Lawyers filed 20 more cases Wednesday in a lawsuit against Grain Processing Corporation in Muscatine alleging the company has released toxic material that have harmed them. Attorney Tony Buzbee is leading the legal team that already has filed a lawsuit against the company.
“Initially we’re seeking to speed up this process of cleaning up the air and changing their procedures and the way that they do their business. Ultimately we seek remediations of the homes, and we want to put the homes back in the condition they would have been in but for GPC’s conduct,” Buzbee says.
He says there are thousands of homes in a five-mile area around the plant that have been impacted. “They release several kinds of chemicals and some of these chemicals are very corrosive, and so any metal components in the homes, including things like nails any metals on the outside of the home, air conditioning ducts, any kind of metal component, the corrosion is accelerated,” Buzbee explains.
“So what it requires is a full-scale inspection and remediation of the homes.” The state has also filed a lawsuit against the company, but Buzbee says they two cases are on different tracks. He says the state is attempting to force changes in GPC’s process and assess fines and is not seeking compensation for people whose homes have been damaged.
“So they are really two separate animals.” Buzbee expects more legal action. “We probably will continue to file cases for the next several months, so it’s gonna be complicated if nothing else because of the amount of people involved. But we will at some point ask if the judge is willing to have all the cases consolidated into one court,” Buzbee says.
Buzbee’s firm is in Houston, Texas and he is working with the Larew Law Office in Iowa City and the Hope Law Firm in Des Moines. The initial suit filed Monday in Muscatine County District Court represented 11 people.