The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 13, 2021. (AP Photo / Richard Drew, file)

The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 13, 2021. (AP Photo / Richard Drew, file)

A recap of 3 lawsuits over chemical exposure at Boeing plants

Parents believe toxins in company factories caused serious birth defects in their kids.


Three families sued the Boeing Co., alleging three parents were exposed to chemicals while working in company factories, causing birth defects in their children. The parents unknowingly suffered reproductive harm, the lawsuits allege, while touching and inhaling a mix of toxic industrial products containing heavy metals and organic solvents.

The lawsuits were filed in King County Superior Court in 2020.


Marie Riley, now 42, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a set of four heart defects that’s led to other cardiac problems and two open-heart surgeries. Her mother Deborah Ulrich worked at Boeing’s Electronics Manufacturing Facility, once south of downtown Seattle, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Tianna Hatleberg, now 28, was born with a rare condition called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. She suffers from physical and intellectual disabilities because she is missing part of her brain. Her father Shawn Hatleberg was a mechanic at Boeing’s Everett plant working on 747s when she was conceived in 1993. He still works for the company.

Natalie Ford, now 8, was born with a rare genetic mutation that causes a condition known as Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome. She has the mental and mobility functioning of an infant and will require around-the-clock care for the rest of her life. Her father Dana Ford began working as a mechanic at the Everett plant in 2012 and is still employed there.


Late last month, Boeing and Riley reached an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed amount, according to a motion filed in King County Superior Court on Monday.

Settlement discussions are ongoing in the Hatleberg and Ford cases, according to the motion, a joint filing by the attorneys for the company and the plaintiffs.

A fourth case of similar nature was resolved earlier this year, the motion says.


The plaintiffs are represented by the birth defect litigation firm Waters Kraus & Paul and Seattle-based law firm Weinstein Caggiano.

Perkins Coie, an international law firm headquartered in Seattle, is representing Boeing in the cases.

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