Cano v. Everest Minerals Corp.

362 F. Supp. 2d 814 (2005)

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Cano v. Everest Minerals Corp.

United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
362 F. Supp. 2d 814 (2005)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Fifty-three individuals who lived or worked in or around Karnes County, Texas (collectively, the residents) (plaintiffs) developed various forms of cancer, including cancers of the lung, bladder, pancreas, liver, skin, breast, stomach, bone, and brain. In a toxic-tort action, the residents claimed that companies engaged in mining and milling uranium in Karnes County (collectively, the mining companies) (defendants) were responsible for causing the residents’ cancers. The residents were allegedly exposed to ionizing radiation by airborne uranium-ore dust, by contaminated food and water, and/or through the mining and disposal process. The residents presented one expert witness to testify on the issue of specific causation, Dr. Malin Dollinger. Dollinger, who was a medical doctor, assumed that all the residents had been exposed to ionizing radiation “at dosage levels higher than background radiation.” According to Dollinger, any amount of radiation exposure above background level contributed to causing cancer and was a substantial factor in causing each resident’s cancer. Dollinger did not consider that some of the residents’ cancers could have an unknown origin, and Dollinger’s methodology did not differentiate between residents as to the concentration or extent of exposure. The mining companies moved to exclude Dollinger’s testimony as unreliable and for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rodriguez, J.)

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