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Lawyers Take Aim After West Virginia Chemical Spill Taints Water

In a neo-Tuscan villa in an office park near the Charleston airport, seven West Virginia plaintiffs’ lawyers gathered Jan. 13 for a council of war.

Chemical contamination that had cut off tap water to 300,000 West Virginians was making its way west into Ohio. Local authorities were saying that Freedom Industries Inc., the source of the 7,500 gallons of rogue coal-processing chemical, may not have acted swiftly to warn about the seepage. And the federal prosecutor in town sounded dead serious about a criminal investigation.