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Jury Awards S.A. Family $17M In Landfill Case

Family Blames Toxic Chemicals For Daughter's Leukemia

Feb 28, 2003

A jury awarded a San Antonio family $17 million after the panel concluded that a now 8-year-old girl developed leukemia due to toxic chemicals from a city landfill.

According to the lawsuit, toxic chemicals escaped from the West Avenue Landfill and poisoned the daughter of Charles Pollock (pictured, right), who moved into the home eight years ago along with his wife, who was pregnant at the time with their daughter Sarah.

The landfill was located behind the Pollock's backyard.

The jury found that the city failed to replace an often-broken gas collection system at the landfill.

An attorney for the Pollocks presented evidence that the highest concentrations of toxic gas, including benzene, were found directly behind the Pollock home.

"The circumstances were very unique to the Pollocks, said Sylvan Lang, the plaintiff's attorney. "Because of their exact location, Tracey's pregnancy and the landfill gas we contend they were exposed to."

Charles Pollock said that he felt the city should have informed him and his neighbors about the potential danger.

"I don't think any parent wants to watch their child die," Pollock said. "That was always on our minds."

But City Attorney Michael Hodge argued that nothing from the landfill, which has since been covered with dirt, caused the leukemia.

"Our evidence, we felt, showed that there was no gas escaping to the neighborhood from that landfill," Hodge said. "The landfill was monitored at a regular basis."

The city plans to appeal the jury's decision.

The Pollocks have since moved out of the home and their daughter is now in remission.

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