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In a Japan court, with no jury, U.S. sailors exposed to Fukushima radiation, would not get a fair trial

U.S. sailors filed a class action in the Southern District of California in 2012 claiming radiation they were exposed to following the meltdown of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan while aboard U.S. vessels on a humanitarian mission has caused cancer, brain tumors, birth defects in their children and other rare health problems. Some have even died, according to their attorneys.

If U.S. courts dismiss the two related cases – Cooper et al. v. TEPCO et al. and Bartel et al. v. Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc. et al. – the sailors could bring their claims in Japan under its Compensation for Nuclear Damage Act.

Sammartino did clarify throughout the hearing that she would not waste her or the attorneys’ time by holding a court hearing if she wasn’t going to consider their arguments.

Class attorney Charles Bonner of Sausalito, California implored the judge not to dismiss the litigation, noting that attorneys have not been able to conduct discovery in the case, and that the defendants’ motions to dismiss were “based on legal arguments,” not facts.

Bonner suggested class counsel needed to obtain contracts between GE, which designed and helped to maintain the nuclear reactors for 40 years in Fukushima, and TEPCO, which operated the plant. Bonner said the contracts likely contain a choice-of-law provision that would indicate whether the parties would agree to litigate in the U.S. or Japan.

“Our sailors have already been here five years. They need some resolution in this court,” Bonner said……..

Edwards suggested if the Southern District of California dismissed the cases, the sailors wouldn’t “go to Japan and hire Japanese lawyers.”

Bonner buoyed Edwards’ point, noting a declaration from Japanese lawyers who said the class would not get a fair trial in Japan, where no jury would decide the case’s merits……..

Sammartino took the matter under submission and indicated that she will issue a written ruling.https://www.courthousenews.com/attorneys-implore-judge-to-keep-sailors-fukushima-case-in-u-s/

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November 17, 2018 - Posted by | Japan, Legal

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