$320 Million in Punitive Damages Over Missouri Smelter

August 1, 2011

A St. Louis jury has awarded $320 million in punitive damages in the lawsuit against the former owners of a lead smelter in the eastern Missouri town of Herculaneum.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the jury awarded the punitive damages on Friday, a day after awarding $38.5 million in compensatory damages for health problems and lost lifetime income.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 16 residents of Herculaneum and named Texas-based Fluor Corp., Virginia-based A.T. Massey Coal and Doe Run Investment Holding Co. The holding company is not affiliated with The Doe Run Co., the present owner of the smelter.

The suit focused on the period of 1986 to 1994. High levels of lead in the blood can lower IQ and cause problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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