A jury in Hinds County, Mississippi, has been rewarded a $19 million verdict for five women against Texaco. It is now a division of Chevron Corp. The plaintiff’s says the oil company was responsible for their children being born with many disabilities and also illnesses, which include mental retardation. The women say claim they were pregnant when they worked in the old Jefferson County office in Fayette, which was a gas station that was affiliated with Texaco. The women, in their suit, contended they were exposed to leaded gas fumes from tanks that were left in the ground when the former gas station was renovated.
Loraine Simon,one of the five women, claims that her twenty-year-old daughter is very mentally disabled. The children of the other women suffer from many things, from respiratory conditions and learning disabilities and respiratory conditions. The trial was moved from Jefferson County to Hinds County because the women were well known or had worked in Jefferson County. Texaco has said that it has never owned, operated or controlled the service station or the underground storage tanks.
Ms. Simon said winning the case was "bittersweet" because of her child’s condition. The woman testified during the trial saying that her husband and she had taken their daughter to several doctors trying to determine the cause of her many conditions. They also have two older children who do not have any mental defects. Ms. Loraine Simon didn’t work in the building when she was pregnant with her two other children.
The children of the Plaintiffs’ do not have life threatening mental disabilities, but they all suffer from asthma. Each of the children, who now range from 11 to 20 years old, has some kind of learning disability. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality had the tanks and contaminated soil removed. According to the testimony, Ms. Simon was exposed to 46,000 times the safe level for exposure to leaded gasoline fumes.
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