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St. Clair County jury awards $72 million verdict in environmental exposure suit

A team of lawyers has landed what it believes to be the largest jury verdict ever in St. Clair County.

Greg Cade and Kevin McKie of The Environmental Law Group (Birmingham, Ala.), Roe Frazer of The Frazer Law Firm (Nashville, Tenn.), and Lloyd M. Cueto of Cueto Law (Belleville) secured the verdict last Friday, announcing it formally this morning.

An Illinois jury awarded $72 million to 12 plaintiffs in a personal injury case against Cerro Flow Products LLC. The company is a subsidiary of The Marmon Group who was also a named defendant.

Cerro owned and operated a secondary copper smelting plant in Sauget for more than 50 years.  The plaintiffs alleged that the plant emitted dioxins and furans for decades through its furnace operations and open pit burning.

All 12 plaintiffs lived in East St. Louis, in the neighborhoods that surrounded the Cerro plant and incurred more than four decades of exposure to the chemical compounds. The exposure caused the plaintiffs to develop a variety of cancers, including but not limited to female breast cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and one case of male breast cancer.

Attorney Lloyd M. Cueto said the Oct. 15 award brings justice to the lifelong residents of East St. Louis whose lives were drastically impacted by a lifetime of toxic emissions.

“We had an incredibly attentive and caring jury in this case. The trial, which lasted three weeks, required a detailed and scientific explanation as to what dioxins are, how they cause cancer, and why they were a by-product of Cerro’s daily operation for decades.  Our plaintiffs are wonderful people who have faced tremendous adversity in their battles with cancer.  Every one of them had the courage to testify at trial. The entire trial team thanks the jurors for their service and thanks our clients for the trust they put in us.”

An additional 1,200 cancer-victim plaintiffs in East St. Louis and Cahokia, have filed a subsequent lawsuit against Cerro Flow, Cueto said.  Another 10,000 residents who have not been diagnosed to date have also filed suit regarding the toxic exposure.


  1. Dixie Kress on October 22, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    How do you file a claim I have lived in Sauget since 1964 I live directly behind Cerro

  2. Philip Fox on October 26, 2021 at 10:59 am

    What about employees that worked there for 20,30,40 years

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