Whirlpool hits back at critics

In court filings hitting back at critics, Whirlpool Corp. has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by families of children in the Clyde cancer cluster.
Tom Jackson
Aug 30, 2013

 

The company’s court brief contends the class-action lawsuit ignores the fact reputable federal scientists have failed to identify the cause of the cancer cluster.

Whirlpool is asking U.S. Northern District Court Judge James Carr to toss out the lawsuit, which was filed in May by relatives of children who died of cancer in the eastern Sandusky County area. The plaintiffs, including Warren Brown — father of cancer victim Alexa Brown, 11 — and other relatives of children who died of cancer allege a variety of illnesses resulted from dumping at the former Whirlpool Park site, as well as from pollution at the plant.

The Whirlpool brief says the lawsuit amounts to “a request to launch an enormous fishing expedition.”

The company’s brief says the lawsuit ignores “multiple federal, state, and local environmental and health agency reports and studies that have found there is no known environmental cause — much less a common source of exposure to any carcinogen — of the reported childhood cancer incidents in Sandusky County.” The brief also says the plaintiffs allege illnesses — such as low sperm count, learning disabilities, diverticulitis and all types of cancer — “bear almost no relation to ... (the) allegations that there is a cancer cluster in the area.”  

The company’s brief states: “Plaintiffs’ lawyers have turned a blind-eye to the agencies’ findings and have embarked on an unjustified campaign to blame the area’s largest employer and manufacturer, Whirlpool, for every childhood cancer or other health issue experienced by 58 different Plaintiffs, including many adult Plaintiffs who indisputably are not part of any alleged childhood cancer cluster.”

Carr could agree to toss out the entire lawsuit, or he could keep all of it intact. He could also strike out portions, while allowing other portions to proceed in court. With Whirlpool filing its answer to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ attorneys have 30 days to file an answer. Whirlpool then has seven days to answer that reply, which means October would be the earliest anyone would see a decision on the company’s motion to dismiss.

Carr could choose to listen to attorneys argue the motion, or he could base his decision on the written legal briefs. Ultimately, it’s up him to decide when to rule on the motion, and it’s impossible to know when that will happen. Carr has a reputation for diligence, so it’s reasonable to expect a ruling by year’s end, a Whirlpool official said.

Whirlpool is also fighting a separate lawsuit, Lagrou vs. Whirlpool, filed in March in Sandusky County Common Pleas court. The lawsuit says alleged dumping at the former Whirlpool Park is to blame for illnesses in people who live near the park.

Whirlpool succeeded in getting the lawsuit moved to federal court after Carr ruled that this was the appropriate place to handle the case. Whirlpool has also filed a motion to dismiss the Lagrou lawsuit. It appears likely Carr will combine the two cases.

Comments

coasterfan

Several years ago, one of my jogging routes was on the North Coast Inland Trail bike path which runs adjacent to the Whirlpool Factory in Clyde for about 1/2 mile. There was usually a pungent, chemical odor that permeated the area. I'm not sure what it was, but it was obvious that it wasn't good for anyone's health to breathe in the odor.

I remember reading that much of the concern has to do with the former Whirlpool Park, which is in a different location, but I feel bad for the people who live right next to the factory, as well. I soon decided to run elsewhere.

Sad that Whirlpool is calling this a fishing expedition. Their opponents have already caught a lot of fish, haven't they?

John Harville

COASTERFAN... stick your finger in a hornet's nest then tell us which hornet stung you.
Had Mr. Jackson (any relation to the Clyde publishing family?) studied the lawsuits and the Whirlpool response, he would have reported that the Plaintiffs (only 15 of the 58 claim their illnesses came from the Whirlpool plant while the remainder have hitched their hopes to the Whirlpool Park dumpsite), according to Whirlpool, have failed to cite a specific chemical which cause the specific cancer which sickened/killed specific children/victims.
Read the original Motion to Dismiss for yourself. It's at "Whirlpool for Clyde" website.

John Harville

READ IT FOR YOURSELVES, FOLKS. The entire 34-page Motion to Dismiss can be found at the Whirlpool for Clyde website. Mr. Jackson missed soooo much. And remember, only ONE cancer cluster has been identified by Health authorities - "the Eastern Sandusky County Childhood Cancer Cluster" which includes all of Fremont and parts of bellevue and has identified 21 victim.

grandmasgirl

Good for Whirlpool. I am not saying that they are blameless, but neither am I saying they are at fault. These people filed this lawsuit way to soon. Cancer is everywhere. It's down south by the coal mines. It's up north by the steel mills. It's out west and out east. If childhood cancer wasn't everywhere, there would be no Saint Jude's. I am sorry for the families who are suffering, but there are lots of people who live by Whirlpool and worked at Whirlpool who have no cancer symptoms in their family. Personally, I think cancer has a lot to do with genetics.

Dont Worry Be Happy

I know a ton of people that work at Whirlpool and have lived around Whirlpool all their lives and only one has cancer but his whole family does they came from KY. So I do wonder how do their employees not get cancer but this group of families believes their kids got it from there??? How can that be possible? If someone could explain i would appreciate i really dont understand how that could happen. I do believe if they did dump waste wrongfuly they should pay the fines and clean up.

I'm sorry for these families we do participate in their fundraisers, and I am glad they bring about awareness.

nosey rosey

Glad to see them fight back. Move on people-money never brought anyone back from the dead.

Peninsula Pundit

Hooray for Whirlpool Incorporated!
To Hades with all the sick kids in the same area!
You have to wonder how supposedly responsible, sensible adults wouldn't decide to just not post, instead of posting insensitive drivel like GG and Nosy.

John Harville

PENINSULA PUNDIT. Maybe you should wonder why you post on something about which you know little. Have you READ the Whirlpool motion to dismiss? It's available on Whirlpool For Clyde website.
Have you asked why the Plaintiffs tested the Clyde Water Plant and ONLY five houses 'fishing' for PCBs but could find only Benzaldehyde common to all five houses - in only three of which deceased children lived? (One was next door to a child's birthhome. the WTP had nothing)
Have you asked why thought there are only 21 in the Eastern Sandusky County Childhood Cancer Cluster (some from Fremont and Bellevue) there are 58 plaintiffs so far in an effort to mount a class action?
Have you asked how a child can have a low sperm count?
the Plaintiffs have named almost 30 chemical substances but have not shown a connection between any specific substance and any specific illness/death nor that any substance came only from Whirlpool.
You have to wonder how an adult who considers him/herslef responsible and sensible wouldn't decide jsut not to post.

grandmasgirl

Why is my comment "insensitive drivel"? Because you don't agree with me? That makes it not worthy of posting?

nosey rosey

I posted because I'm sick and tired of hearing about it. Sad that kids got sick but what makes them any more special than the thousands of other sick people diagnosed every day. Why sue a corporation when you have absolutely no proof that anything or anyone caused an illness? Because like any other lawsuit, its all about money and nothing about the truth. Accept that no one lives forever and that life isn't fair.

sandtown born a...

I'm sure they dumped chemicals however and wherever they wanted, just as a lot of factories before all the regulations and awareness of issues. SUE them for polluting the area no smoking gun doesn't mean innocence

John Harville

sandtown... Steve Wolfe, the EPA Region 5 on-site supervisor at Whirlpool Park, reported the mass buried at Whirlpool Park was most likely dumped by someone in the late 50s - as determined by aerial photos of the site as a depression and then level. PCBs were in commercial use from 1927 until 1979(?). All such chemicals and practices were unregulated until RICHARD NIXON created the EPA in 1971. With those facts, whatever is buried there - which Whirlpool has agreed to clean up - was legal.

TuffNutts2011

If you work at whirlpool its time to find another job.

brassman

Good for Whirlpool. They have no proof that Whirlpool is responsible and this is nothing but a money grab. If they find concrete evidence THEN go after them with proof. Right now there is none.

John Harville

...which is what Whirlpool's Motion states.

he said she said

Good for Whirlpool!! I know people that are working at and have retired from Whirlpool and can say that they are healthy people other than age related illnesses. IMO Whirlpool makes millions if not billions a year and people tend to follow and blame dollar signs.

The railroad also runs through Clyde with the Bellevue yard right down the road. How does everyone know that it was Whirlpool's fault? What if the cause could have been something that leaked from a tanker car? What if is was the diesel smoke (pollution) from the engines? What if? What if?

John Harville

READ IT FOR YOURSELVES, FOLKS.
The entire 34-page Motion to Dismiss can be found at the Whirlpool for Clyde website.
Mr. Jackson missed soooo much.
And remember, only ONE cancer cluster has been identified by Health authorities - "the Eastern Sandusky County Childhood Cancer Cluster" which includes all of Fremont and parts of bellevue and has identified 21 victim.
There is NO defined Whirlpool Park Cancer Cluster.
And ask yourself... how does a child have "low sperm count"?

John Harville

"There's no danger" is what the owners of the Clyde house with the highest Benzaldehyde content and where one of the children allegedly lived when contracting cancer (one of the five who died) reportedly told the people to whom they rent the house. The renters have young children staying in the house virtually all the time.

John Harville

"There's no danger" is what the owners of the Clyde house with the highest Benzaldehyde content and where one of the children allegedly lived when contracting cancer (one of the five who died) reportedly told the people to whom they rent the house. The renters have young children staying in the house virtually all the time.

registerer

The SR is nothing more than hate and fear mongers. Reading the SR makes the National Enquirer look like it actually prints true stuff!

John Harville

registerer... that's an unfair assessment. The Register just sometimes doesn't get all the information - or utilize it. Often they fail to talk to 'others' besides the main players. They report five attics have Benzaldehyde but haven't checked the list of plaintiffs against the Analysis to notice that owners of one of the five is noticeably absent from the Plaintiff's list. A journalist would inquire why that homeowner hasn't rushed to join the lawsuit.
They are not hate and fear mongers, they just desperately to get a JOURNALIST on board.

John Harville

MR JACKSON... to whom does it "appear" Judge Carr will combine the two cases? Cite a source? While the courtroom clerk has told me that at the Case Management meeting - when that occurs - Judge Carr has an option to consolidate the cases.