The first federal trial on lawsuits seeking damages from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s huge coal ash spill started on September 19th in Knoxville and was still going at press time. The bench trial (no jury), involving six lawsuits, is before U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan. The lawsuits seek damages from the TVA dam collapse in 2008 that spilled 5.4 million cubic yards of sludge. This trial will establish the issue of liability in the case and is very important. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed. The spill ruptured a natural gas line, disrupted power and transportation, ruined a number of homes and forced a nearby residential community on the Emory River to evacuate.
It’s contended in the lawsuits that TVA, the nation’s largest public utility, was negligent in constructing, maintaining and inspecting the earthen dam at the coal-fired Kingston Plant. Hundreds of people were hurt from the spill and have filed lawsuits. David Byrne and Brantley Fry, lawyers from our firm, are among the lawyers representing the Plaintiffs in this case. Other lawyers on the trial team are Jeff Friedman from Birmingham and Joanne McLaren, Paul Brandes, Gary Davis and Beth Alexander, all from Tennessee.
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