Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.bloomberg.com
U.S. Navy personnel who were exposed to radiation from Japan’s wrecked Fukushima plant during earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in 2011 can sue the power station’s operator in California, a court ruled.
U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino in San Diego denied the request by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) to dismiss the class-action lawsuit based on jurisdictional issues and have it heard in Japan instead.
“Although Japan is an adequate alternative forum, the balance of the private and public interest factors suggest that it would be more convenient for the parties to litigate in a U.S. court,” Sammartino wrote in her Oct. 28 ruling.
The sailors and their families claimed the company known as Tepco, Japan’s biggest power utility, was negligent in the design and operation of the Fukushima plant, according to their amended complaint filed in February. They’re seeking to create a fund exceeding $1 billion to monitor their health and pay for medical expenses, on top of unspecified damages.
Tepco had argued the U.S. military had contributed to the plaintiffs’ harm, limiting the utility’s liability.
Tepco spokesman Satoshi Togawa declined to comment on the lawsuit.
In Japan, an inquest committee has recommended that local prosecutors indict former Tepco chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and two executives over negligence claims leading to the disaster. Prosecutors in Tokyo said this month they would decide on charges by Feb. 2.
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