Rocky Flats: Causes of Action

November 18, 2016
1:00–5:00 p.m.
Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering

Program Agenda >

The Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production facility just northwest of Denver, CO, has been the epicenter of some of the longest-running civil litigation in U.S. history. From its opening in the early 1950s until its closure four decades later, the plant was the site of multiple plutonium fires, extensive contamination by radioactive materials and ultrahazardous waste, an unprecedented raid by the FBI, and a cleanup operation of over ten years and $7 billion.

At the heart of the multiple, decades-long civil actions surrounding Rocky Flats is the question of whether the government’s national security demands can supersede the duty of care it is entrusted to maintain for its citizens and natural environment. As that litigation has shifted the question to one of redress, it has revealed a compartmentalization of risk and bureaucratization of defense involving conflicts of interest not only between the government and citizens, but among government agencies, contractors, lawyers, and the very branches of government itself.

Rocky Flats: Causes of Action will explore these conflicts through presentations by lead counsel in four landmark cases spanning from the first cluster of lawsuits in 1975 to the $375M settlement reached in May 2016.

Featured speakers include:

Hartley Alley, Attorney, Law Offices of Hartley Alley

Adam Babich, Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Clinic, Tulane University Law School

Merrill Davidoff, Managing Shareholder and Chair of the Environmental Group, Berger & Montague P.C.

Howard Holme, former President, Bandwidth Market, Ltd.; former President, Fairfield and Woods P.C.