Town sues engineers, builder

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – The Town of Ferriday has filed a cross-claim against its engineering firm and the manufacturer of its water plant, charging that they should be liable in a lawsuit over Ferriday’s water quality.

In October 1999, Ferriday business owner and resident Gloria Martello filed suit against the town and engineering firm Owen and White.

U.S. Filter, the plant manufacturer, was later added as a defendant. Martello charged that a 124-day boil water notice in effect for the town in late 1999 caused water customers stress and inconvenience.

But on Thursday the town’s attorney in the Martello lawsuit, Jon Guice of Monroe, filed a cross-claim, or complaint, against Owen and White and U.S. Filter in Seventh Judicial District Court in Vidalia.

The complaint claims Owen and White and U.S. Filter are liable for &uot;any costs and judgments incurred in the (Martello) matter&uot; as well design and installation costs of the water plant and costs incurred by the town in running the plant.

The plant, which draws water from Old River and has had a history of problems, went online in the mid-1980s.

&uot;Our policy is usually not to comment on any legal situation,&uot; Karole Colangelo, spokeswoman for U.S. Filter, said Friday.

In early May, a hearing was held before Judge Kathy Johnson to determine whether the Martello lawsuit would be class certified.

If it is class certified, every Ferriday water customer could join the suit and would be entitled to a portion of damages awarded.

As of Friday, Johnson had not yet rendered a decision regarding class certification.