Motion to dismiss filed this week in IEI fire

CHARLESTON — Two filings, one to dismiss and one to amend the original complaint in the Intercontinental Export Import fire, were filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

In the motion to dismiss, attorneys for the Surnaik Holdings of West Virginia claim due to the hasty filings of claims there are a number of legal flaws.

All cases related to the fire at the former Ames plant in Parkersburg were removed to U.S. District Court in November from Wood County Circuit Court to become class action suits.

Attorneys for Surnaik Holdings claim the speed in which the claims were made, two days after the fire began in October and a week before it was extinguished, marked an uncertain beginning of the litigation.

“Plaintiffs’ hasty filing necessitated an equally hasty ‘investigation of the factual and legal bases,'” the filing states. “As a result, plaintiffs’ limited allegation and bare legal conclusions fail to provide defendants fair notice of the claims against them.”

The defendants claim the tort claims are barred by the economic loss rule, the trespass claim fails for lack of tangible interference, there is no claim for private nuisance and they lack standing to assert public nuisance, according to the court filing. The negligence claims cannot proceed because there are no plausible allegations to present or reasonably certain future injury and the plaintiffs’ request for declaratory relief does not constitute a cause of action, according to the court filing.

“Accordingly, the array of defendants that plaintiffs sues just two days after the fire started now ask this court to hold the pleading accountable to the law,” the filing states. “It cannot withstand the scrutiny.”

Parkersburg attorney David A. Sims, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said he does not expect the court to grant the motion to dismiss.

“We are preparing a response to the filing by the defendants in the case,” he said Thursday. “Motions to dismiss are rarely granted, even in federal court, and we don’t anticipate this one being any different.”

At the same time a third amended class action complaint was filed to add defendants. In addition to IEI, SirNaik LLC, Surnaik Holdings of West Virginia LLC, Polymer Alliance Services LLC and Green Sustainable Solutions LLC and DuPont, the suit adds Evergreen Transportation, Green Research Center LLC, Kuraray America, Inc., SABIC Innovative Plastics U.S, LLC and individuals Upendra Naik, Saurabh Naik, Rajiv Naik and Shraddha Naik.

Evergreen Transportation and Green Research Center LLC are companies listed as joint ventures of SirNaik LLC, Surnaik Holdings of West Virginia LLC, Polymer Alliance Services LLC, Green Sustainable Solutions LLC, Green Research Center LLC, IEI and John Does 1-25 and John Doe Corps. 26-50.

In the amended suit, the individuals known as the Naik defendants are listed as being in joint ventures with DuPont, Kuraray America, Inc., and SABIC Innovative Plastics U.S., LLC, known as “manufacturer defendants.”

It is not specified as to what ventures in which they are involved.