For over fifty years, workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) in western Kentucky were exposed to dangerous amounts of toxic radiation--largely without their knowledge. Since the news of the exposure exploded onto the national press in the late 1990s, over six thousand compensation claims have been filed with the Department of Labor, and more than $175 million has been paid out. Other workers--joined by the Department of Justice--have opted to file separate lawsuits, claiming that the *1252 PGDP's operators fraudulently withheld information from them. Individuals with property adjacent to the PGDP have also filed suit. The legal fallout from the PGDP contamination is destined to keep federal courts busy for years to come.

This Comment focuses on just one group of PGDP workers and their families. This group consists of about thirty individuals who, over the course of the last quarter century, were exposed in various degrees to the dangerous toxins present at the PGDP. But, unlike the other workers filing compensation claims and lawsuits, these individuals have experienced no physical symptoms associated with their exposure. To the contrary, they are all healthy men and women. They are not sick, nor do they claim to be sick. This group of PGDP affiliates instead sued the plant's operators under a completely novel theory-- that they have suffered asymptomatic damage to their DNA. Their claim was rejected by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Rainer v. Union Carbide Corp., a case of first impression for the federal appellate courts...

 

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