Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Glass-maker charged with decades of dangerous pollution

A factory can be the lifeblood of a small town. A single business that employs hundreds of local residents is the force behind the economic health of an entire community. A company is also accountable for the way it conducts business, including the safety of people on-site and the local environment.

Pennsylvania companies that use poisonous chemicals in product manufacturing must follow strict rules about storage, handling and disposal. Employees must be trained to work safely in dangerous conditions and understand the risks associated with employment.

A pair of lawsuits alleges the owners and operators of a now-closed plant poisoned its workers and a small southern city. The Danville, Kentucky, plant was established by Corning Inc. in the early 1950s. The plant was sold decades later to Phillips North American Lighting, which operated the glass-making company until 2011 and sold the business back to Corning this year.

The complaints allege the former and current owners used Danville as a toxic waste dumping ground, sickened workers and residents, and polluted property. The plaintiff in one case worked at the plant 28 years; the other plaintiffs are a woman who lived near the plant over two decades and a company that said the glass-maker's dumping lowered its property value.

Federal court papers said Phillips was negligent and reckless for knowingly dumping hazardous waste beyond its property line. Contamination reportedly endangered the health of people within five miles of the glass plant. Individuals in the cases claimed chemical exposure contributed to diagnoses of colon cancer and multiple sclerosis.

The plaintiffs' attorneys requested class action lawsuits, one for former employees and another for Danville residents and property owners. They believe thousands of plaintiffs could be added to the hazardous conditions' complaints. Both claims request damages and community medical monitoring.

Residential and commercial property owners in Pennsylvania are liable for unaddressed hazardous conditions that cause injuries or deaths.

Source:, "Lawsuit: Danville plant for decades endangered health of workers, neighbors" Bill Estep, Nov. 28, 2013

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