CHICAGO (CBS) – A grand verdict has been issued against a suburban firm that CBS 2 detectives exposed many years ago.

On Monday, a Cook County jury ordered Sterigencis to pay a woman $ 363 million for exposing her to c*ncer-causing chemicals.

Susan Kamuda sued Sterigenics, claiming that the company knowingly emitted toxic ethylene oxide gas from its Willowbrook facility and did nothing to protect the public.

Kamuda fell ill with breast c*ncer. Her son was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. Kamuda shared what she felt when she heard the verdict.

“Honestly, the best three words I’ve ever heard,” Kamuda said. – Such a relief. What followed didn’t really matter.

Sterigencis maintained that there was no evidence that Kamuda’s c*ncer was linked to their emissions. The company plans to appeal against the ruling.

CBS 2 investigator Dave Savini has spent years delving into the company, uncovering documents and talking to whistleblowers about the impact of this first study and verdict on other c*ncer cases yet to be heard.

This mega verdict is good for the following cases, as it turned out that the company acted intentionally and thoughtlessly. There are still over 700 people waiting in court for their day.

There are people and families with diseases or d*aths such as Matt Haller‘s. Haller died of stomach c*ncer. There is also Heather Schumacher, who has battled with Hodkins lymphoma. These cases have not yet been considered.

On Monday, Sue Kamuda was the first of all the applicants to go to the hearing. She, a breast c*ncer survivor, lived near the factory for three decades. The jury not only concluded that her c*ncer was related to the ethylene oxide gas emitted from the plant, but also decided that the company should be penalized for all toxic emissions.

Most of this huge $ 363 million sentence concerned non-pecuniary damages. The form of punishing the company for its role here.

CBS2 investigators revealed stories of how former employees at the plant they became whistleblowers, saying how the company released more of this chemical into the air than was ever reported to the EPA.

Sterigenics issued a statement saying that it will appeal the sentence. Following Kamuda’s verdict, a long and arduous legal appeal process begins. But in the meantime, more cases will come in the coming months, as with Heather Schumacher. You can expect the same kind of trial and much of the same evidence will be presented against Sterigenics. Only the facts about the victims and their specific types of c*ncer will change.

Each time a jury will have to decide on blame and punitive damages, and if this high trend in adjudication continues, it could come to the point of creating one giant superfund to handle all these cases.

On Monday, a jury in the case against Sterigenics and its role in the c*ncer of the Willowbrook woman found the company responsible and reward her with $ 363 million.

Kamuda testified under oath last week that she would have moved out of Willowbrook had she known about the dangerous ethylene oxide being released by the Sterigenics factory. She battled tears at the booth, speaking of having been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast c*ncer more than two decades after moving to her home in Willowbrook.

She also described her shock after being told that a plant near her home was emitting a known toxin all the time. Kamuda told the Daley Center jury that moving to her dream home with her husband and three children in Willowbrook in 1985 was “possibly the happiest day” of her life.

But what she didn’t know was that that same year, Sterigenics had moved in as well, just a third of a mile from her home.

The Willowbrook facility used EO from 1985 until it was closed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in 2019.

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