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East Chicago Residents Allege Officals Knew About Pollution


East Chicago residents are taking steps to open a fifth lawsuit over lead and arsenic contamination there.

Residents allege city and state officials knew about the pollution as far back as 1972, when the West Calumet Housing Complex was built.

More than 250 current and former residents, including 187 children, filed notices last week that they intend to sue the city of East Chicago.

Eric Pavlack is one of the attorneys representing the residents.

“The governmental agencies and personnel…knew that more than 1,000 people were being exposed to these chemicals,” he said in a statement.

Currently, there are at least six lawsuits and administrative complaints pending — against the City of East Chicago; local, state and federal agencies and private companies. Indiana University law professor Anthony Page says this might be a good strategy.

“I would go in and sue as many people as I could," Page says. "And in the long process of litigation and discovery, it would come out as to who in fact was most likely to be liable."

The other lawsuits and complaints have been filed in the past two months. Some are seeking to be named class action lawsuits.

Page says the lawsuits could take at least five years and result in billions of dollars in liabilities.

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