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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hanford offers sent to hundreds

A law firm representing several nuclear contractors has sent confidential settlement offers to hundreds of plaintiffs exposed to radiation from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation during World War II and the early years of the Cold War who later developed hypothyroidism. Plaintiffs claim the thyroid disorder is linked to plutonium produced at the site, and the settlement offer could represent a major movement in the long-running Hanford downwinders’ litigation.

Groups: Hanford study underpredicted levels

A $27 million government study to estimate radiation doses received by the public from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s weapons factories is being called into question by other scientific organizations and will be a point of controversy in trials of Hanford “downwinders” next year. The Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction study was touted as scientifically sound when it was launched in 1988. But subsequent testing of the computer model used by Battelle’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory to develop the study showed that it consistently underpredicted emissions against actual measurements from Hanford radiation incidents, a lawyer for the downwinders told a federal judge in Spokane this week.

DOE offers to settle claims

The U.S. Department of Energy has tentatively agreed to settle the claims of 139 people with thyroid disease – the largest settlement so far in a massive civil suit brought by people exposed as children to clouds of radioactive iodine from Hanford during World War II and the early years of the Cold War. Details of the proposed settlement, which must be accepted by the individual plaintiffs, were filed this week in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

U.S. settles with some Hanford downwinders

The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to settle the claims of 139 people with thyroid disease -- the largest settlement so far in a massive civil suit brought by people exposed as children to clouds of radioactive iodine from Hanford during World War II and the early years of the Cold War.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers decry Hanford payment offers

Sparks flew in U.S. District Court in Spokane Wednesday over settlement offers to 234 people with thyroid cancer who were exposed to radiation from Hanford in the early rush to manufacture nuclear weapons. The latest offers, made Monday, went to people with estimated doses of under 10 rads of radiation. The defense team also recently made 26 offers of up to $150,000 for people with dose estimates over 10 rads, which have been accepted by 18.

Hanford radiation plaintiff near death

A woman suing Hanford contractors over her thyroid cancer, whose request for an expedited federal trial was denied last year by a Spokane judge, lies near death in a Longview, Wash., hospice. Deborah Clark, 61, was transferred from the Oregon Health & Science University hospital in Portland to the hospice on Tuesday, according to her mother, Betty Hiatt, of Vancouver, Wash. Clark’s thyroid cancer had spread to her bones; she cannot walk and needs sedation for extreme pain.

Hanford downwinder Clark moved to hospice care

A woman suing Hanford contractors over her thyroid cancer, whose request for an expedited federal trial was denied last year by a Spokane judge, lies near death in a Longview, Wash., hospice. Deborah Clark, 61, was transferred from the Oregon Health & Science University hospital in Portland to the hospice on Tuesday, according to her mother, Betty Hiatt of Vancouver, Wash.

Deputies say deaths may be suicides

The Chattaroy couple found dead in a trailer home Friday tried to commit suicide in mid-October by overdosing on medication, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan said. The couple, Warren A. Fugitt, 78, and Harriet A. Fugitt, 72, both died from gunshot wounds to the chest. Police initially called it a murder-suicide but now say they are not sure if one shot the other or if they each shot themselves.

Hastened downwinder trial denied

A judge today denied a sick woman’s motion for an expedited trial in the long-running Hanford “downwinders” lawsuits. U.S. District Court Judge William F. Nielsen said he sympathized with plaintiff Deborah Clark, who has late-stage thyroid cancer, but felt it was inappropriate to take her case out of sequence.

Sick downwinder seeks trial

With the fingers of her right hand, Deborah Clark presses firmly on a gaping surgical hole in her neck. It’s the only way she can speak. The words that emerge are painful. Clark, 60, has late-stage thyroid cancer, which has stilled her voice, stolen her energy and spread clusters of tumors to her lungs. The former hospital reimbursement specialist hasn’t been able to work since 2004.

Hanford contractors ready to settle

For the first time in the protracted Hanford downwinders lawsuit, the lead lawyer for government contractors said Tuesday his companies are ready to offer cash settlements to a few of the thousands of people who believe their illnesses were caused by radiation releases. U.S. District Judge William F. Nielsen hosted more than a dozen attorneys in Spokane for a status conference on the 18-year-old downwinders lawsuit, which has cost taxpayers more than $57 million to defend.

Settlements being readied for some downwinders

For the first time in the protracted Hanford downwinders lawsuit, the lead lawyer for government contractors said Tuesday his companies are ready to offer cash settlements to a few of the thousands of people who believe their illnesses were caused by radiation releases.

Ruling may clear way for Hanford payout

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractors in the massive downwinders lawsuit, raising hopes for a legal settlement for as many as 2,000 radiation-exposed people after 18 years of court battles and millions of dollars in litigation costs. The high court’s one-line denial of the contractors’ appeal was announced Monday.

Ruling backs downwinders

A major ruling Friday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for 1,000 to 2,000 Hanford "downwinders" to sue Hanford contractors for radiation damages.