ROCK HILL, S.C. — A new motion filed in federal court seeks to wrap multiple complaints against the beleaguered New Indy plant in Catawba, South Carolina into one, along with a request for the court to appoint four select lawyers.
Plaintiffs who have filed complaints against New Indy said in a press release Friday they were seeking T. David Hoyle of Motley Rice LLC, Richard A. Harpootlian of Harpootlian Attorneys at Law, Philip C. Federico of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A., and Chase T. Brockstedt of Baird Mandalas Brockstedt LLC as interim co-lead counsel to represent them. They sought to consolidate other cases and requested leave to file an amended complaint.
The new motion is just the latest in the saga for the New Indy plant. Since January 2021, complaints had been sent to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) regarding an odor emanating from the area near the plant. Residents who spoke to WCNC Charlotte said the smells sometimes got so bad, they triggered headaches.
More recently, the plant has seen visits from state lawmakers on behalf of constituents regarding the "rotten egg" scent. Official reports from DHEC and the Environmental Protection Agency found hydrogen sulfide was being emitted from the plant.
The company that owns the plant has also seen ire directed at them over property tax benefits the company has been getting in York County. A set of protests outside the plant and the Governor's Mansion in Columbia have also taken place.
“There are laws in place that are designed to limit the impact plants like New Indy have on surrounding communities and the overall health and wellbeing of the general public," said Hoyle. "When companies violate those laws, innocent men, women and children are the ones who suffer the most This litigation seeks a speedy solution for people who, because of New Indy, are no longer comfortable or safe in their own homes.”
One of the other attorneys seeking to represent the plaintiffs said current orders from state and federal agencies don't do enough for neighbors affected by the odors.
“The orders by DHEC and EPA do not compensate people for the harm – past, present and future – caused by New-Indy’s wrongful actions,” said Frederico. “They also fail to require New Indy to take immediate steps to eliminate its pollution of the air and to stop discharging inadequately treated wastewater to the Catawba River. We will work to hold New Indy accountable for the problems that tens of thousands of area families are experiencing.”