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Federal Judge Denies Drummond Motion to Dismiss in Florida Homeowner Radiation Case

TAMPA, Fla. – A federal judge in Tampa has cleared the way for the Lanier Law Firm to pursue claims on behalf of homeowners in Central Florida, charging that operators of nearby phosphate mines failed to warn them about dangerously high levels of radiation on their properties. U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich denied a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant in the case, Alabama-based Drummond Company, Inc. The court’s ruling in favor of the plaintiffs clears the way for attorneys to move forward with the next stage of the case, including the collection and analysis of documents, emails and other communications that Drummond will have to provide. “I am happy to see that the court is allowing this case to move forward,” said Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier. “The people who have bought homes in Oakbridge and Grasslands – most often the biggest purchase of their lives – have a right to know what Drummond knew and, more importantly, what Drummond hid from them. And we’re going to find out.”

In 1982, Drummond abandoned its phosphate mining operation and set to work developing the property for commercial and residential use, including the Oakbridge and Grasslands neighborhoods. Radiation from decaying uranium is a known byproduct of phosphate mining. The cancer-causing gamma rays can penetrate the body and increase the risk of certain cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, and bone cancer.

According to EPA reports, Drummond officials knew of the toxic conditions on these properties but never warned homebuyers about the health threats. 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 concentrations 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.

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. With offices in Houston, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City 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].