Federal judge rules TVA is liable for 2008 Kingston coal ash spill

Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 11:45am

Updated 2:40 p.m.


A federal judge has ruled that the Tennessee Valley Authority is liable for a 2008 coal ash spill in Kingston, Tenn., that has led to more than 60 lawsuits with 800 plaintiffs.

Those plaintiffs alleged that the TVA was negligent in the building design and storage of the Kingston Fossil Plant’s coal ash. As a result, the coal ash spill affected several homes, businesses and individuals.

“The Court finds in favor of plaintiffs and against TVA because specific nondiscretionary conduct on the part of TVA caused the failure of the coal ash containment dike at TVA’s KIF plant on December 22, 2008 and that ... the dike failure would not have occurred,” stated the decision by Judge Thomas Varlan, U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

“TVA will therefore be liable for damages to each plaintiff.”

Plaintiffs must prove claims related to negligence, trespass and/or private nuisance. Claims regarding negligence per se, recklessness, strict liability and public nuisance were dismissed from the suit.

“TVA created this catastrophe and has been trying for years to escape responsibility for its actions,” said Beth Alexander of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein, a Nashville firm. “People have been harmed through the actions of TVA, in some cases irreparably.”

Alexander was the trial attorney on the case.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, a TVA spokesman said, "The litigation now will proceed to a second phase where the plaintiffs may attempt to prove they were each directly impacted by the spill on an individual basis.

"TVA remains committed to the full restoration of the community directly impacted by the spill, while being mindful of our responsibility to manage ratepayer dollars."

Read the full TVA statement here.

All parties involved have three weeks to offer recommendations on how to proceed with determining individual damages.

Kingston Litigation August 2012.pdf53.62 KB

3 Comments on this post:

By: NewYorker1 on 8/23/12 at 1:29

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