MESA, Ariz. --Two companies and a utility named in a massive groundwater contamination lawsuit have agreed to settle out of court just weeks before a trial begins.
Siemens Corp., Beckman Instruments, and the Salt River Project agreed to pay a group of south Scottsdale and Phoenix residents an undisclosed amount. The plaintiffs claim they contracted cancer and other serious diseases from water contaminated with the industrial solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, a suspected carcinogen.
Motorola and the city of Phoenix remain defendants in the lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial June 15.
Plumes of the chemical -- used widely for cleaning circuit boards in the 1960s and '70s -- were found near the Phoenix and Scottsdale Motorola semiconductor plants in the 1980s. The Scottsdale plume runs along the city's eastern border north to about McDonald Drive.
The settlement was hashed out recently and has not been formalized or brought before the judge, but lawyers hope to work out details before the trial starts. The remaining defendants, Motorola and Phoenix, did not settle and are set for trial June 15.
``From an economic standpoint, it made sense for us to settle,'' said SRP spokesman Jeff Lane. ``The trial is expected to go anywhere from three to six months long, and we felt this was the reasonable thing to do under the circumstances.''
On the other hand, Lane said, this settlement does not mean SRP believes it is liable for the personal injury claims and its timing is completely coincidental.
The case includes 18 people in south Scottsdale. A similar personal injury lawsuit, involving about 60 west Phoenix plaintiffs, is pending.
Return to the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water News Homepage