Railroad Wins Important "Toxic Town" Suit
In 2007, our Todd Spivak did a feature on the "Toxic Town" of Somerville, 90 miles
southnorthwest of Houston and home to a Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway plant.
Residents there have much higher cancer rates than normal, a fact some traced to the arsenic, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons used by the plant, which at one time was the nation's largest producer of railroad ties.
One of the residents, and one of the key parts of the Spivak's story, was Dennis Davis, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006.
He sued BNSF, and a 10-week trial wrapped up yesterday. The jury found for the railroad.
The jury took about two hours to reach its verdict, the Bryan-College Station Eagle reported.
BNSF attorneys said the verdict shows there's nothing unusual going on in Somerville.
"This should be good news to the city of Somerville," attorney Doug Poole of Galveston told the paper. "I really think this lawyer-driven situation has cost them tourism and other business ... because of the false rumors that have been spread. This is junk science. There's nothing there."
The plaintiffs' attorney Jared Woodfill of Houston, vowed to continue with other cases.
"This is a war. This is just one battle in a war to make these folks do the right thing and take care of the folks they have injured," he said. "I'm not giving up on Somerville or the men who gave their lives to this plant."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.
- College and NFL Football: Thanksgiving Weekend's Best Bets
Sat., Nov. 28, 2:30pm
Sat., Nov. 28, 7:00pm
Sun., Nov. 29, 12:00pm
Mon., Nov. 30, 7:00pm
- The 10 Best Things About the Holidays in Houston
- Prosecutors: Paxton's Hollow Outrage at "DEFCON 1"