In 2006, children at a South Jersey daycare facility played freely. Then state inspectors informed them that their facility existed on a heavily contaminated former thermometer factory. A class action lawsuit against the building’s owners, as well as local, county, and state government entities found all parties liable.
It may take several years until all of the damage done to these children comes to light, which is why the judge ordered each of these entities to pay for the children’s medical monitoring until age 24. The fund was supposed to consist of $1.5 million for neuropsychological tests for the 100 children involved. Early detection and treatment if health problems emerge, the order stressed.
But so far, nearly 6 years parents were first told that their children were subjected to unsafe levels of mercury at Kiddie Kollege, not a single test has been administered through this fund.
As is the case with far too many class-action lawsuits, the victims’ plight has taken a back seat to disputes over attorneys’ fees. $1.5 million was put in escrow for medical testing last year. But the $3 million requested by the five law firms representing the plaintiffs and $1.4 million already paid to Franklin Township’s attorney by its insurer are far from settled, delaying the children’s medical monitoring. The township’s attorney has even asked for a new trial.
The children who this case was supposed to be about haven’t accessed the testing that may affect the quality and duration of their lives. But the lawyers who fought for it (and against it) probably don’t want you to know that.