Eighth Circuit Rejects Commercial Efforts to Deny Justice to Poisoned Peruvian Children in Decade-Long Legal Battle
On June 4, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit denied requests for interlocutory appeal and writ of mandamus made by the Missouri company, Doe Run Resources, and its New York parents, The Renco Group and billionaire, Ira Rennert.
The case involves more than 1000 children from La Oroya, Peru, who were forced to breathe toxic air and live in the contamination spewing from Doe Run and Renco’s La Oroya metal processing facility. These children suffered significant cognitive and behavioral damage, many of them exhibiting lead poisoning at levels not seen in the U.S. for nearly half a century.
This isn’t the first time Doe Run and Renco have left a trail of poisoned children in their wake. These same companies were forced to close their Herculaneum, Missouri facility after increasing environmental standards led to push back from local citizens and regulatory agencies, and lawsuits were filed on behalf of injured children in Herculaneum. Doe Run and Renco strategically searched for a more lenient location to move its operations, all while maintaining their headquarters in Missouri.
Despite their home in Missouri, Doe Run and Renco asked the Eighth Circuit to overturn the trial court’s decision that the Peruvian children should be permitted to bring their case in Missouri, and that Missouri law should apply to the case. They argued that the case would have a serious impact on not just Missouri, but American business interests. The appeal to the Eighth Circuit had support from amicus briefs by the U.S and Missouri Chambers of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Missouri, as well as a personal letter from Governor Parson. However, the case will rightfully continue under United States law in the Eastern District Court of Missouri under Judge Catherine Perry.
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