WILLOWBROOK, Ill. — The woman behind the civil trial against the company, Sterigenics, testifies Thursday. With 760 cases against the company pending in Cook County — this is the first one to go to trial.
Sue Kamuda, 70, has lived a third of a mile away from the facility for decades and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.
According to the courtroom trial, she described the moment as awful.
“I never expected it before I felt the lump -she said- I never expected it,” Kamuda said.
Jurors were shown a picture of her lumpectomy scar that she said is hard to look at.
She testified she had no idea she lived near a facility emitting a carcinogen until a federal report released in August of 2018 found people living near Sterigenics in Willowbrook were exposed to elevated concentrations of ethylene oxide and 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.
Brian’s trial for his case will happen at a later date.
The plantiffs rested their case and the judge has ruled the jury can consider punitive as well as compensatory damages.
The trial is expected to go through the week.