When a corporation's negligence affects members of a community by causing economic or physical harm, Kansas City attorneys have been able to prosecute any wrongful parties, holding them responsible for their illegal actions in the courts.
Cementing this idea, it has been recently reported that Burns & McDonell Engineering Company was forced to pay $10 million dollars to 18 different farmers who were all named as plaintiffs in a class action suit filed in 2009.
According to court documents, the problem stemmed from a Missouri leather manufacturing company, Prime Tanning Corporation, which utilized a dangerous cancer-causing chemical called hexavalent chromium in its tanning processes.
While the company intended to convert the chemical to trivalent chromium, a non-harmful substance, so the byproducts of the tanning process could be re-used for fertilizer, court documents say that the process failed.
Consequently, though the company denied the dangerous chemical was contained in the fertilizer, the documents state that from 1983 until 2009 that Burns & McDonell – which had done consulting work for Prime Tanning – distributed fertilizer tainted with hexavalent chromium to local farms.
An investigation and lawsuit was then undertaken after residents of the affected communities expressed concern over an unusually high number of brain tumors in their region.
Interestingly, when the investigation began, Prime Tanning firmly denied using hexavalent chromium. However, The Kansas City Star reports that documents were later uncovered showing that the tanning plant in fact stored between 10,000 and 1 million pounds of the chemical.
Prime Tanning later filed for bankruptcy, leaving Burns & McDonnell to bear the entire brunt of the fiscal sanctions to be paid out to the plaintiffs.
Should other citizens feel that a company's wrongdoing is adversely affecting the well-being of the community, this case illustrates that Kansas City attorneys can help victims fight back and attain justice.