CHICAGO — The first Sterigenics case to go to trial will soon be in the hands of the jury.
With 760 cases against the company pending in Cook County — Sue Kamuda’s lawsuit was the first one to go to trial.
Kamuda, 70, has lived a third of a mile away from the facility for decades and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. In 2018, a federal report was released finding people living near Sterigenics in Willowbrook were exposed to elevated concentrations of ethylene oxide.
“This isn’t just about Sue,” her attorney said. “It’s about what happens going forward. It’s about making right what’s happened in the past. It’s about teaching lessons.”
The area ranked among the highest for cancer risk in the country.
The facility used ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment and other goods and was shuttered in 2019.
Kamuda’s son Brian was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma but the judge severed the two cases.
Kamuda testified last week she had no idea the Willowbrook home where she lived for decades sat near a facility releasing toxic emissions.
In closing arguments, the defense asked the jury the following question, “Was Ms. Kamuda’s exposure to ethylene oxide a cause of her breast cancer?”
Attorney Tony Romanucci, who is not involved in Sue Kamuda’s case, was observing in the packed courtroom. He’s representing hundreds of other plaintiffs suing Sterigenics.
Romanucci said following the outcome of this case and two other cases scheduled to go to trial this fall, there’s still a possibility some of the cases could be consolidated.