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Transcript - Hostess Litigation - CLTV News - June 24, 2003

Hostess Litigation
Chicago, Illinois
February 17, 1998 4:30 p.m.

Monica Schneider: Hello, I'm Monica Schneider. Topping our news off this hour, well more troubles for the hostess plant in Schiller Park. A nationwide class-action lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court on behalf of workers at the plant and anyone who may have been exposed to asbestos from eating snacks made at that plant. The lawsuit could impact millions of people around the country in a time period spanning the past 25 years. CLTV's Dwight Casimere joins us now from the Tribune Tower with more. Dwight.

Dwight Casimere: Monica, this is the class-action suit that was filed before Circuit Court Judge Bronstein this afternoon on behalf of workers and consumers exposed to Hostess Snack Cakes. Now, earlier you may recall that Hostess was the subject of a racial discrimination suit by employees who say they were forced to clean up the asbestos at the plant under orders from the managers at the plant. Now, potentially this class-action suit could affect millions. Now over a million snack cakes were recalled last month as a result of the whistle blowing of Nino Sunil and other employees who say they were forced to clean up the asbestos last January 11th, and that production managers concealed the fact that there was asbestos in a boiler room and that the substance was transported past the assembly lines as snack cakes were being made. Now, this class-action suit says that the problem extends far beyond the recall.

Kevin O'Reilly: This asbestos, we are told, was originally cut into, approximately, at least for the first time, approximately a year and a half when they did some welding on the boiler. At that time this asbestos remained exposed, open air, to anything that went in and out.

Ken Moll: When you are manufacturing products for consumption, especially when you are targeting children, make sure you have sanitary conditions within which to do that.

Dwight Casimere: Now Nino Sunil who was the original whistle blower in all of this says he is spitting up blood, he's having problems breathing, and he's awaiting test results from the Mayo Clinic. Hopefully they will not show that he has cancer. Now also, the lawyers for this class-action suit, they have been contacted by several hundred workers at the plant who say they are having problems breathing and have had a history of medical problems over the past 25 years. They want to get a ruling from Judge Bronstein to go ahead with this class-action suit. Then they will start testing these workers to see exactly how extensive the problem is. They also want to go in the plant and get any of the snack cakes that are being warehoused there to have them tested to see if there is asbestos containment. Reporting from the Chicago Tribune Tower, Dwight Casimere, CLTV News. Back to you Monica.

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