Paul Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik is lead counsel in a new federal lawsuit against Grumman, alleging that the company significantly increased cancer risk in the community surrounding its Bethpage, NY, facility by pumping millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air over a period stretching from 1950 to 1994. As described in an excellent Newsday article, the suit seeks to establish a medical monitoring fund that would ensure current and former residents have access to the medical care they may need as a result of the pollution’s effects.
Napoli has already been representing over 2,000 plaintiffs in parallel litigation against Northrop Grumman stemming from the contamination of soil and groundwater with a toxic plume around its facility that measures four miles long, two miles wide, and 900 feet deep. It’s through that litigation that Napoli and other plaintiffs’ attorneys discovered information leading them to believe that air pollution may have posed an even greater threat to public health.
Unfortunately, air pollution wasn’t documented during the time Grumman was operating its Bethpage facility. Here, like in many other brownfield sites around the US, the lack of public documentation makes it difficult to quantify the volume of contaminants released into the air and to establish a direct causal link between that pollution and adverse health outcomes. However, when handled by an experienced class action team, it is possible for lawsuits to create change—both benefiting victims who suffer the effects of toxic pollution and encouraging companies to be more careful in their environmental stewardship.