Atomic Worker Appeal Dismissed on Statute of Limitations Grounds Despite Alleged Cover Up of Allegedly Positive Worker Radiation Readings

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
File PHoto
File PHoto

CINCINNATI,OHIO (HNN) - The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of uranium worker Jeff Walburn who alleged that facts had been intentionally withheld by deendant, Lockheed Martin (or predecessor) to prevent plaintiff's from pursuing their original action.

Stemming from exposure of security personnel at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the defendant originally accepted that the company was unaware of "internal memorandums, written communicationsor other written materials that discuss the potential exposure of security personnel at the gaseous diffusion plant near Piketon, Ohio.

EDITOR'S NOTE: One complaintant to this litigation has alleged that he can take environmental authorities to the site where the Huntington Pilot Plant is buried. One of more assisted in the burial. The remains arrived in uncovered coal trucks , meaning that the radioactive debris blew in the wind during transport from Huntington to Portsmouth, Ohio.

 

Later, the plaintiff received documents that demonstrated that his injuries arose from the release of "above atmosphere"gases. Since that time plaintiff obtained documents that allegedly demonstrate that worker's dosimeter badge radiation readings were routinely changed by supervisors who were given rewards for not have any law suits filed.

One of the exhibits in the appeal included a report of employees circumventing compressor seal alarms and positive bioassay samples in June 1992 from Building X-326.

The Court said that "We assume as the district court did, that the discovery response was factually misleading to the extent that it suggested no other responsive materials existed and that in the absence of such evidence contributed to the plaintiffs' action to voluntarily dismiss the earlier suit. However , the alleged misrepresentation --- that LMUS was unaware of documents discussing the potential exposure of security personnel --- did not pertain to the limitations period.... the district court did not err in concluding that the Ohio Supreme Court would not recognize the allegedly misleading discovery response as a misrepresentation that could be the basis for involking equitable estoppel in the statute of limitations context."

In an earlier complaint, Walburn charged:

Lockheed "falsified, concealed and destroyed documentation" relating to "plant

management and operations" and knowingly submitted these "false records and statements" to the

government, all in an effort to fraudulently induce government payment under Lockheed's contract

to operate the Portsmouth Plant. Walburn alleges that Lockheed maintained its Department of

Energy accreditation by "knowingly concealing" its practice of "assign[ing] dosages to a person that

differed from the dosages that were read from the [dosimeter] that the same person was wearing,"

and then "used the [Department of Energy] accreditation, which had been falsely or fraudulently

obtained ... to receive payments under the operating agreements for [the Portsmouth Plant]."

Both court opinions may be downloaded in PDF form.