ORLANDO, Fla. — Attorneys in a class action brought against the Orlando Utility Commission claim the coal ash that they say contaminated up to eight east Orange County neighborhoods came from an out-of-state basin with the highest radioactivity in the country, according to a recent 78-page filing.
The federal suit, filed in the Middle District of Florida, contends the toxic byproducts released into the air have led to cancers in children and young adults in those area at a rate “5 to 10 times higher” than the rest of Orange County and the U.S.
In the filing, the attorneys claim the ash, bought by OUC’s Stanton Energy Center, came from the Illinois Basin, “which has the highest radioactivity of any coal in the continental United States,” and was infused into construction materials, which include the concrete foundations of thousands of homes.
“I’ve never seen this anywhere. This is catastrophic if it’s true,” said Barry Miller, a real estate attorney.
Miller’s firm has been closely following the case as part of an effort to educate clients about potential liability issues if they don’t inform buyers or tenants about the lawsuit.
As a community service, Miller offers disclosure forms to any landlord, seller or agent.
Meanwhile, he waits on the discovery phase of this unprecedented case to begin a battle of the experts on both sides. He expects the litigation to take years.
“The impact is what’s going to be the problem here. This could become an area where all the homes have to be vacated if the allegations are true,” said Miller. “We need to what they prove and what a judge or a jury is going to find.”
If the claims are proven, Miller said the big question will be whether the defendants knew the dangers in these materials.
OUC said it is reviewing the amended complaint but reiterated that it disagrees wit hthe allegations and intends to vigorously defend itself against them.
Cox Media Group