Law Office of Henry B. LaTorraca Civil Trial Attorney

Chemical spill leads to business litigation for manufacturer

It could happen anywhere - a deadly chemical spill from an industrial plant that leads to widespread contaminated water. Although news media have not reported such incidents recently in California, residents of West Virginia have been suffering inconvenience and illness because of a reported leak into the Elk River in early January. Now, several business litigation suits have been filed against the company that is allegedly responsible for the contamination, Freedom Industries. The West Virginia American Water Company is also under fire from some plaintiffs.

Attorneys throughout the region are fielding complaints from scores of litigants, many of whom are claiming economic loss and health problems because of the water contamination. Freedom Industries is accused of spilling about 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River, which flows through the state's capitol of Charleston. Businesses in the area say they have suffered economic loss because of the spill, with several already banding together to sue the responsible parties after the Jan. 9 incident. An investigation into the matter is still pending, as officials are not entirely sure how the chemical came to be released into the major water source.

Other lawsuits include allegations that the water contamination caused serious health concerns. One man was unable to receive a scheduled kidney transplant, for instance, which he claims caused him serious continued pain and suffering. The man had inadvertently consumed some of the tainted water, so he was unable to receive the kidney transplant.

Freedom Industries can expect to face a series of business tort and litigation actions in connection with this breach of public trust. Scores of local residents suffered economic and personal loss because of the environmental contamination. Victims of such environmental events in California may be able to recover damages for loss of income and a variety of other claims; a qualified business attorney in that state can help these plaintiffs learn more.

Source: The State Journal, "Water crisis litigation quickly accumulates" Linda Harris, Jan. 17, 2014

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