Downwinders Case Overturned in Landmark Decision - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Downwinders Case Overturned in Landmark Decision

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SAN FRANCISCO- A federal appeals court has overturned a ruling in favor of one of the plaintiffs in the Hanford Downwinders case.

The decision sends the case back to the lower courts and opens up the possibility for a new trial for some plaintiffs who lost before.

KNDU talked with the plaintiff whose judgement was overturned Tuesday.

Gloria Wise says she didn't do it for the money, or for herself, she sued to bring attention to the issue and hopefully get justice for so many people she says got thyroid cancer from radiation.

"I had it, my wife had it, both of my sisters had it, my mother, i mean it was an epidemic as far as i'm concerned," said Larry Wise, her husband who's also involved in the case and had cancer himself. 

Larry Wise didn't want to go on camera, but KNDU talked to him on the phone.

He's one of numerous Hanford Downwinders involved in the landmark decision from the federal courts.

His wife Gloria was originally awarded $300,000 for her thyroid cancer, that decision was overturned.

"It didn't surprise me at all, you know the government has spent over $100 million on this thing, it's kind of like the varsity against the JV, not through intelligence but as far as money and funds are concerned you know," he said. 

The plaintiff's allege radioiodine emissions from hanford's purex plant in the 40s gave them thyroid cancer.

A court ruled against Wise, saying the statute of limitations had run out by the time she sued.

At the same time, the courts sent three other plaintiff's who originally lost, back to the lower courts for a new trial.

Gloria Hope's case was thrown out years ago, she won't get a new trial.

"If people don't stand up and fight against it then it'll just continue on, so somebody has to," Hope said.

Dupont, one of the defendants in the case, had this to say.

"We are currently reviewing decision rendered by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and it would not be appropriate to comment til we've had a chance to thoroughly review the ruling," said Michelle Reardon, a spokesperson. 

The Department of Energy and the other contractors involved in this case didn't return calls for comment.

As for Gloria wise, who's win was overturned, her husband tells KNDU they didn't truly lose because it was overturned on a technicality.