Lawsuits filed against companies who caused contamination in Franklin

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FRANKLIN, Ind. – Parents and homeowners filed two lawsuits in state and federal court this week against the Amphenol Corporation, Borgwarner Inc., Borgwarner PDS (Peru), Franklin Power Products Inc. and 400 Forsythe LLC. Those filing the federal case want a jury trial.

In the federal class action lawsuit filed on December 3, the plaintiffs include Frances Denney and Arthur Terhune, who both live in Franklin, and their neighbors who live within the plume. The suit says the plaintiffs are asking for payment for the damages caused by the companies as a way to hold them accountable.

Denney lives in one of the homes in which a mitigation system was installed after they said testing found cancer-causing vapors coming into her home.

“We are right in the major plume,” Denney said. “We have had high levels. So, we are very concerned.”

This lawsuit states they are asking the judge to order the companies to bear the medical costs including testing, exams and diagnostic screenings related to exposure of the Amphenol site’s contaminants. They also want compensation for their homes’ property value losses and punitive damages.

A part of the lawsuit reads, “The presence of site contaminants presently impacts plaintiffs, causes a diminution in their property values, is a blight on the plaintiffs’ community, causes annoyance, anxiety, and inconvenience and deprives plaintiffs of their free use and enjoyment of their property.”

A second lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Marion County by Kari Rhinehart, on behalf of the estate of Emma Grace Findley, Jamie Bromley, and Robert Bromley. Emma Grace died of a rare, cancerous brain tumor merely four months after being diagnosed. The suit is also against the companies named in the federal lawsuit.

In both lawsuits, those who filed said they are owed compensation because of the companies’ handling and failure to get rid of toxic and hazardous waste, which is the by-product of the former Franklin Power Products and Bendix Corporation, and because of the way they previously handled the remediation of toxic substances, including known cancer-causing substances, impacting the plaintiffs’ homes.

In the federal suit, the residents said they had no idea, and no reason to question, the existence of hazardous contamination inside nor around their homes. They also state no one from the companies sent them any form of information about the disposal of by-products into the sewer lines.

“We want people to be held accountable because we didn’t have that information when we went to buy our home,” Denney said.

They said they were not notified of any issue until 2018, which is decades after the companies knew of an issue based on records. Because of the delay in providing information, the plaintiffs state they feel the companies knowingly hid what they knew about the hazardous contamination.

“We would have never bought our home, we bought it in 2010, if we would have known,” Denney said.

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