May 23, 2011

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South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

The May 23rd edition of South Carolina Lawyers Weekly features an article entitled “Federal jury sides with Walhalla land owners.”

The SC Lawyers Weekly staff writes about Courtney v. Ingersoll-Rand, a case brought by property owners, Jacque and Ron Courtney, who claimed an industrial plant’s conta­mination of their property tainted any possibility of future real estate development or sales. A federal jury agreed with the Courtneys, awarding them nearly $500,000.

Wyche attorney, Greg English, argued the case on behalf of the Courtneys, who had planned on developing the property into a residential subdivision prior to discovering the extent of the contamination. “The contamination interfered and damaged that,” English said.

The Courtneys claimed that workers from the Torrington Plant in Walhalla that manufactured textile needles and automotive bearings floor dumped toxic chemicals onto their property, and that the plant’s floor had cracked, which allowed chemicals to leak.

SC Lawyers Weekly writes that “The Timken Co. acquired the Walhalla plant in 2004, and subsequently discovered and investigated the extent of the contamination. Ingersoll-Rand, which at one time owned stock in Torrington Co., initially denied liability, saying it was just a parent corporation.”

“We presented evidence that showed Ingersoll-Rand controlled environmental policies and had input and control over the subsidiary, Torrington,” English said.

After a 10-day trial, the jury sided with the Courtneys and returned a verdict for nearly $500,000 – $248,625 in damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.

Read the full article on SCLawyersWeekly­.com.