My deposition as a Bellwether Plaintiff for the Hanford Downwinders Litigation took place August 23, on an uncomfortably hot day in Seattle. Mine was the fifth in a series of depositions of “test case plaintiffs,” all of us chosen randomly through lottery.
At this point, I can’t say a whole lot on the particulars of the deposition. It would not be an exaggeration, however, to note the absence of warmth and compassion emanating from the young counsel for the defense, who seemed to be enjoying the negativity of the whole experience.
One positive thought for other Downwinders: This really is happening. Being in a room with a court reporter, face to face with an associate from Kirkland & Ellis, finally provided a kind of reality, which most Hanford plaintiffs will never experience. I am thankful for this, and I hope my notes can bring the experience a little closer for my peers. So much of this glacial-paced litigation has felt far removed from the very real day-by-day suffering of those of us who now live with the after-effects of exposure to Hanford’s airborne and Columbia River borne radiation.