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More than 150 file suit against Olin over Bradley plant mercury exposure

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press: More than 150 people, including former workers at Olin Corp.'s chemical plant in Bradley County, have filed

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press: More than 150 people, including former workers at Olin Corp.’s chemical plant in Bradley County, have filed suit against the company, claiming it knowingly exposed them to hazardous levels of mercury.


The suit, filed Friday in Hamilton County Circuit Court, said the exposure to mercury that occurred over decades poses severe health risks and brain damage.


The legal action, by the Joey James Law Firm of Florence, Alabama, in collaboration with Chattanooga attorney Jimmy Rogers of Summers, Rufolo and Rogers, stems from a comprehensive investigation “that revealed compelling evidence of Olin Corp.’s negligence in maintaining safe working conditions,” a news release said.


The suit said from 1962 to about 2012, mercury was used in the plant’s chlor-alkali manufacturing processes.


The suit said workers at the Charleston facility were subjected to dangerous levels of mercury, a toxic substance known to have detrimental effects on the nervous system that can lead to severe health complications.

The suit said the defendants knowingly exposed their employees, contractors and select family members to toxic levels of mercury.


The result was hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals incurring incurable, life-threatening and debilitating injuries and diseases, the suit said.

Attorney Joey James said there is concern over the well-being of the affected workers and their families.


“Our priority is to seek justice for those who have been exposed to unsafe working conditions,” he said in a statement. “The health and safety of employees should be paramount, and we will pursue accountability for any company that fails to uphold adequate safety standards.”


The company did not immediately return an email seeking comment.


The suit also names as defendants some contractors who did work at the Charleston site.


Jevon Reinke, an attorney for the Joey James Law Firm, said by phone the three kinds of plaintiffs are former workers, employees of contractors who worked at the site and their family members.

The suit said employees inadvertently brought the mercury exposure to their homes on their clothes, body and personal items after working at the facility.


The suit was filed in Hamilton County because that’s most convenient for the plaintiffs, Reinke said.


The lawsuit seeks compensation, appropriate medical treatment, medical expenses and punitive damages for the affected workers and their families, but a dollar figure isn’t cited. Reinke said others may still join the suit and a dollar figure is expected to come up later.