Union Carbide stockholders' suits rejected

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Union Carbide Corporation stockholders should have known the hazards of the company's chemical plant in India, US District Judge John Keenan said in rejecting lawsuits filed by investors after a gas leak that caused thousands of fatalities. On the night of Dec. 2, 1984, toxic methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Bhopal plant, killing at least 2,000 people and injuring more than 200,000. Judge Keenan called it ``the worst industrial accident in history.''

The stockholder suits contended that the company did not sufficiently warn investors of the potential dangers at the plant in Bhopal. They argued that Union Carbide's financial reports failed to list the risks of handling methyl isocyanate, the existence of safety defects at the Bhopal plant, and the financial implications of a possible methyl isocyanate accident.

But Keenan said Tuesday that stockholders did not need a list of risks to make their investment decisions.

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``It can come as no surprise to them that some of these chemicals are extremely hazardous and that an accident could have serious consequences,'' he said.

Union Carbide spokesman Earl Slack termed the company ``pleased that the judge has supported our position.'' Edward Labaton, lawyer for one of the stockholder groups, said there was no decision on whether to appeal.

Union Carbide, based in Danbury, Conn., still faces multimillion dollar damage suits by victims.

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