Dioxin in the Courts

March 22, 2016 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Cerro Flow Seeks Dioxin Survey Before Bellwether Trials

Cerro Flow Products, a manufacturer of copper tube for the plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, and industrial markets, has asked the Illinois court hearing pollution claims against it to survey random plaintiffs to determine whether dioxin is present in their blood.


Plaintiffs in an Illinois state court in the Greater St. Louis area have alleged that they have been injured by Cerro’s recycling operations over the past decades. The company is facing dozens of lawsuits on behalf of about 12,000 plaintiffs.

According to the claims, “Cerro has … burned, melted, incinerated or otherwise pyrolized massive quantities of scrap items, producing large quantities of dioxins and furans, some of the most toxic chemicals on earth, all of which activities caused releases of large quantities of [s]ubstances into the environment.”

Each claimant is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

Cerro’s Motion

In its motion, Cerro asked the court to allow tests to be performed on 375 plaintiffs, chosen at random, to determine the levels of dioxin, if any, in their blood. It asked the court to permit these tests before it holds bellwether trials.

According to the company’s counsel, these tests “would allow Cerro to file dispositive motions for any claims where it is clear that a plaintiff cannot meet his or her burden on either the issue of duty or causation.”


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