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Following Legislative Success, Lead Company Doe Run Settles Liability Cases

The Doe Run Company

Arguably the most consequential veto that was overridden last week pertained to southeast Missouri's the Doe Run Company. And just two days after the override, attorneys suing the lead giant reached a settlement.

On Friday, Doe Run settled lawsuits by several families alleging their children suffered health problems from lead contamination in eastern Missouri's St. Francois County.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs and Doe Run both confirmed Tuesday that they had resolved the cases in advance of an Oct. 8 trial in St. Louis. But they said a confidentiality agreement bars disclosure of the settlement terms.

Plaintiffs' attorney Maurice Graham said the cases included seven children. Graham says there is no trial date for claims involving 16 additional plaintiffs.

The bill (which will become law next month) caps punitive damages in lawsuits at $2.5 million. As we've reported before, the Doe Run Company argued the caps were important so they can keep about 1,500 jobs in Missouri, and continue to contribute about $1 billion to the state economy.

Detractors rebutted that the threat of leaving Missouri was a bluff, and that the company was trying to circumvent the legal system.

Overriding the Governor was a big win for the company, and came about after numerous lawmakers changed their votes over the summer. Doe Run has remained in the spotlight for the past week. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Virginia Young reported shortly after the override vote that one of the lawmakers who switched her vote on Doe Run had her son hired as a lobbyist by the lead company just days before.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

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