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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that North Carolina families can not pursue lawsuits against the company that was responsible for contaminating their drinking water decades ago. Potential claims from other affected people could also be blocked, media reports said this week.
Water contamination caused by CTS Corp.'s electronics plant some 30 years ago was discovered decades after the facility was closed but a North Carolina law bans lawsuits filed more than 10 years after the event from being heard. With a 7-2 majority, the Supreme Court decided that that law was not superseded by federal law stating that victims could seek damages two years after the contamination had come to light.
While the ruling only concerns claims against the electronics company, it is expected to have implications for another landmark case taking place in North Carolina. Families of thousands of victims of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune who have spent years in legal battles with the Navy are likely to see their claims brought to an end too, according to reports.
Water contamination at the Navy base is estimated to have affected around 13,000 families, with children born there between the 1950s and 1985 as much as four times more likely to develop serious birth defects such as spina bifida, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed.