Toms River Habitat Tank Habitat



Settlement reached in Dover cancer case

The Associated Press

12/13/01 7:40 AM

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) --Two chemical companies and Dover Township's public water provider have reached a settlement with lawyers representing 69 families of children stricken with cancer in the Toms River area.

Details of the settlement announced Wednesday will not be made public, but each family will receive an undisclosed amount of money. The agreement will require court approval for family members who are still minors.

None of the companies -- Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corp., Union Carbide Corp. and United Water Toms River -- admitted responsibility or any liability for childhood cancer cases in the Toms River area.

The settlement will end four years of mediation among the parties about possible links between environmental contamination and the cancers. It was not known if the agreement includes payment for future medical monitoring of the families.

Dover Township resident Joseph Kotran, whose 5-year-old daughter's cancer is now in remission, said the agreement helped avoid a protracted legal battle.

"It's for the children," Kotran told the Asbury Park Press of Neptune for Thursday's editions. "Some of them, they're not going to be around in 10 years."

Representatives of the three companies agreed, saying all sides benefited because the settlement was reached through negotiation, not litigation.

CIBA and Union Carbide have assumed responsibility for contamination at Dover's two Superfund sites. United Water bought the public water system serving most of the township from the Toms River Water Co. in 1994.

Jan Schlictmann, the noted Massachusetts lawyer who was among those representing the families, said the case could become a model for those pursuing similar cases.

"The families of Toms River have something to share with the world;" he said. Schlictmann won fame representing families in Woburn, Mass., who sued W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods over water contamination. The case was the subject of a best-selling book called "A Civil Action," that was made into a movie starring John Travolta.

Readers interested in details of the historical reconstruction methodology, simulation approaches, or results for specific years and locations for the Dover Township area should refer to the full report that is available over the Internet at the ATSDR Web site at URL:

The summary report is available to view in ".pdf" format in this site: Summary report.