Read the full article by Jim Therrien (Bennington Banner)
“BENNINGTON — Attorneys pressing a class action suit against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics over pollution of groundwater in Bennington want new information that came to light last week to become part of the suit discovery process.
The information came in the form of a whistleblower complaint filed April 6 with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration by former Saint-Gobain attorney Amiel Gross.
Gross contends he was unlawfully fired last year after raising concerns about the company’s response to pollution related to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) around industrial sites in Vermont, New York, New Hampshire and in other states.
Gross was among the attorneys representing Saint-Gobain over the previous four years in suits targeting the impacts of industrial operations on drinking water supplies.
Those actions included the class action suit filed in May 2016 in U.S. District Court in Vermont over contamination of hundreds of wells around two former ChemFab Corp. factories in Bennington, which were last owned by Saint-Gobain.
The discovery phase of the suit had essentially concluded, and the suit appeared to be moving toward a trial date in the fall if no settlement is reached. But a motion filed this week by the plaintiffs seeks to reopen discovery to consider Gross’ allegations, to depose company officials cited by Gross and to seek documents referred to in the OSHA complaint.
Emily Joselson, of Langrock Sperry & Wool, of Middlebury, and James Whitlock, of Davis & Whitlock, of Ashville, N.C., filed the motion and are asking for an emergency hearing.
They are among the team of lawyers representing the Bennington area plaintiff’s group, which also includes David Silver of BarrSternberg Moss Silver & Munson.
If the plaintiffs’ motion is granted, Joselson said this week, that shouldn’t significantly delay a trial start.
‘As we indicate in our motion to reopen,’ she said in an email, ‘there’s already some other discovery to complete before trial, so this presumably could occur simultaneously, and wouldn’t cause significant delay, especially since we do not yet have trial date…’”