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Attorney wants more time on ash safety issue

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By Damon Lawrence

Knoxville attorney James Scott needs more time to respond to the motion to dismiss filed by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

Scott filed a federal lawsuit against Jacobs in August, alleging the company lied to TVA ash spill cleanup workers about the safety of fly ash. His lawsuit listed 49 plaintiffs.

Jacobs’ attorneys contend the company is entitled to immunity and the lawsuit should be dismissed.

On Nov. 20, Scott asked for a 45-day extension to file a response. He cited the holidays, a minor medical procedure and an extensive case load as reasons why he needed the extension.

“The motion to dismiss was voluminous in nature and should require a time-consuming analysis,” Scott wrote in his motion asking for the extension.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan granted Scott’s request.

Knoxville attorney Joshua J. Bond filed a federal lawsuit against Jacobs last month on behalf of three plaintiffs. The accusations are the exact same ones Scott alleged in his lawsuit.

Bond, like Scott, references a table on fly ash constituents that was included in a Site Wide Safety and Health Plan for the ash spill cleanup.

Jacobs’ attorneys said the reference to the table is intended to mislead people into believing the information was only available to Jacobs.

“In reality, this information is identified and listed in the SWSHP and has been available for viewing by the general public (including all of the plaintiffs) on the internet for over four years,” Jacobs said.

The SWSHP was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and TVA in 2009.

Jacobs also contends the lawsuit filed by Scott is devoid of any allegations that the plaintiffs were exposed to fly ash that contained constituents above the site exposure limit.

Jacobs’ attorneys have asked for Bond’s lawsuit to be dismissed for failure “to properly effectuate service of process.”