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Three Mile Island Lawsuits Reinstated

by Melissa Lovin


The Supreme Court ruled Friday, June 9, 2000, against Three Mile Island's nuclear plant owners according to an Associated Press article on Saturday. Nearly 2,000 lawsuits have been filed by people who say their health problems are a result of the nation's worse nuclear accident which happened at TMI in 1979.

The rejected appeal in which plant owners argued that, because 10 of the lawsuits--deemed "test cases--were thrown out by a trial judge, all should be thrown out.

During the partial meltdown in 1979, some radioactive gases were released. Almost 2,000 people sued the plant owners saying that exposure to radiation caused their health problems ranging from cancer to birth defects.

U.S. District Chief Judge Sylvia H. Rambo ruled that the majority of the scientific evidence in 10 cases was insufficient for trial resulting in Rambo's decision to throw out nearly all 2,000 of the cases.

In November of 1999, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upeld her ruling on the expert testimony offered by the ten people in the test cases, but it also revived the remainder of the 2,000 lawsuits, arguing the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to have their cases heard by a jury.

As a result of Friday's ruling, representatives from both sides stated that the disputes would return to trial court level.