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Gert Town Hazardous Radioactive Material

The Bagneris Firm, LLC, The Law Office of Steven Rando, LLC, and Attorney Madro Bandaries have filed a lawsuit seeking class certification on behalf of the following individuals:

“All former and current residents, homeowners, business owners, and students within a Gert Town neighborhood living, working or attending school within close proximity to the 3400 Block of Lowerline Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, who claim to have suffered bodily injuries, emotional distress, property devaluation, and other damages associated with the presence of and/or remediation of Radium-226 and radiation in the soil.”

Upon information and belief, the Defendant CITY OF NEW ORLEANS was informed in 2013 of the presence of radioactive materials in the subsurface soil located at or near Lowerline Street and Edinburg Streets in New Orleans, Louisiana. This discovery was made while scanning for security threats in preparation of hosting the 2013 Superbowl in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite having knowledge of the presence of hazardous radioactive materials in the subsurface soil located at or near Lowerline Street and Edinburg Streets in New Orleans, Louisiana, the City took no action to warn and/or to protect Plaintiffs, other residents or other business owners of the presence of soil contamination, the risk of exposure to Radium-226 and radiation; the reasonable steps to take in an emergency when exposed; the health effects that are common to exposure; how a person can tell if they have been exposed; and short and/or long term health effects associated with exposure to Radium-226 and radiation. The discovery of a hazardous condition was secreted from the public.

In 2018, the Defendant City decided to remediate the presence of underground material producing radiation below the road surface at the intersection of Lowerline Street and Coolidge Court. The Defendant City quietly retained a maintenance contractor, Defendant ARS, in December 2018 to remove and dispose of what had been identified as hazardous material located beneath the surface of the Lowerline Street and Coolidge Court intersection.

Once remediation efforts ensued, the Defendants City and ARS, and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality discovered that the contamination area was larger than originally anticipated and would need to be addressed as part of a subsequent effort. Since that time, the Defendant City and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality have collaborated to develop a remediation plan to address the contamination area on Lowerline Street between Olive and Edinburgh streets.

In advance of the commencement remediation work, on May 18, 2019, representatives from the City’s Health Department and the Department of Public Works canvassed a five-block radius of the location and placed reading materials entitled “Construction Notice” in mailboxes and on doors of residents and business owners. The document is a far cry from a mundane notice regarding construction activity; instead, it notifies residents and business owners for the very first time that contaminated soil was discovered in the 3400 block of Lowerline Street near the intersection of Lowerline and Coolidge Streets. It advises them that on May 28, 2019, the U.S. EPA, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and City will begin removing radiation-contaminated soil. It notifies them that the radiation has been there for “some time, and is being removed out of an abundance of caution.” It advises them to expect mediation crews wearing “personal protective equipment including disposable coveralls and gloves during operations.” It notifies them that radioactive materials will be placed in storage containers in their neighborhood. The “Construction Notice” was attached to a listing of “Frequently Asked Questions” regarding exposure to Radium-226 and radiation.

On Tuesday, May 28, 2019, excavation and remediation work began in the subject neighborhood. Crews have excavated the site wearing personal protective equipment including disposable coveralls and gloves necessary to limit their exposure to toxins, while Plaintiffs and other residents, homeowners, and business owners have been exposed to contamination without protection. Underground materials have been excavated and placed in large containers on the site, just feet from the homes of Gert Town residents.

Receipt of the “Construction Notice and Frequently Asked Questions” and remediation activities in the neighborhood was shocking, alarming and disturbing to residents, homeowners and business owners in the subject neighborhood. It was also alarming to former residents, homeowners and business owners in the subject neighborhood who saw televised and print media news stories regarding Radium-226 and radiation being underground for “some time,” prior to discovery in 2013.

Despite assurances from representatives of the Defendants City, ARS, and governmental agencies, the residents and business owners in the subject area have been very alarmed and have experienced emotional distress regarding their exposure to radioactive materials at the site.

Plaintiffs contend that the remediation has caused them adverse health effects and emotional distress because of the manner in which it was conducted by the Defendants City and ARS.  They should have been relocated during remediation; given an opportunity to relocate; and/or provided with personal protective gear during the remediation process.

Please fill out the form below and we will be in touch to discuss your case. DISCLAIMER: Filling out the submission does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This is merely a tool to identify those persons affected.  The courts will ultimately decide if there is a class of affected persons, the boundaries of the affected area, and who would qualify to be included in this litigation.