactor meltdown 3½ years ago.

In a decision released Tuesday, Southern District of California Judge Janis Sammartino ruled that the suit can be amended to add the builders of the Fukushima-Daichi Nuclear Power Plant reactors — General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi — as defendants.

Sammartino also denied a change of venue to Japan and dismissed several minor aspects of the suit. The plaintiffs’ lawyers have until Nov. 18 to make changes to their filings.

“It is not over, but we have won the major battle,” lawyer Charles Bonner wrote in an email to his clients that was provided to Stars and Stripes.

“THANK GOD!!!!!” responded Lindsay Cooper, the first USS Ronald Reagan sailor to come forward and report an illness.

Sammartino’s ruling was a bit of a surprise. The Defense Department, including Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson, have concluded that the illnesses are not a result of the servicemembers’ work in Operation Tomodachi, in which a massive earthquake on March 11, 2011, spawned a tsunami that swamped the nuclear plant.

The suit was first filed in 2012 by a small group of sailors off the USS Ronald Reagan, who alleged that TEPCO’s misinformation coaxed U.S. forces closer to the affected areas and made them sick. More ailing servicemembers came forward citing exposure-related ailments such as unexplained cancers, excessive bleeding and thyroid issues.

The suit has been refiled a number of times, adding plaintiffs and, more recently, additional defendants.

TEPCO tried to have the case dismissed. Oral arguments were presented Aug. 25.

Bonner and fellow attorney for the sailors, Paul Garner, said additional plaintiffs are continuing to come forward with “serious ailments from radiation,” according to a statement released by the legal team. ”

* * *

In addition to the above article, here is further clarification from Bloomberg in “Sailors can sue Tepco in U.S. over radiation, judge says.” Read the entire article HERE.

” … The sailors and their families claimed the company known as Tepco, Japan’s biggest power utility, was negligent in the design and operation of the Fukushima plant, according to their amended complaint filed in February. They’re seeking to create a fund exceeding $1 billion to monitor their health and pay for medical expenses, on top of unspecified damages.

Tepco had argued the U.S. military had contributed to the plaintiffs’ harm, limiting the utility’s liability.

Tepco spokesman Satoshi Togawa declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In Japan, an inquest committee has recommended that local prosecutors indict former Tepco chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and two executives over negligence claims leading to the disaster. Prosecutors in Tokyo said this month they would decide on charges by Feb. 2. … ”

* * *

Finally, here is a self-promotional video from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency for its recommendations to the US Navy at the time of the Fukushima meltdowns.

source

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3 thoughts on “Latest news on US sailors’ class-action suit against Tepco — Nuclear Hotseat, Stars & Stripes, Bloomberg, DTRA webisode

  1. “Tepco had argued the U.S. military had contributed to the plaintiffs’ harm, limiting the utility’s liability.”

    Now, there’s an interesting defense. Specifically, how did the U.S. military “contribute” to the plaintiffs’ harm — by believing Tepco’s lies and misinformation about how much radiation was in the air, or by responding in good faith to an international humanitarian crisis that Tepco just happened to make lethal for the first responders?

    Sounds a lot like the Bush administration’s attempts to evade responsibility for the Iraq war: “Well, you people in Congress voted to approve it, based on the same intelligence we had.” True enough, except that, unlike Congress, the Bush administration knew that the “intelligence” was cooked.

  2. Reblogged this on Vernon Radiation Safety and commented:
    In a surprising move the courts have determined that the sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan have a case against TEPCO
    : the illnesses they received while working in the plume of the radiological disaster at Fukushima caused significant medical illnesses

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