The first federal trial on lawsuits seeking damages from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s huge coal ash spill is set to start.
A bench trial on six lawsuits starts Thursday before U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan in Knoxville.
The lawsuits seek damages from a Dec. 22, 2008, TVA dam collapse that spilled 5.4 million cubic yards of sludge. The spill ruptured a natural gas line, disrupted power and transportation, ruined three homes and forced a nearby residential community on the Emory River to evacuate.
The lawsuits contend the nation’s largest public utility was negligent in constructing, maintaining and inspecting the earthen dam at the coal-fired Kingston Plant.
Other lawsuits are set for trial in November.
Hundreds of people who feel the spill cost them have stakes in the court fight.
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