Water lawsuit could hurt town, residents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 31, 2001

The Town of Ferriday may soon be drowning in a wash of litigious residents. If a judge’s ruling to class certify a lawsuit over the town’s 1999 water crisis stands, residents could line up outside the courthouse to get a piece of the action.

The original case was filed by Gloria Martello, a Ferriday resident and restaurant owner on Oct. 25, 1999.

The defendants in the lawsuit include the Town of Ferriday, engineers Owen and White and U.S. Filter, maker of Ferriday’s water plant.

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With the class action designation, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit could include each and every resident of the town who was affected by the more than 124-day water outage.

If thousands of potential plaintiffs join the lawsuit – and win&160;- the damages could reach astronomical figures.

And who will benefit?

Residents may think that potential damages – both real and punitive – will do some good. But in reality, aside from possibly putting a few dollars in the pockets of the plaintiffs, long-term the lawsuit may hurt all of us – especially the citizens of Ferriday.

The town’s insurance premiums could go up, and that cost will certainly be passed along to residents of the financially strapped town.

Ultimately, we believe citizens have the right to sue for whatever reason they choose, but we urge all involved to strongly consider what the purpose of the lawsuit is, and what the long-term ramifications of it are.

While the water crisis hurt the entire town back in 1999, the lawsuit could continue the hurting. The town has a new administration – both at the water plant and in town hall.

Why not let the water crisis end?