Attorney behind lawsuit against Tennessee American Water hopes outcome leads to improvements
A class-action lawsuit was filed in circuit court on Tuesday against Tennessee American Water by several businesses and residents affected by the recent water crisis.
Lee Davis of Davis and Hoss says he along with four other attorneys want to make sure people and businesses won't lose money because of a company's failure to maintain a water system, and he hopes this lawsuit will get city leaders more involved.
"Obviously, we hope that the City Council, the Mayor, the people in public policy decisions will hold Tennessee American Water to have a conversation about what is the security of our water system going forward,” Davis said.
Davis says there is no excuse for a city like Chattanooga to not have water for almost 48 hours.
"We're the Gig City, and the water won't turn on. That's a problem,” Davis said.
The class-action lawsuit accuses the water company of negligence, saying Tennessee American ignored multiple issues with the water system that caused the recent water main break.
The water outage forced several businesses to close for more than 36 hours, which caused those businesses to lose thousands.
Workers throughout the city also lost wages during the water main break.
"What people don't realize is that in Chattanooga we have a tourist economy and we have services, and this affects main businesses, main wage earners who are working paycheck to paycheck,” Davis said.
Attorney Van Bunch says he's dealt with the water company in the past.
He helped Charleston, West Virginia in a settlement with American Water after their water supply was contaminated by a tanker.
It's experience like that Davis thinks will help and get the water system Chattanooga needs.
"We need to find out if there are redundancies in the system and if their backup supplies are able to provide the services that we all pay for,” Davis said.
Davis and Bunch hope to have this lawsuit before a judge within the next 30 days.