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Raytheon triumphs in long lawsuit with St. Pete homeowners | Environment

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Raytheon triumphs in long lawsuit with St. Pete homeowners
Raytheon triumphs in long lawsuit with St. Pete homeowners

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- With little evidence that Raytheon's environmental contamination was the direct cause of their declining property values, home and condo-owners in western St. Petersburg accepted a small settlement Thursday in a lawsuit that had dated back to 2008.

A U.S. District judge ruled Thursday to accept a settlement allowing homeowners in the area to receive $2,500 in exchange for agreeing not to pursue further litigation in the case.  The residents of St. Pete's Azalea Neighborhood were looking for significantly more.

Raytheon inherited the toxic waste plume when it purchased the plant at 1501 72nd St. N. in 1995, but the pollution was kept secret for more than a decade.  In 2008, residents filed a lawsuit when they found out they were within the plume.

Lawyers for the corporation won an early legal battle, eliminating any claims of health problems from the suit.  But it took three years to knock down claims that the plunging property values in Azalea were because of the pollution disclosures.

Raytheon Spokesman Jonathan D Kasle released this statement:

"Raytheon is very pleased by the decision of the plaintiffs and their lawyers today to dismiss litigation involving the former E-Systems facility in St. Petersburg.

"After years of research and analysis, the plaintiffs and their lawyers stated in a court filing today that: 1) there is no threat to health in the community; 2) the statistical evidence developed by the experts does not show diminished property values from these issues; and 3) it is not possible to certify a class.

"This is a major boost for the community as it allows Raytheon to continue its focus on an aggressive remediation plan endorsed by the FDEP after extensive review.

"In addition, Raytheon has consistently assured the community that it will continue to act as a good corporate neighbor. In support of this pledge, the company announced today that it has chosen to provide funds for home improvements to participating property owners within the FDEP-approved remedial area.

"Each side will bear its own attorneys' fees."

The plaintiffs will not have to pay their attorneys anything.

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