Sterigenics trial: Judge reviews motion to consolidate cases

There were new developments Thursday for the hundreds of people who are suing Sterigenics.

The medical tool sterilization company was accused of releasing dangerous levels of cancer-causing ethylene oxide gas from its Willowbrook plant from 1985 to 2019, causing cancer in a woman who lived nearby.

Sue Kamuda is among more than 700 other people who have sued Sterigenics since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published research in 2018 that showed people living near the plant got cancer at rates nine times above the national average.

Earlier this week, a Cook County jury ruled that Sterigenics and two other companies should pay $363 million in damages for exposing Kamuda to dangerous levels of the toxic gas.


Her son, Brian, was diagnosed with lymphoma, but his case was tossed.

On Thursday, a judge decided a jury will hear his case next year.

The same judge is reviewing a motion to consolidate cases, so the process doesn't take years to go through the legal system. 

"We have asked Judge Flannery to enter an order that would require cases to be tried in groups of 10 plaintiffs each," said Lance Northcutt, of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. "As of right now, the way these cases have moved through the system, it's a very slow process because it's going one by one, and even if the system absorbs five cases a year, were talking about potentially a century worth of litigation before they're all resolved, that means by definition that some of these plaintiffs will not be alive to see their trials."