By Associated Press - Monday, February 6, 2017

MERCED, Calif. (AP) - A judge has cleared the way for dozens of former Central Valley students to take their school district to trial over fears that a job-training program exposed them to cancer.

Attorney Allen Sawyer said Monday he represents 61 former students of the Merced County Office of Education. He alleges that a decade ago, they renovated asbestos-laden buildings at an old military base without proper protection.

In a separate case, three men who ran the program through a nonprofit were found guilty and sent to prison.

Sawyer says the district now owes the former students lifelong coverage for preventative health checkups and payments for the fear they might contract cancer.

An attorney for the county office of education, Leonard Herr, argues the students have access to health care provided through workers’ compensation.


This story has been corrected to reflect attorney Leonard Herr’s affiliation. He is an attorney for the county office of education, not the district attorney.

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