I-Team: Clark County employees say toxic chemicals caused illnesses; 50+ people file lawsuit

I-Team Special Reports

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Some Clark County employees and former employees say the Clark County Government Center is not safe. At least 50 people have filed a lawsuit alleging they’ve been exposed to toxins. 

Lawyers say they have uncovered a cancer cluster and the number of Clark County employees getting sick, some even dying, is no coincidence. 

They blame exposure to toxic chemicals and they say the Clark County Government Center should be shut down. 

“It is heart wrenching,” said attorney Craig Mueller. “Several people that I knew and acquainted with are actually very ill and candidly might not make it so it is a personal thing for me.” 

Las Vegas local Craig Mueller says he remembers the days of the Union Pacific Railroad as a child. Today, some land the railroad used is the site of the Clark County Government Center. 

Mueller says employees there have gotten sick because of toxic chemicals the railroad left behind. He is representing 50 plaintiffs in a lawsuit.  

 “I’ve got people dying of bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer,” Mueller said. 

St. Louis attorney Lindsay Dibler is also on the case. 

“The number of plaintiffs that are in this lawsuit is really the tip of the iceberg,” Dibler said.  

Their research dates back to the early 1900s. 

1913 railroad photo

According to this newspaper clipping, by 1952, a tar pit at the site was a known hazard. 

The railroad then set fire to the pit and its waste materials. 

By the 70s, that was covered in dirt. 

The lawsuit also points to several nearby spills, numerous documents which followed refer to contamination and recommendations for more testing and cleanup. 

“It was clear that the city knew about the contamination, that the county knew about the contamination, and they also knew that the testing and remedial efforts that they were taking were deficient,” Dibler said. 

Still, the government center was built in the 90s. 

Dibler says workers immediately began to feel sick and reported it but supervisors brushed them off.  

The lawsuit alleges recent testing confirms the building is not safe. 

“Literally a witch’s brew of toxic materials were found in the ground around the building and in the ventilation system,” Mueller said. 

The City of Las Vegas, Clark County and several big companies, like Monsanto, are named in the lawsuit. 

Vanessa Murphy: “You’re going against giants here. What’s your response?” 

Craig Mueller“And your point is?  Yes, I worked for a judge and he told me something that has always stuck with me in the practice of law: you go where the facts and the law take you.” 

8 News Now reached out to the defendants named in the case. 

Clark County and the city say they do not comment on pending litigation. 

The attorneys say some Clark County workers have expressed fear of retaliation if they become part of this lawsuit. 

They do believe many more people may have been affected. If you believe you have been impacted, call 702-565-5500. 

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