Hostess Cake Plant Sued Over Asbestos - Knight Ridder Newspapers - February 18, 1998
Hostess Cake Plant Sued Over Asbestos
Knight Ridder Newspapers
February 18, 1998
A Chicago lawyer known for suing over hot consumer issues said Tuesday he was targeting the company that owns the local Hostess baking plant shut down for asbestos contamination, claiming that millions of consumers and workers may have been harmed.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Cook County (Ill.) Circuit Court, alleges that executives of the Hostess bakery in Schiller Park, Ill., knew the boiler room contained asbestos and lied to workers when ordering them to remove pipes and insulation.
Kenneth Moll, who has filed class-action suits against the tobacco industry, manufacturers of silicone breast implants and promoter of 1997 Mike Tyson/Evander Holyfield heavy-weight boxing bout, said class members in this case could include all workers in the plant for the last 25 years.
Consumers who consumed the cakes also could be part of the suit if it receives class certification, Moll said.
At a Chicago press conference, he alleged that "uncontained" asbestos was "present at the plant for over 25 years ... in the same room where the chocolate tanks were located and in direct vicinity to where the chocolate tanks were located and in direct vicinity to where Hostess snack cakes were made."
On Jan. 11 asbestos was removed from the bakery -- owned by Interstate Bakeries Corp. in Kansas City, Mo. -- and state environmental and health officials found asbestos contamination. They ordered the plant closed on Jan. 26, and Interstate recalled millions of Twinkies, Hostess cakes and Dolly Madison products from 21 states the next day.
The plant reopened last week after the state approved its cleanup.
Interstate could not be reached for comment Tuesday.