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Lockheed-Martin in court with Burbank residents

February 02, 2002

Laura Sturza

LOS ANGELES -- Lockheed-Martin Corporation is facing trial after being

sued by four plaintiffs alleging the company's chemical runoff

contaminated Burbank water, causing illness or death. The firm paid $60

million in 1996 to 1,350 residents and $5 million in 2000 to 400

residents in out-of-court settlements related to cancer-causing chemicals

first found in 1980 in Burbank.

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"These are the first ones (lawsuits) to actually go to trial,"

Lockheed Spokeswoman Gail Rymer said. "There were settlement discussions,

but we were unable to reach agreement."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs were unavailable for comment.

The federal case began with jury selection Wednesday in U.S. District

Court in Los Angeles.

Presiding over the trial, slated to last four weeks, is U.S. District

Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer. The jury will first decide if the corporation

is liable. If found liable, damages will be assessed.

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