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$150,000,000 Settlement - Toxic Chemical Exposure Mass Tort

The $150 million settlement for Romanucci & Blandin (R&B) clients was part of a global $408 million agreement for over 800 individuals impacted by exposure to toxic ethylene oxide (EtO) at a medical sterilization facility in Willowbrook, Illinois operated by Sterigenics, a subsidiary of Sotera Health. Individuals who resided in Willowbrook came into contact with EtO emissions above acceptable exposure levels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, leading to residents developing multiple forms of cancer and other life-threatening medical conditions.

R&B was the first law firm to hold a press conference in 2018 about the community exposure to EtO.  Founding Partner Antonio M. Romanucci played a pivotal role as co-lead counsel of the large legal group of law firms handling these cases.

Operation of the Sterigenics facility violated federal and state Clean Air Act regulations and standards for years under both Sterigenics and Griffith, its original operator. After criminal, via the state Attorney’s General Office and the DuPage State’s Attorney Office, and civil lawsuits began, advocacy led to legislative change to protect Illinois residents against the type of toxic exposure experienced in these cases. Senate Bill 1852, also known as the Matt Haller Act – named after our client, Willowbrook resident and activist, Matt Haller, who died in March 2019 at the age of 45 from cancer – was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker on June 21, 2019. The law created first-of-its-kind standards on Illinois EtO sterilization facilities that would “[prohibit them] from operating in Illinois unless” they adhered to the “strongest ethylene oxide sterilization regulations in the nation.

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