West Virginia Chemical Maker Sued Over Elk River Spill
A West Virginia chemical maker was sued along with a local water company over a spill into the Elk River in the state’s capital, Charleston, that left businesses and residents without tap water for days.
Freedom Industries Inc. and West Virginia-American Water Co. were accused in the suit of negligence and causing a public nuisance. The utility failed to deal promptly with the emergency and had no procedures in place to prevent chemicals from getting into the water system, according to a complaint filed Jan. 10 in Kanawha County Circuit Court in Charleston that was e-mailed to Bloomberg News.
The plaintiff, Scott Miller, said he suffered economic damage as the Kanawha County health department ordered closures of businesses in and around Charleston, including his Bar 101 and Ichiban Restaurant. At least nine counties were affected by the spill, according to the suit.
Cathy Gatson, circuit clerk, said the complaint, filed by Hill Peterson Carper Bee & Deitzler PLLC, was one of 18 entered into court records as of today.
Freedom Industries, formed in 1986, supplies specialty chemicals to the steel, cement and coal-mining industries, according to its website.
Dennis Farrell, Freedom’s president, and Laura Jordan, a spokeswoman for West Virginia-American, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment on the lawsuits.
The case is Miller v. Freedom Industries Inc., West Virginia-American Water Co., 14-C-47, Circuit Court of Kahawha County, West Virginia (Charleston).
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