Motion for new trial in asbestos dumping case to be heard by Landrieu

Alejandro de los Rios Jun. 18, 2010, 3:00am


A six-year-old asbestos case is the subject of a motion for a new trial to be heard today by Judge Madeline Landrieu in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Chef Menteur Land Company Ltd. sued St. Bernard Parish residents Gary and Glenn Sandrock, Eugene Molinary Jr., Bessy Molinary and Gene Molinary Construction Co. after the defendants allegedly dumped solid waste containing asbestos on Chef Menteur's land, which had been leased to the Sandrocks in May 1996.

New Orleans attorney Robert Barnett filed the original petition for damages in April 2004.

The suit claims that the Sandrocks and the Molinarys are liable for cleanup costs incurred by Chef Menteur after the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality cited the property for improper waste that included asbestos.

New Orleans attorney Rene Curry Jr. is representing Glen and Gary Sandrock. Curry replaced the original defense counsel, Chalmette attorney Paul Tabary III, on April 25, 2008.

New Orleans attorney Suzette Bagneris is representing Eugene Molinary, Bessy Molinary and Gene Molinary Construction Co.

The case went to a two-day bench trial and judgment was issued Feb. 11.

Chef Menteur claims that Landrieu's judgment "is contrary to the law and evidence" presented at trial and is claiming entitlement to court and expert witness fees from defendants Gary and Glenn Sandrock, as well as the recovery of judicial interest from the case.

The defense filed a memorandum in opposition to the plaintiff's motion that stated the "the courts decision to award costs is completely discretionary." The motion cited Louisiana Code for Civil Procedure Article 1920, which states, in part, "unless the judgment provides otherwise, costs shall be paid by the party cast."

The motion also states that Chef Menteur is not entitled to recover judicial interest, citing La. R.S. 13:4203 that states parties are awarded interest only in the event of an award of damages based in tort. The motion states that this "does not apply to ex contractu actions ore ones based in contract." The motion also states that the evidence presented at trial showed no intentional tort or fraud on the part of the defendants.

The Sandrocks filed a cross-claim in February 2005 against Eugene Molinary claiming that Molinary was the cause of the waste that was dumped on Chef Menteur's land. The cross-claim alleged that Molinary dumped "without permission or authorization" and that the "liability arises solely as the result of the negligence" of Molinary's actions.

A post-trial memorandum filed by the Sandrock's counsel in October 2009 states that "Molinary admitted in deposition testimony to dumping as much as 40 loads of debris on the property." It also states that Molinary profited off of dumping other people's waste on Chef Menteur's land.

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