Environmental Litigation Attorneys

Coal Ash Spill Lawsuit Opens Against TVA and Jacobs Engineering

Photo by Brian Stansberry

Last year, Roane County, Tennessee, and two nearby cities filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority and its main contractor, Jacobs Engineering, for hiding dangerous facts about the cleanup of a major coal ash spill.

The coal ash spill, which occurred in December 2008, marked the largest coal ash spill in US history and an enormous environmental disaster. Gallons of toxic sludge contaminated the nearby lake from which many towns got their water as well as infiltrated several homes.

Now, several years later, residents and workers who assisted in the cleanup are fighting back—accusing TVA and Jacobs Engineering of covering up major health risks and other problems associated with the spill.

Lawsuits surrounding the ash spill accuse TVA and Jacobs Engineering of the following:

  • Hiding the threat of fly ash (including that many of its constituents are class A carcinogenic) so as to reduce expenditures related to medical treatment and testing.
  • Concealing public internal records which outlined a list of coal ash ingredients, including dangerous toxins, heavy metals, and radioactive isotopes.
  • Watering down monitors designed to warn the public of high exposure threat levels, thus lowering the results.
  • Destroying evidence, including photographs, videos, test results, and exposure threat test samples.
  • Lying to the public, ratepayers, and even TVA’s own board of directors about the cleanup and levels of toxicity of coal ash both now and at the time of the spill.

The lawsuit aims to protect TVA ratepayers—who have already paid more than $1.3 billion for the cleanup— from paying higher power rates as well as seek justice for the lost lives of over 40 disaster workers. It also aims to compensate the 400 residents who have since been sickened from the spill.

It has also since been discovered that TVA’s own testing in 1981 and 1995 revealed that its coal ash contained toxic metals and radioactive materials, which TVA failed to disclose.

As a result of the lawsuit, Chief US District Judge Tom Varlan ordered Jacobs Engineering to negotiate a settlement. Though Jacobs appealed the ruling, the appeal was rejected by Varian. Varian’s verdict means that workers proven to be sick due to Jacobs’ negligence can now pursue damages against the firm.

Were You Effected by The Spill? File Your Lawsuit Claim

Napoli Shkolnik is currently filing lawsuit claims on behalf of those affected by the coal ash spill. If you were negatively affected and would like to take part in the lawsuit, please call us at (844) 230-7676, or request a free Case Evaluation. Our legal experts will discuss your claim and you will discover whether you are eligible to receive compensation.

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