WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 12/3/18 4:50 P.M.
A judge in U.S. District Court in Charleston has dismissed multiple counts against three defendants in a lawsuit filed in the aftermath of the IEI warehouse fire in Parkersburg in October 2017.
The ruling issued Monday by Judge Thomas Johnston dismisses multiple claims against SABIC Innovative Plastics, Kuraray America Inc. and a group of Sirnaik-affiliated companies.
However, Johnston denied a request by the Sirnaik companies to dismiss counts of negligence and gross-negligence.
The class-action lawsuit was filed in Wood County Circuit Court on Oct. 23, 2017, while the fire was still burning. It named all three companies as defendants and was later transferred to U.S. District Court.
It alleged that the Sirnaik companies owned and operated the warehouse as a "dump site" for hazardous waste and that SABIC and Kuraray America shipped hazardous materials to the facility without providing proper storage instructions.
The owners then allegedly stored the materials without "an effective fire prevention and suppression system," the lawsuit said.
Attorney Mike Hissam, who represents the warehouse owners, issued the following statement after Monday’s ruling.
“We are pleased that, for the second time, the federal court has recognized that the vast majority of the claims in these lawsuits are meritless,” he said. “We look forward to vigorously defending the remaining claims.”
All but one claim of a lawsuit filed in the aftermath of the IEI warehouse fire have been dismissed in federal court.
According to a court order provided to WTAP by Mike Hissam, the attorney representing the owners of the warehouse, Judge Thomas Johnston of the Southern U.S. District Court in Charleston granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss seven of eight counts of the class action case on Friday.
Only one count, “negligent infliction of emotional distress,” remains, according to the court order.
Dismissed were counts of public and private nuisance; negligence and gross negligence; trespassing; medical monitoring and unjust enrichment.
The class-action suit was originally filed in Wood County Circuit Court on Oct. 30, nine days after the fire ravaged the building on Camden Avenue just outside the Parkersburg city limits.
It alleged that the fire “released smoke, soot, pollutants, air contaminants, and noxious odors, causing material injury to plaintiffs’ property through negligence, gross negligent and nuisance.”
The case was moved to federal court in November.
Named as a defendant in the case was Saurabh Naik, the principal owner of Surnaik Holdings of WV LLC, Sirnaik LLC, Polymer Alliance Services LLC, Green Sustainable Solutions LLC and Maryland- based Intercontinental Expert Import Inc. John Barker is named as a plaintiff in the case.