The Hunters Point Shipyard cleanup drama is heating up. As of this week, Tetra Tech must defend itself against 2,000 additional plaintiffs in an amended lawsuit that alleges the company is responsible for cancer cases and other health problems among Hunters Point Naval Shipyard residents.
On Monday, July 1, attorney Charles Bonner tried to serve Tetra Tech an amended lawsuit with the new plaintiffs and called for CEO Dan Batrack and CFO Steven Burdick to be held liable for the company’s actions.
“They can either give [the money] to us, or the jury will pay it because that’s what they owe. It’s not a lot considering 40,000 people [are affected],” Bonner said. “$27 billion is only $75,000 a person, and that’s not enough for the damage they’ve caused, they cost lives. That’s no money at all.”
Despite the powerful message, Bonner was unable to personally serve the papers. No one from the company answered the door or the phone at 605 Market St., forcing Bonner to drop the lawsuit in the office’s mail slot. He then urged his followers to march down to 47 Kearny St. and confront the Tetra Tech spokesperson Sam Singer.
“Tetra Tech set us up! Now we know the game is up!” the protesters chanted.
Bonner and the protesters reached the Kearny Street office at approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday, but security refused to let anyone into the building. After a quick press statement, the crowd left.
“The people who are filing the lawsuit today really don’t represent the vast majority of the people out there,” Singer said. “The claims that are being made are based upon false misleading information from other plaintiffs who have sued Tetra Tech. ”
As we’ve previously reported, the Navy contracted Tetra Tech to clean up the toxic waste left in Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Earlier this year, it came to light that more than half of all soil samples that were supposed to be clean came back as toxic, revealing that the company lied about the results to the public. In May, 147 people filed a $27 billion lawsuit claiming the toxicity in the area caused health issues such as cancer.
Tetra Tech will not admit wrongdoing and claims the soil and surrounding area is safe. Representatives from the company announced it would pay for an additional third party to investigate the soil toxicity results, if the public requested it.
The plaintiffs allege that cancer diagnoses and other ailments are direct results of the toxic waste and Tetra Tech’s improper disposal.
One of the main plaintiffs in attendance Monday, Catherine Muhammad, said she’s lived in the Bayview area for more than 10 years and was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Her kids go to school next to the naval shipyard, and she is worried about the possible effects on her family’s health.
“My four children went to that school, and every day they would come home covered in dust,” Muhammad said. “Those people who worked at the shipyard assured us that we were safe, that no harm would come to us, and here I am, 10 years later, suffering from cancer. They lied to us.”
Barbara Williams, a citizen of Hunters Point, said her son grew up in the Bayview and was diagnosed with colon cancer. She further claimed that a number of residents in Northridge Cooperative Homes in Bayview died of cancer and respiratory problems, something she thinks is likely due to the toxic waste.
A frequent Bayview visitor, Dorothy Cook, said she noticed many people at her church in Bayview who now have cancer as well.
Currently, Tetra Tech is involved in a few other Bay Area projects, including the clean up of Treasure Island Naval Station and the Naval Weapons Station in Concord, Calif., that made headlines last week as a potential location for an immigrant detention center.
As of now, the company continues on with its business and emphasizes its innocence on the situation.
“We have respect for the people who are protesting today, but we don’t believe what they are doing is correct,” Singer said. “We will beat the allegations back in court.”