One lawsuit against Whirlpool dropped

One of the two lawsuits filed against Whirlpool in connection with the Clyde-area cancer cluster has been dropped.
Tom Jackson
Nov 9, 2013
The plaintiffs who filed the LaGrou vs. Whirlpool lawsuit on behalf of families who live near the former Whirlpool Park in Green Springs have dropped the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning that they could choose to file it at a later time.
 
The lawsuit was originally filed in Fremont in state court, but was moved to federal court in Toledo. The court action says if the lawsuit were refiled, it would be refiled in federal court.

The LaGrou lawsuit blamed alleged dumping at Whirlpool Park by Whirlpool for causing a number of cancer cases. The lawsuit is named for Tim LaGrou, one of the plaintiffs. He was the husband of Christina LaGrou, 23, who died of cancer in 2006.

The demise of the LaGrou lawsuit leaves another federal suit filed against Whirlpool by Warren and Wendy Brown and other families affected by the cancer cluster. Whirlpool has filed a motion to dismiss that lawsuit, too, but there’s been no ruling yet from U.S. District Judge James Carr, the federal judge presiding over the case in Toledo.

Joe Albrechta, one of the attorneys who filed the LaGrou lawsuit, could not be reached for comment Friday after calls were placed to his law office and his cell phone.

James Murray, one of the attorneys from the Murray and Murray law firm in Sandusky who had joined in the LaGrou lawsuit, said Friday he cannot comment on the decision to dismiss the lawsuit.

Tom Bowlus, a Fremont attorney, represents Jonathan Abdoo, who bought the former Whirlpool Park property from Whirlpool. Abdoo had planned to build a house on the property but halted work after EPA tests showed the land was contaminated.

The LaGrou lawsuit had named Abdoo as a defendant. Bowlus had denounced that, saying his client was told the property was clean when he bought it.

“By doing the voluntary dismissal, they dodged a potential bullet,” Bowlus said Friday.

He noted Whirlpool had made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. If Carr had agreed, the judge’s ruling would have ended the lawsuit, meaning it could not be refiled. Voluntary dismissal at least keeps the possibility of a lawsuit alive if more favorable evidence emerges, Bowlus noted.

Whirlpool recently released testing data that showed PCBs at Whirlpool Park, but it showed no evidence that it or other harmful chemicals had gotten into groundwater.

“Now that the data’s out, it arguably supports the notion Whirlpool Park was not the cause of the cancer cluster,” Bowlus said.

While there’s no question Whirlpool polluted, a key question is whether the pollution has been migrating from the site, Murray said.

Bowlus said the dismissal was an appropriate outcome and a relief for his client.

“It was an extremely stressful situation for Jonathan and his dad,” Bowlus said. “Even though they felt and were reassured there was no valid claim against them … it was still extremely distressful for them.”

Whirlpool did not offer any official comment. In a newsletter distributed to Whirlpool employees in Clyde, the company stated: “We remain committed to defending ourselves against unfounded allegations made by plaintiff attorneys, and will keep you informed of further developments in these cases.”

Comments

John Harville

Charles Boyk, one of attorneys for Plaintiffs in the Warren Brown et al v. Whirlpool suit, posted on his firm's website after the dismissal "...still fighting the good fight against Whirlpool" which pretty well summarizes the intent of the Plaintiffs.

John Harville

The artwork is WRONG!! In the corner you have a photo of Steve Keller Sr, grandfather of Kole, and father of Steve Keller Jr who is one of the plaintiffs in Brown et al v. Whirlpool et al.

The Kellers are NOT plaintiffs in the Lagrou et al v. Whirlpool and Grist Mill Creek which was mutually dismissed.

Don't feel too bad... none of the other media have been able to distinguish the two, either. The dismissed case does not involve the Eastern Sandusky County Childhood Cancer Cluster.
The Brown et all case since its filing HAS added Whirlpool Park "victims" since it had difficulty building a 'class' based on Benzalehyde in five attics.

John Harville

Bowlus failed to mention that the EPA-approved report ALSO lists the asbestos contamination at Whirlpool Park "resulting from dumping by the current owners". Be a good reporter and just check the EPA document... it's only a few pages (unlike the 1608-page full report). BTW... John Murray is the attorney of record on the case.

Presto

People should move out of Clyde immediately. That's what this story's about isn't it? No one has commented on the people living in Clyde so I will. It's kinda like the people who refuse to leave the nuclear fallout zone in Japan (Fukushima).... Years ago no one knew what was going on in Clyde (and obviously now everyone's still lying) but ALL citizens NOW KNOW what's going on in Clyde...Why in hell are people still living there?? I am serious --WHY WHY WHY??? (for that matter..why are people living in Ohio when there are so many other gorgeous places to live on earth? lol) Well of course, people live in Ohio out of habit and cause of family (etc) but how can anyone live in a community that IS KILLING THEM and ALL THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS???? If the adults in Clyde choose to subject themselves to cancer causing agents on purpose well that's their priviledge but how does anyone justify forcing their kids to live there????