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Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee - Significance, Near Disaster, Commercial Nuclear Energy

karen york damages plaintiff


Estate of Karen Silkwood


Kerr-McGee Nuclear Company

Plaintiff's Claim

Damages for negligence leading to the plutonium contamination of Karen Silkwood.

Chief Lawyers for Plaintiff

Gerald Spence, Arthur Angel, James Ikard

Chief Defense Lawyers

Elliott Fenton, John Griffin, Jr., Larry D. Ottoway, William Paul, L. E. Stringer, Bill J. Zimmerman


Frank G. Theis


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Date of Decision

18 March 1979


Defendant was found negligent and was ordered to pay $505,000 actual damages, $10 million punitive damages.

Related Cases

  • Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323 (1973).
  • Pacific G&E Co. v. State Energy Res. C&D Com., 461 U.S. 190 (1983).


Paehlke, Robert, ed. Conservation and Environmentalism: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1995.

Further Readings

  • Kohn, Howard. Who Killed Karen Silkwood? New York: Summit, 1981.
  • Rashke, Richard. The Killing of Karen Silkwood. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981.
  • "Silkwood Settlement." Science News, August 8, 1986, p. 134.
  • Spence, Gerry. With Justice for None. New York: Times Books, 1989.
  • Stein, J. "The Deepening Mystery." Progressive, January 1981, pp. 14-19.
Solem v. Helm - The Origins Of Proportional Punishment, The Case Of Jerry Helm, Mixed Messages, Lingering Problems [next] [back] Selective Service v. Minnesota Public Interest Research Group - Significance, Uncle Sam And Eligible Young Men, Questions Of Punitive Intent And Compulsion, Marshall's Dissent: "a De Facto Classification Based On Wealth"

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