Both New-Indy Containerboard and New-Indy Catawba have answered complaints from plaintiffs in the class-action suit against the parties.
The answering of the plaintiffs’ claims is part of the legal process, but ironically, both New-Indy Containerboard and New-Indy Catawba released separate answers to the plaintiffs’ claims that were more than 60 pages each.
New-Indy Containerboard, the parent company of New-Indy Catawba, answered separately, saying it has nothing to do with the decisions of New-Indy Catawba, the brown paper mill located between Rock Hill and Van Wyck off S.C. 5, which has been controversial since it opened in 2020.
Often throughout the answers to the plaintiffs, New-Indy Containerboard “denies that it owns and/or operates the Mill.” New-Indy Containerboard did admit that it is the parent company of New-Indy Catawba, but states that New-Indy Catawba bought the mill and converted it.
However, it was New-Indy Containerboard that entered into a confidentiality agreement with former mill owner Resolute in October 2018 for the purchase of the mill, but denies it conducted all negotiations with Resolute.
The parent company also denies that it provided money, financial backing or provided funds for the purchase of the mill from Resolute, despite New-Indy Catawba just being formed in September 2018, less than a month before an asset purchase agreement was entered into between Resolute and New-Indy Containerboard.
New-Indy Containerboard did admit it owned 100% of the interest in New-Indy Catawba.
The answers to the plaintiffs also laid out their allegations, which were denied by New-Indy for the most part. When New-Indy Catawba or Containerboard weren’t denying allegations, they said a “lacked knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegation” kept them from commenting on allegations.
The plaintiffs suing New-Indy claim the mill is a private nuisance, and was negligent or grossly negligent in its operations. On Aug. 5, Judge Sherri Lydon dismissed a negligence per se claim against New-Indy by the plaintiffs in the case.
Plaintiffs are also claiming economic damages to their property, as well as personal injury and illness due to chemicals, such as hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan, being released from the mill.
There have been more than 30,000 complaints to state and federal agencies about the mill since 2020. The plaintiffs are asking for a preliminary and permanent injunction to cease pollution from the plant and to remediate the environment.
New-Indy’s defensive answers to the plaintiffs state they have failed to state a claim for relief, that the state court lacks jurisdiction over New-Indy Containerboard, that there is a lack of standing in the plaintiffs’ claims, a failure to mitigate by the plaintiffs, and that the mill’s exposure was so minimal that it is insufficient to cause any damage, injury or loss, among other defensive claims.
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