Reagan sailors press on with lawsuit

71 who served during 2011 aid mission suing Japanese power company

Reagan sailors press on in radiation lawsuit

A group of sailors who were aboard the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan as it rendered aid in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan nearly three years ago are taking another shot at a lawsuit over the health problems they say they’ve suffered since their radiation exposure.

Their attorney, California environmental law expert Paul C. Garner, has until Jan. 6 to amend their complaint against the Tokyo Electric Power Co. and resubmit it for a judge’s ruling.

“What we say is this: The TEPCO people knew what was happening there,” Garner told Navy Times. “They certainly knew the severity of what was happening, because now you have radiological releases into the environment … and the tsunami just washed it all in, and washed it all out, and the Reagan was in the backwash.”

Garner originally submitted the case a year ago. A federal judge in Southern California granted the company’s Nov. 26 motion to dismiss the case, but Garner and the sailors will have another chance, he told Navy Times.

Garner agreed to drop some of the allegations in the lawsuit, including a conspiracy charge, and said the judge would reconsider the case in the new year.

The case began with former Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Lindsay Cooper, 24, who was aboard the Reagan in March 2011, bringing humanitarian aid to Japan as part of Operation Tomodachi, following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

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