Class Action Lawsuit for Toxic Sinkhole

Mosaic sinkhole

Residents of Polk country are not happy about the radioactive water in their aquifer. Can you blame them?! This week, they filed a class action lawsuit to express their discontent.

The lawsuit comes as the result of a sinkhole in Mulberry. A sinkhole is a depression in the ground that occurs when the surface layer of the earth collapses. This is typically caused by the chemical dissolution of carbonated rocks. With a carbonated platform, and heavy rainfall, Florida is unfortunately a prime location for sinkholes. Sinkholes are rarely fatal, but can result in extensive property damage.

The sinkhole in Mulberry, however, has taken sinkhole catastrophe to a new level. The site of the sinkhole is also home to a phosphate fertilizer plant owned by Mosaic, the world’s largest phosphate fertilizer company. Mosaic was storing sulfate, gypsum, sodium, and radioactive chemicals in a nearby pond. When the sinkhole opened up, it dumped the toxic wastewater into the ground, Then, the waste reached the aquifer. Even though Mosaic was able to divert some of the water, around 215 gallons of toxic water and radioactive waste drained into the aquifer via the sinkhole.

Mosaic waited nearly two weeks to inform local residents of the potential effects on their water. Currently, they are offering safe, bottled drinking water to the community, performing water tests, and monitoring the impact. Still, residents are angry with the secrecy and misinformation. Three residents have teamed up with a law firm to file a class action lawsuit against Mosaic.

What is a class action lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is when one or more people sue on behalf of a larger group. Class actions lawsuits occur when something affects a large number of people. Examples include

  • a group suing a pharmaceutical company for a defective drug,
  • a number of employees suing an employee for discriminatory policies,
  •  a group of people suing a company because of an environmental disaster, like the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a case like a defective drug, for example, thousands of people might have taken the drug. Rather than each person suing individually, which could lead to inconsistent decisions or some people not recovering just representation, a class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of everyone who was affected.

In the case of the Mosaic class action lawsuit, the residents are asking for monetary compensation for the damages, as well as cleanup for the incident. Since around 5,000 people live within five miles of the fertilizer plant in Mulberry, a successful lawsuit could benefit and protect many people. Like with the BP oil spill, it will be an interesting environmental and legal issue to follow.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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