Medical lawsuit filed against former Pineville Dresser facility

What’s believed to be the first medical lawsuit against the former Dresser facility in Pineville was filed on December 30, 2020.
Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:53 PM CST
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - What’s believed to be the first medical lawsuit against the former Dresser facility in Pineville was filed on December 30, 2020.

The lawsuit was filed by Alexandria Attorney Thomas Wahlder and New Orleans based Attorney Lawrence Centola. In the lawsuit, allegations are made against Dresser related to a chemical spill at the facility. The suit alleges serious medical issues and even death for two of the four plaintiffs. Those medical issues include being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, liver cancer and kidney cancer.

Family members for those two plaintiffs are seeking compensation on their behalf. This isn’t the first lawsuit filed against the facility, but it’s believed to be the first medical lawsuit. However, this newest lawsuit doesn’t state when the now-deceased plaintiffs were diagnosed with these medical issues or when they passed away. An attorney working the case as a co-counsel with Alexandria attorney Wahlder, Stephen Hecker, says the lawsuit is asking for “several different types of remedies for pain and suffering, for remediation of the property, loss of use and several other different kinds of remedies allowed in Louisiana,”.

It’s believed that the chemical spill at the former Dresser facility started by at least 2011. But residents in surrounding residential areas weren’t notified about the contamination until March of 2020. The contaminant is called Trichloroethylene (TCE). The Department of Health and Human Services considers Trichloroethylene to be a human carcinogen, meaning it can potentially cause cancer.

A few lawsuits were filed by Rapides Parish residents in 2020. Earlier in the year, LDEQ said Dresser initiated two remediation processes. Installing wells and conducting a pilot test to treat soil by removing gas.

Dresser also injected chemicals into the groundwater to break down the contaminants starting back in June of 2018 before anyone was notified about the contamination.

We reached out to an attorney on Dresser’s side of the lawsuit for comment but a spokesperson for Dresser Pineville released a statement on their behalf saying:

“While we don’t comment on active litigation, the Dresser Pineville project team remains fully committed to resolving the local environmental issue in full coordination with the LDEQ.”


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