I am a resident of Geneva, NY, and a personal injury lawyer with experience in “toxic torts”. I have been following closely the developments regarding the high lead and arsenic levels in the area surrounding the old foundry in Geneva. It is a sad, unfortunate mess. I feel deeply for the foundry neighbors, especially those who have had children grow up in the area. If nothing else, the anxiety and fear must be overwhelming. Many blame — and have filed notices of claim against — our government officials (DEC, Department of Health, etc.) for having failed to notify them of high toxin levels years ago when they first found out about it. Longtime residents’ worry, fear, and anger are visceral.
As a lawyer, I wish I could bring them good news, some hope that our justice system will eventually bring fair and equitable compensation to those affected. Unfortunately, I can’t. I have been approached by several Genevans to represent them against the City, the State, DEC and other governmental entities, but have declined. One of the reasons I have declined is that the plaintiffs (the residents and property owners in the contaminated zone) are unlikely to prevail with their claims against the City, State, DEC, etc. I am not saying the cases are hopeless, or that winning is impossible, but I can say without a doubt that the cards are stacked against the claimants. Let me explain.
What Is A “Toxic Tort” and Who Can Be Sued?