Lawsuit filed by cancer patient Sue Kamuda became the first case against Sterigenics to go to trial
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Attorneys for the people suing Sterigenics for allegedly causing them cancer left court Thursday after asking a judge to combine the remaining cases against the medical sterilization company in hopes of getting the clients' lawsuits to trial faster.
"From the beginning, we've been pushing to consolidate these. And what they means, is to try them together and the purpose of that is so we don't have 143 years of trials," said Jennifer Cascio, a plaintiffs' attorney.
With around 800 lawsuits filed, litigation could drag on for decades.
In part, the reason why: plaintiffs' attorneys proposed that the cases be tried in groups of 10 in order to expedite the process for their clients who, in some cases, can't wait years for their day in court.
Lance Northcutt represents approximately 230 plaintiffs, including the son of Susan Kamuda, who a jury awarded record $363 million in damages from the company.
Brian Kamuda's claim heads to court April 10 of next year.
"We believe this will be a game changer in this litigation because juries, first, will be able to see the true face of the consequences of what these defendants have done," Northcutt said.
Sterigenics and two other entities are accused of illegally releasing ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing compound, into the air at its suburban facility.
Defense lawyers did not comment Thursday but while arguing against the motion in court, they said," These are different cancers, different time periods, different defendants, and different cases. It would be incredibly prejudicial for us."
The next lawsuit could go to trial as soon as October 11. This, as the court prepares to decide if to consolidate the other hundreds of lawsuits that have already been filed.