SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Contractors who worked with the U.S. government on the atomic bomb that dropped on Nagasaki during World War II are not entitled to immunity from a lawsuit by U.S. citizens who suffered from radiation during testing, the 9th Circuit ruled.
Barbara Jean Phillips and five other plaintiffs sued E.I. du Pont, General Electric and other contractors who worked with the government at the Hanford Nuclear Weapons Reservation in southeastern Washington.
Judge Schroeder ruled that the contractors cannot claim immunity because the Price-Anderson Act, a federal law relating to nuclear accidents, was enacted before the courts recognized the government contractor immunity defense.
Also, the act contains a liability scheme that precludes reliance on such immunity.