Jury awards $38.5 million in Herculaneum smelter suit
A St. Louis jury has awarded $38.5 million to 16 residents of Herculaneum who alleged negligence by the former owners of a lead smelter in the eastern Missouri town.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the verdict on Thursday was only for compensatory damages. The trial that began three months ago continues Friday with a hearing about punitive damages against Texas-based Fluor Corp., Virginia-based A.T. Massey Coal and Doe Run Investment Holding Co.
The suit focused on the period of 1986 to 1994 and the effects on people who grew up near the smelter. High levels of lead in the blood can lower IQ and cause problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
A lawyer for the companies said they acted responsibly given what was known about lead at the time.
For more on this story:
- Documentary focuses on town's struggle with lead pollution - a Q&A from our own Maria Altman with a young filmmaker from Kirkwood that made a documentary on Herculaneum's experience with the smelter.