High Court rules against pair in DIA illness case; Workers told they waited too long to file claims

June 26, 2007

Two women who said they got sick from working in a contaminated area of Denver International Airport are not entitled to compensation because they waited too long to file their claims, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Joann Hubbard and Terri Crandall filed a lawsuit in 2003 saying they suffered headaches, nausea, skin rashes and pneumonia while working in Concourse B for United Airlines.

The lawsuit sought unspecified damages for "thousands" of employees, as well as health checkups and remediation of environmental problems.

According to the lawsuit, the women realized by 1999 - four years after the airport opened - that their illness stemmed from mold, sewage problems and chemical spills at the airport.

The women filed claims with the city and county of Denver in 2002.

Denver appealed, saying state law requires claims to be filed within 180 days from the date the injury or illness is discovered.

The trial court and Colorado Court of Appeals sided with Hubbard and Crandall, who argued they got sick every time they went back to DIA - including instances within the 180- day period - before they filed their claims. But the Supreme Court ruled the women should have filed within 180 days of the 1999 discovery. It sent the case back to the trial court for dismissal.

John Fognani, an attorney for Hubbard and Crandall, said the case may "still have some life" for the other plaintiffs. Hubbard and Crandall also have a case ongoing in federal court.

DIA officials have said the airport is safe for travelers, and according to the court's ruling, most of the problems have been fixed. But there is still about one report a week of a noxious odor in Concourse B.

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.