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June v. Union Carbide Corp.

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20196
Nos. No. 07-1532, (10th Cir., 08/21/2009)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision dismissing claims for alleged radiation injuries to residents of Uravan, Colorado, a former uranium and vanadium milling town owned and operated by two mining companies. The residents asserted claims for personal injury based on disease or death allegedly caused by radiation as well as claims for medical monitoring to detect the onset of disease in those plaintiffs who were asymptomatic. Twenty-seven plaintiffs are pursuing personal-injury claims and 152 are pursuing only medical-monitoring claims. Of the 27 personal-injury plaintiffs, 11 have been diagnosed with nonthyroid cancer and 16 have been diagnosed with thyroid disease (including one case of thyroid cancer). The residents' personal-injury claims fail for lack of evidence of factual causation. They failed to present to the court evidence, or even an argument, that radiation was either a but-for cause of any medical condition suffered by one of the plaintiffs or that radiation was a necessary component of a causal set of facts that would probably have caused one of those conditions. In addition, the residents' medical-monitoring claims fail for lack of evidence of a "bodily injury" as required by the Price-Anderson Act. DNA damage and cell death, which creates only a possibility of clinical disease, does not constitute a bodily injury under the Act.