Page 16-Friday, May 18, 1979--The Michigan Daily
Silkwood jurors question 'physical injury'
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Jurors in
the $11.5 million Karen Silkwood
plutonium contamination trial asked
the judge yesterday to define physical
injury - a question that could indicate
they have found in favor of the Silkwood
estate and are discussing the amount of
a damage award.
At 3:30 p.m. the three-man, three-
woman jury sent a message asking:
"In instruction No. 18, what does
physical injury mean?"I
The first question the jury was to an-
swer dealt with whether they accepted
Kerr-McGee Corp.'s contention that
Silkwood contaminated herself with
plutonium. The judge told them that if
they accepted that defense, their
deliberations were over.
INSTRUCTION No. 18 is the instruc-
tion dealing with actual damages. U.S.
District Judge Frank Theis met for 30
minutes in chambers with attorneys to
work out his response to the question.
THEY ARE MORE THAN THE SUPER RICH.
THEYARE AN AMERICAN DYNASTY.
They own oil...banks...beautiful women...even presidents.
They have the power to make fortunes and destroy careers.
One man will inherit it all. If he lives.
He told the jury, in part, that physical
injury can include a "non-visible
physical injury to bone, tissue or cells."
"It has been admitted in this case by
both parties and their expert medical
witnesses that radiation had occurred
to Silkwood from plutonium through the
impact of alpha particles in her body,"
Theis said. "The witnesses, however,
disagreed on whether or when physical
injury occurred and, if so, its nature
AFTER RECEIVING the judge's an-
swer, the jurors said they would eat
dinner and then continue their
"There is no doubt they (jurors) have
found liability. They are beyond
question one," said Jim Ikard, an at-
torney for the Silkwood estate.
Larry Ottoway, a Kerr-McGee attor-
ney, said, "It's probably not a question
the defendants would like to have
heard, but I'm not going to speculate on
where they are in their deliberations."
SILKWOOD'S survivors are suing
Kerr-McGee, alleging negligence in
connection with her contamination with
plutonium from the company's nuclear
fuel plant where she worked as a lab
Kerr-McGee claimed Silkwood stole
the plutonium and contaminated her-
self, probably while a'tempting to spike
her urine samples to embarrass the
Silkwood, who was 28 at the time,
died in a Nov. 13, 1974, car crash a week
after she was contaminated.
IN HIS CHARGE to the jury, Theis
said jurors could either find Kerr-
McGee guilty of negligence and then
decide on a dollar award, or find the
company "strictly liable" for Silk-
wood's injuries. A negligence finding
would be required if punitive damages,
usually higher amounts, were to be
The judge told jurors they could find
Kerr-McGee strictly liable for any in-
jury to Silkwood if they decided three
elements were proved: that plutonium
escaped from the nuclear fuel plant
where she worked; that the plutonium
injured Silkwood or her property; and
the extent of her injuries.
He told the jury that the only defense
against strict liability is if they find
Silkwood contaminated herself, either
accidentally or intentionally. That is
the contention of Kerr-McGee.
The judge said that if the jurors ac-
cepted Kerr-McGee's defense, they
must return a verdict for Kerr-McGee.
Ford says energy
GRAND RAPIDS (UPI) - Former
President Gerald Ford warned yester-
day failure to bring the nation's energy
problems under control within the next
two years could lead to "a real
Ford, who returned to his hometown
to inspect the site of the Gerald Ford
Museum, said it was necessary for a
president to have the power to allocate
energy supplies to deal with an energy
"We better solve our energy problem
in the next 24 months or there could be a
real disaster," Ford told reporters. "I
think a president has to look at the
welfare of the American people.
"A president should have the
authority to make sure the farmer, the
commercial fisherman and industry
have enough fuel and make sure we
have enough fuel to heat our homes,"
The former president said he now
favors deregulating oil prices "more
strongly than ever."
Ford also told reporters he is not a
candidate for the 1980 Republican
presidential nomination, "and I don't
plan to be.
"We've got a lot of good candidates
and the public will have the opportunity
to vote on them," said Ford, who
represented the Fifth Congressional
District in the House for 26 years before
he was appointed vice president in 1974.
Earlier, Ford had lunch with mem-
bers of the Gerald Ford Committee, the
group responsible for raising the $9
million needed to build the museum and
the Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor.
Ford walked across a pedestrian
bridge over the Grand River linking the
downtown area with city's Bicentennial
Park, asking questions about the
museum, inspecting the blueprints and
nodding his approval.
As Ford surveyed the area,
demolition workers continued to clear
rubble from the dilapidated buildings
already torn down at the site.
Official groundbreaking ceremonies
are scheduled for June 13.
FRANK ARIES Presents
LONARD J GOLDBERG/ROBERT STERLING PRODUCTION in association with DANIEL H BLAT
JEFF BRIDGES - JOHN HUSTON - ANTHONY PERKINS - ELI WALLACH
STERLING HAYDEN. DOROTHY MALONE - TOMAS MILIAN - BELINDA BAUER
RALPH MEEKER - TOSHIRO MIFUNE and RICHARD BOONE
in A WILLIAM RICHERT FILM "WINTER KILLS" ooiby RICHARD CONDON
Dei nofiNPogsphy VILMOS ZSIGMOND'-i iv MAURICE JARRE
Eecusie Priuces LEONARD J GOLDBERG . : ROBERT STERLING 'Prede v FRED CARUSO
WILLIAM RICHERT .VAVCO EMBASSY CLURES ReleasR. 'I""'C j
ADVANCE PREVIEW TONIGHT
A ri:oA Love Story
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Friday., May 18 Aud. A, Angell Hall
The Best of The N.Y. Festival of Women's Films
An outstanding group of short films made entirely by women. The films range
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fantasy about rape and rebirth. Some of the films are funny; some are angry;
each makes an insightful statement about women's lives, fears and dreams.
Features include films by Claudia Weill (Girlfriends), and Nancy Dowd (winner
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