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Georgia power company the target of several lawsuits

Most of the time people don't think about the potential harm their environment can do to their health and longevity, at least in their own neighborhoods. But sometimes elements present in the ground, water system or even the air can lead to such health conditions as asthma, seizures, chronic pain and cancer. Often, these problems aren't caused by naturally occurring conditions, but from byproducts and other waste from nearby plants and businesses.

Several residents in Juliette, Georgia, have filed lawsuits against Plant Scherer for illnesses sustained by property owner negligence. A man who has lived near the coal-fired power plant for almost 15 years was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, despite never having smoked. Radon, the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States behind smoking, has been found in high concentrations in neighborhood water sources.

Many other elements which naturally occur in the environment have been found in the water supply near Plant Scherer, but in levels that do not occur naturally, say lawyers who have had the community's water tested. More than a dozen lawsuits accuse the plant of knowingly releasing pollution that sickened residents and, in one case, allegedly resulted in wrongful death. Among accusations of battery, fraud, and negligence, the lawsuit claims racketeering on the part of Plant Scherer, Georgia Power and its parent company Southern Co. for avoiding the cost of installing a lining in the coal ash pond to prevent harmful chemicals from leaching into the consumer water supply.

These lawsuits illustrate how residents who feel they have been harmed by the practices of a nearby business may be entitled to compensation for their injuries or illnesses.

Source: The Telegraph, " Plant Scherer pollution claims prompt wave of lawsuits," S. Heather Duncan, Jan. 31, 2013

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