Sixth Circuit Rules in Favor of Residents against Louisville Gas and Electric Company
Court upholds order denying defendants’ motion to dismiss class-action claims under Kentucky law
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In an opinion published today, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of thousands of Kentucky residents and upheld a trial court’s decision denying Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LGE)’s motion to dismiss the suit, according to Hagens Berman. Representative plaintiffs had filed a class-action lawsuit against LGE for continually allowing coal dust and ash from a coal-fired power plant to escape its site and to settle on neighboring properties and homes.
According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, LGE’s Cane Run power plant is fueled by the burning of coal, which produces ash byproducts that contain toxic materials, including arsenic, chromium and lead. This ash has been coating the neighboring homes for years. Residents’ repeated complaints to the local Air Pollution Control District had proven ineffective as LG&E continued to release its dangerous ash on its neighbors.
“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals saw through LGE’s procedural arguments that were little more than smoke and mirrors. The court recognized that Louisville residents dealing with continual rains of ash and dust from the Cane Run plant have claims they can bring before the courts,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “While the court got it right, and the law is clearly against LGE’s legal arguments, LGE will likely do what it can to delay having to deal with the case on its merits.”
“We will not be surprised if LGE tries to get the Supreme Court to accept review of this decision,” Berman added. “We will meet that challenge on behalf of the plaintiffs as well and continue to fight for their rights against LGE.”
The Cane Run power plant is located just east of the Ohio River, near several Kentucky neighborhoods that are home to thousands of residents, and its byproducts include known carcinogens and pose significant health hazards to area residents, according to the suit.
The lawsuit further alleges that, despite receiving several Notices of Violation from the Louisville Air Pollution Control District, the Cane Run power plant continues to spew coal dust, ash and other pollutants onto neighboring residences.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of area homeowners, and seeks monetary and statutory damages, as well as injunctive relief that orders LGE to cease activities that allow coal combustion byproducts to escape from the Cane Run power plant.
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