The Pollocks, former neighbors of the long-neglected West Avenue landfill, sued the City after their daughter, Sarah, developed ALL leukemia -- which her doctors later agreed was caused by in-utero exposure to benzene which escaped from the landfill (piggybacking on a lot of methane) into the Pollocks' home.
The Pollocks discovered the methane/benzene problem when they sold the home while Sarah was undergoing treatment (at a loss, and well below the asking price). Sarah was treated successfully, although according the Court's opinion, there is a 20-percent chance of relapse.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs found a long paper trail showing that the City knew of the landfill's problems for many years, and took its time addressing the issues. A jury found in favor of the Pollocks, and the appeals court affirmed. But the Supreme Court disagrees, claiming the City didn't know it was damaging the Pollocks' property, and that there's not enough evidence to show that Sarah's leukemia was caused by benzene leaking from the landfill into the Pollocks' home while her mother was pregnant with her. Read the opinion here, and look for analysis in next week's issue of the QueQue.