Louisiana Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

District court denies reconsideration for individual to sue International Paper Co. over alleged 'black liquor' eruption


By Payton Kuhn | Jun 21, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – In a continuing case of lawsuits levied against the International Paper Co. (IPC) regarding an alleged eruption of “black liquor” at the Bogalusa Paper Mill that plaintiffs claim caused multiple injuries and property damages, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana judge has denied consideration of a civil court trial for one of the plaintiffs.

Jamie Bolton, who along with three other plaintiffs filed separate suits against IPC for damages and negligence regarding another incident that left each with alleged injuries, was denied a hearing after it was conceded that her legal representation “had not been participating in status conferences and had not been responding to the defendants’ discovery requests.” Barry Bolton, her legal representative, had only appeared at four of 24 status conferences.

Considering that the other cases have been joined together in a class-action lawsuit against IPC, and with Bolton claiming that his absences had been due to not receiving notices of the conferences nor any other court orders, the party had requested reconsideration from the court.

In his ruling filed on May 21, Judge Eldon Fallon denied the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration, explaining that the deadline for class certification had already passed and that “Mr. Bolton’s motion plainly does not meet the standard for a motion to reconsider.”

IPC opposed the motion, arguing “that allowing Mr. Bolton to reopen this case would be prejudicial to them, given his repeated failures to comply with the court’s orders and discovery,” and his inaction during the proceedings would prohibit him from being able to prosecute the claims.

Fallon agreed, finding that an investigation into the matter proved Mr. Bolton had in fact received all of the court’s orders and requests for appearances, and that the court’s original decision to dismiss the lawsuit would only prejudice his singular plaintiff.

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U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

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