Central Florida Homeowners Sue over Toxic Radiation from Phosphate Mines

Lanier Law Firm says homebuyers kept in dark about cancer-causing contamination


TAMPA, Fla. – The Lanier Law Firm has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of homeowners in Central Florida, charging that operators of phosphate mines failed to warn them about dangerously high levels of radiation.


Newly obtained information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirms that the Lakeland-area subdivisions of Oakbridge and Grasslands have been exposed to toxic contamination from phosphate strip mines operated by Drummond Company.

The Lanier Law Firm is working with law firms Girardi Keese, Nidel & Nace, PLLC, German Rubenstein LLP, and Lilly O’Toole & Brown LLP. The lawsuit is Jerue v Drummond Company, Inc., Case 8:17-cv-00587-EAK-AEP, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Phosphate mining contamination includes cancer-causing gamma rays, which can penetrate the body and increase the risk of certain cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and bone cancer. Decaying uranium from phosphate mines also releases radon, an odorless, radioactive gas that is linked to lung cancer. Testing has revealed radon levels significantly higher than surrounding land.

After ceasing operations at its Poseidon Mine in 1982, the Drummond Company developed 1,400 acres of mine-scarred land into subdivisions, including Oakbridge and Grasslands. According to EPA reports, Drummond officials knew of the toxic conditions on these properties, but never warned homebuyers about the health threats.

“I am shocked to think that if these companies knew about the radiation and the danger it posed, and yet they chose to allow neighborhoods to be developed on top of and surrounding these toxic sites,” said Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier. “We are stepping in to do what the government has failed to do – fully disclose the extent of contamination and make sure those responsible clean up the mess they’ve created.”

EPA tests before development of the Oakbridge subdivision showed radiation levels 11 to 21 times higher than the acceptable risk limit. In 2003, the EPA’s Florida Phosphate Initiative noted that some homes had median radiation concentration 4 to 22 times higher than pre-mined land and gamma exposure 2 to 3 times higher than normal.

The lawsuit seeks compensation to clean up contamination and initiate medical monitoring for residents, as well as full disclosure of all state, federal and private testing results.

In 2016, the Lanier Law Firm recorded two high-profile verdicts in medical device litigation, with the awards totaling more than $1.5 billion. The firm was named by the National Trial Lawyers Association as one of the nation’s 25 Most Influential Law Firms for 2017, and also as a National Tier 1 practice in Mass Torts and Class Actions by U.S. News/Best Law Firms, and by Legal 500 in its national ranking of top firms in Medical Device and Pharmaceutical litigation. Mr. Lanier was named Houston’s Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America in 2017 for Personal Injury Litigation and in 2016 for Mass Torts/Class Actions. Mr. Lanier has been recognized as one of the Most Influential Attorneys of the Decade by the National Law Journal and as one of the 25 Greatest Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century by Texas Lawyer.

With offices in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, The Lanier Law Firm is committed to addressing client concerns with effective and innovative solutions in courtrooms across the country. The firm is composed of outstanding trial attorneys with decades of experience handling cases involving pharmaceutical liability, asbestos exposure, commercial litigation, product liability, maritime law, and serious personal injuries.

For more information, please contact J.D. Cargill at 713-659-5200 or [email protected].