Family sues Northrop Grumman over cancer diagnoses

Christopher Cornett is taking action. Never in a million years would the 34-year-old think Bethpage, the beautiful quintessential Long Island neighborhood he grew up in would be part of the reason why he and his family have been suffering.

He filed a lawsuit for no less than $100 million against one of Long Island's once-biggest employers: Northrop Grumman. He says years of dumping hazardous waste caused a so-called monster underneath the ground—a six-square-mile toxic plume.

"They're deceitful, despicable, misleading people," he said. "People are dying of cancer on Long Island--especially Bethpage."

Christopher was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer in 2016. Six months prior, his mom was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Last year, his dad, Bruce, got a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

"How are they not responsible for what's happened here if it's soil they've impacted," Bruce Cornett said. "It's like the unspoken word about what's going on here."

The Cornetts hope this lawsuit will raise awareness. They're calling on their elected officials, specifically Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Tom Suozzi, to provide some much-needed answers.

Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said Northrop Grumman has known about this for decades and dragged its feet for too long.

"The answer here is that we can't change the past but we sure can change the future," Esposito said. "And that means expediting a full cleanup of soil and groundwater so the public can live comfortably and safely in their own homes."

In a statement, Northrop Grumman said it is reviewing the lawsuit and that it generally does "not comment on ongoing litigation."

"Northrop Grumman continues to work closely with the Navy and federal, state and local government regulatory authorities, as we have done for more than 20 years, to address environmental conditions in Bethpage, through implementation of scientifically-sound and technically-proven remedial measures," the company said in the statement.

The Cornetts' attorney filed the complaint last week.

Northrop Grumman is required to respond by the end of December.