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Lockheed Corp. To Pay $5M in Suit

December 10, 2000

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ Lockheed Martin Corp. will pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit by more than 300 Burbank residents who claimed they got sick from toxic chemicals released during decades of manufacturing.

Superior Court Judge Carl J. West gave final approval to the settlement on Friday, calling it ``a reasonable and fair settlement.″

The defense contractor has already paid $93 million to settle claims by thousands of other residents and former workers who also said they were sickened by the manufacturing byproducts that allegedly contaminated air, soil and ground water.

But the company has never admitted that anyone was harmed by toxins, including hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6, that were released in Burbank.

The settlement includes about 200 claims awaiting trial in state court, plus 140 claims dismissed earlier this year due to lack of evidence. Attorney Thomas G. Foley Jr. said he hasn’t determined how much each of his clients will receive after legal costs and lawyers’ fees.

A spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin, Gail E. Rymer, said she was pleased with the outcome.

``We feel that the system works,″ she said.

But some plaintiffs said they’d hoped for a larger settlement. Lynnell Murray-Madrid asked that she and her sister be excluded from the settlement to pursue individual claims.

``Our illnesses are directly linked to those chemicals,″ she told the judge. ``We lived near Lockheed our entire lifetime, and most of all, we want to see that Lockheed Martin is held accountable for their actions.″

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