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$450,000 Award Among 29 Settlements Reached In Kerr-McGee Suits

Nov 26, 2003 | Aberdeen American News

The family of man who died after being exposed to chemicals from an Avoca wood treatment plant was awarded more than $450,000 in a settlement.

The agreement was one of 29 settlements filed Wednesday related to the former Kerr-McGee plant.

The settlements stem from lawsuits, including some wrongful-death claims, filed by numerous families who lived near the plant, which made railroad ties since at least the mid-1940s.

The families said the plant spread three highly toxic substances, creosote, arsenic and benzene, into the air. The chemicals caused individuals to develop cancer, birth defects and other diseases.

Wednesday's settlements range from $2,700 to $457,360. Most of the settlements are under $20,000 and only two are higher than $100,000.

In the largest case, Mary Ann Trinovitch, administrator to the estate of her husband, John Gorzkowski, claimed her husband was exposed to the chemicals when they lived in Avoca. The chemicals caused Gorzkowski, who also had three children, to develop leukemia and die in 1988 at the age of 32.

In another case, James Manley, administrator to the estate of Gail Manley, was awarded $234,550 in a settlement. Manley said his sister developed liver disease from the chemicals and died in 2001 when she was 41.

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