Wednesday, June 1, 2022
The Kingston Coal Ash Spill and the Tennessee Silica Claims Priorities Act
I have been covering a case in the Eastern District of Tennessee brought by workers alleging injuries sustained during the cleanup of a massive coal ash spill in 2008. Today the Tennessee Supreme Court hears arguments about whether the Tennessee Silica Claims Priorities Act, a statute passed in the wake of fraudulent silicosis claims in the early 2000s, applies to coal ash. In a recent post, I wrote:
The Tennessee Supreme Court, meanwhile, is going to decide whether the Tennessee Silica Claims Priorities Act applies to the case. That statute is a reform that includes a 10-year lung cancer latency requirement, a five-year substantial occupational exposure requirement, and various requirements for medical experts providing testimony. If the statute applies, many of the plaintiffs will be dismissed. The issues include whether coal ash qualifies as "mixed dust" for purposes of the statute and whether the statute, not invoked until considerably after the complaints were filed, is an affirmative defense.
Earlier posts on the case are here and here. Anila Yoganathan of the Knoxville News Sentinel, who is providing excellent coverage of the case, has a new piece about today's arguments. The proceeding is on YouTube here. Anila's (post-argument) coverage of it is here.