Judge upgrades Ferriday water lawsuit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – A lawsuit calling for Ferriday water users to be compensated for damages resulting from a 1999 boil-water notice has been class certified by a Seventh District judge.

Ferriday resident and restaurant owner Gloria Martello filed the lawsuit Oct. 25, 1999, against Ferriday and engineers Owen and White. U.S. Filter, maker of Ferriday’s water plant, was later added as a defendant. A trial date has not yet been set in the case.

But if and when the court awards damages in the case, thousands of people who used Ferriday water from Aug. 20, 1999, through Dec. 22, 1999, and suffered damages as a result would be entitled to a portion of damages awarded.

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That includes people who were residents of Ferriday, operated or worked at businesses in Ferriday, leased property in the town, were students at Ferriday schools or were patients in health care facilities in the town during that time. &uot;I&160;have no comment – that’s a legal matter,&uot; said Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin. Martello could not be reached for comment Friday.

According to the ruling filed Thursday by Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Kathy Johnson, the case was eligible to be certified as a class action because, among other things:

4About 4,500 people received Ferriday water at their homes and businesses during the boil-water notice.

4Testimony from water customers showed that they had similar claims in common, that those claims had a common cause, and that those claims are typical of those of other Ferriday water users.

4The class can be objectively defined. In this case, any person who was a resident, business owner or employee, property lessor, student or health care patient in Ferriday during the time of the boil-water notice is part of the class.

Johnson also ruled that members of the class be represented by attorney Charles Norris Jr. of Vidalia and attorney Stephen Murray, Linda Harang and Julie Jacobs, all of New Orleans.