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Long IslandPolitics

Bethpage residents file lawsuit against Grumman

The suit by more than 80 plaintiffs seeks damages for injuries stemming from Grumman's alleged negligence and liability tied to contaminants left at the site.

View from Thomas Avenue with Bethpage water tower

View from Thomas Avenue with Bethpage water tower on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 in Bethpage.  Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

More than 80 current and former residents of Bethpage or their estates have filed a new lawsuit against Northrop Grumman alleging that contaminants from the company’s former site have led to specific medical injuries and death, according to court records.

The complaint, filed in state Supreme Court on July 30 and since transferred to federal court at Grumman’s request, seeks unspecified damages for personal injury stemming from the defense contractor’s alleged negligence, nuisance, trespass and liability tied to contaminants left at the site.

Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia, said in a statement, “While we were only recently served and are still reviewing, the allegations and claims appear to be the same as those in [a previously filed] case, which Northrop Grumman has moved to dismiss, and will contest vigorously.”

The suit is separate from a class-action complaint filed by the same law firm, Napoli Shkolnik in Melville, in 2016.

That action seeks $500 million in damages for residents’ past and continued exposure to the contaminants. It was filed on behalf of “everyone in the area we believe was exposed” to contaminants at the site, said Lilia Factor, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

The new suit is a personal injury case filed on behalf of 83 individuals “with specific injuries,” including some who have since died, Factor said.

“Most of them are still alive but suffering from different medical conditions linked to the toxic contaminants,” she said. “Every one of them has suffered currently with an injury or has deceased.”

When it operated at the site, from 1942 to 1996, Grumman “generated, stored, and disposed of toxic contaminants and manufacturing byproducts, such as

arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the site,” the lawsuit charges.

Grumman disposed of contaminants on an adjacent parcel that was donated to Oyster Bay Town and became Bethpage Community Park. Toxins released at the main site and the location of the park created plumes of contaminated groundwater that migrated onto the plaintiffs’ properties, causing “significant” health problems and future health concerns, the suit says.

The suit cites illnesses including breast cancer; colon cancer; throat cancer; prostate cancer; and bladder cancer. Each plaintiff regularly spent time in their yards and had direct contact with surface and subsurface soil and water, the suit alleges.

The suit accuses Grumman of mishandling toxic materials at the site. The company sprayed waste oil on dirt roads to control dust, dumped wastewater containing toxic chemicals into sludge drying beds that later became the community park and used recharge basins to dispose of contaminated wastewater, according to the lawsuit.

Remediation plans, “if any,” remain “inadequate and insufficient given the breadth of the contamination,” the suit says.

The company said it “continues to work closely with the Navy and federal, state, and local government regulatory authorities, as we have done for more than 20 years, to address environmental conditions in Bethpage, through implementation of scientifically-sound and technically-proven remedial measures.”

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