EVANSVILLE—Jurors have ruled in favor of Alcoa in a $12 million toxic dumping lawsuit filed by a Chandler couple who claimed that waste dumped by the company at a former Warrick County coal mine caused the cancer of a former miner there.
The six-member jury deliberated for about two hours following a trial that lasted more than two weeks.
The six-year-old lawsuit, filed in Warrick County went to trial in Vanderburgh County with Circuit Court Judge Carl Heldt presiding as special judge.
The lawsuit was filed by Bil and Kim Musgrave. Bil Musgrave was diagnosed with bile duct cancer in 2000. Peter Racher, his lawyer, described it as a rare and often fatal form of liver cancer.
Although a doctor gave him just months to live, Musgrave was accepted for treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and received a liver transplant in August 2001.
Alcoa was a joint owner of the 8,000-acre Squaw Creek Mine north of Boonville and about 15 miles east of Evansville. Mining there ceased in 1987.
Both sides agreed the mine was operated to supply coal to power Alcoa Warrick Operations and that Alcoa dumped large amounts of industrial waste there from 1965 to 1979, including coal tar pitch, spent pot linings from its aluminum smelting and a sludge which contained chromium.
The sides disagreed on whether the waste was hazardous, the dump locations, what Alcoa did about it and whether state officials knew.