U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan has ordered mediation between the Tennessee Valley Authority and Roane County residents who filed suit over the massive coal ash spill in 2008. Judge Varlan gave the parties 120 days to reach a settlement, but said he would consider allowing more time for mediation if needed. If any issues remain after mediation, the case will proceed to trial. As we have reported, Judge Varlan has already found TVA liable after the Kingston Fossil Plant dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge into the Emory River and surrounding land. The litigation was scheduled to go into the second phase which deals with damages.
As we have reported, 872 Plaintiffs are suing the federal utility for damages. Our firm and other lawyers for the Plaintiffs asked the court to order mediation. TVA proposed that an initial round of Plaintiffs be allowed to go to trial and through the appeals process, if necessary, before mediation. But Judge Varlan said mediation should at least be tried, saying he did not believe mediation would complicate the process. I agree with that assessment. Our firm is among the law firms representing the Plaintiffs. If you need more information on this matter contact Brantley Fry, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Brantley.Fry@beasleyallen.com.
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