This just in, Knoxville law firm Ball & Scott, Hausfeld LLP in DC, and attorney Bruce Fox in Clinton have filed a class action today in U. S. District Court in Knoxville against TVA on behalf of riparian landowners on the Emory & Clinch Rivers under a private nuisance theory.

The action is similar to previous lawsuits against Pigeon River polluters Champion International and Blue Ridge Paper.

Michael Hausfeld is best known as the attorney who years ago brought action against Swiss Banks for conspiring with the Nazis in WWII. He got $2.3 billion settlement for Holocaust survivors and waived his attorney fee.

Here's a copy of the lawsuit.

UPDATE: Specifics of the complaint...

4. TVA's actions at the Kingston Steam Plant have substantially and unreasonably interfered with the Plaintiff and other proposed Class members' property rights, privileges, and have substantially and unreasonably interfered with their use and enjoyment of their property so as to constitute a private nuisance under Tennessee common law.

5. Plaintiff - a riparian owner of land on the Clinch River downstream from the Kingston Steam Plant in Roane County, Tennessee - alleges that the TVA's December 22, 2008 discharge of the coal ash slurry has substantially and unreasonably interfered with Plaintiff slight to use and enjoy his property. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that TVA's coal ash slurry spill has: (a) unreasonably altered and diminished the quality of water for Plaintiff and proposed Class members; (b) substantially diminished the quality of the surrounding environment; (c) substantially impaired the quality of life of the Plaintiff and proposed Class members and disrupted their well-being; (d) caused Plaintiff and proposed Class members to suffer a substantial disturbance in comfort and conveniences, including their peace of mind, as well as fear, stress, annoyance, and anxiety, e.g., Plaintiff and other proposed Class members have heretofore been warned about allowing their children to play outside, not to go outdoors if they suffer from asthma, not to do heavy exercise outside, all due to the possibility of breathing the fly ash; and ( e) caused Plaintiff and other proposed Class members to suffer out-of-pocket losses.

6. As a result of the massive discharge of coal ash slurry on Dec. 22, 2008, TVA has created a private nuisance by altering the properties of the surrounding waters, by discharging wastes into those waters, and by otherwise discharging such wastes, pollutants, and contaminants into the surrounding Roane County environs. TVA has therefore engaged, and continues to engage, in conduct - whether otherwise lawful or not - that substantially and unreasonably interferes with or obstructs rights common to the Plaintiff and other proposed Class members. Based upon TVA's conduct, as described herein, TVA is liable to Plaintiff and other proposed Class members for the creation of the private nuisance under Tennessee common law.

The plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $5 million.

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Hickory Schtick's picture

The local guys had to file, Erin Brockovich is coming to town

with the hot shots from New York City Weitz & Lamborghini or something, with Erin excepted to sign up all of the "downstream" victims.

Saddest thing of all is folks down on the main channel of the Tennessee River, including Representative Heath Shuler and all of his development, will be jaded by these assertions and claims, may possibly join in the lawsuit, however, except for those property owners within a 1/2 mile radius of the sludge pile, the money they will get out of a lawsuit will pale in comparison to what they could get for their property if they would take the position that their property/water is clean/safe and quit trying to point the finger at TVAs screw ups that did not affect them. Roane County is not Three Mile Island and it is not Love Canal, but with these lawyerly types running around filing class actions, trying to make people believe that it is, property from Harriman to Chattanooga on both sides of the river will be worthless/contaminated and TVA won't be liable for a nickle of it.

In my humble opinion, the whole thing is like a MARTA bus wreck, 43 seats on the bus, 288 lawsuits filed claiming injuries and demanding compensation.

R. Neal's picture

That's a legitimate concern.

That's a legitimate concern. But this lawsuit is very specific to the Emory and Clinch River landowners in the directly affected areas.

WhitesCreek's picture

I am one of those, BTW

It's a curious thing to me... My lake property is upstream of the spill and totally not affected except for the signs on the buoys saying the River is closed and that I'll be arrested for criminal tresspass if I paddle around in the cove. There was someone camped on the island, too. Too strange.

Even so, I would be very hard pressed to get the appraised value for the lots. funny too, is the fact that the guy who built the new house across from me retired from the EPA Dec. 31, 2008.

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