Environmental Injustice in Alabama

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Legislation written to correct AlabamaÂ?s statute of limitations in toxic tort cases will soon be introduced in the state legislature.

Legislation written to correct Alabama’s statute of limitations in toxic tort cases will soon be introduced in the state legislature. Promoted by the Alabama Legal Reform Foundation, the proposed law will permit toxic tort victims to file cases in Alabama for their injuries. Currently, they must seek justice in the courts of other states.

This is because under existing Alabama law, a toxic tort victim is required -- for the purposes of the statute of limitations -- to file a case within two years after exposure, regardless of when disease occurs. However, the victim is prohibited from filing a case until he or she has a “manifest, present injury.” In short, the toxic tort victim’s case is barred before he or she is ever entitled to bring it. Because minorities comprise a disproportionate number of toxic tort victims, this injustice is peculiarly consistent with Alabama’s tradition and history of denying due process to minorities.

Business interests are expected to oppose the proposed legislation because business is currently free to pollute Alabama’s land, air, and water without being held accountable in civil actions.

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