Court orders U.S. company to pay $500m in damages for dumping cancer causing chemicals in Taiwan

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Taiwan’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a U.S. electronic company to pay 500 million dollars in damages to 486 workers and families for  dumping cancer-causing chemical solvents at factory sites in Taiwan.

In October 2017, the Taiwan High Court ruled that U.S. electronics firm RCA and its successor companies must pay 718.4 million Taiwan dollars in damages to 486 workers and their families.

RCA’s successor companies include Technicolor S.A., Thomson Consumer Electronics (Burmuda) and General Electric.

The Supreme Court upheld the court’s decision but asked it to examine the claims of 246 plaintiffs to clarify the association between their symptoms and past exposure to toxic solvents.

“We don’t think we lost the battle,” Joseph Lin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told a news conference outside the court, vowing to continue to help those plaintiffs.
According to Joseph, it is meaningful that Taiwan’s Supreme Court upheld liability of RCA and its successor companies.

With dozens of affected workers and their supporters, Liu Ho-yun, who heads a self-help group organised by former RCA employees, said they had been fighting for justice for two decades.

“We won’t stop until the last plaintiff wins,” she said.

At factory sites in Taoyuan and Chupei in northern Taiwan, run by RCA from the late 1960s to 1992, untreated solvents were discharged into secret wells and polluted the groundwater.

According to the self-help group, more than 200 former RCA workers have died of liver and lung cancer since the 1990s.

The case has been described as the worst-ever work-related health incident in Taiwan. (dpa/NAN)

Biola Lawal

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