New-Indy Containerboard asks judge to dismiss 'foul odor' lawsuit

CATAWBA, S.C. (From news reports) -- Attorneys for New-Indy Containerboard have asked a federal judge to dismiss the first of three lawsuits filed against the company following months of concerns about hydrogen sulfide emissions coming from the company's Catawba mill.

The mill is under the microscope of regulators after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and South Carolina DHEC determined the company was emitting too much hydrogen sulfide, which, they believe, is causing the foul odor affecting homeowners across the Charlotte region.

In its nearly 700-page motion, New-Indy Containerboard cited three reasons why a judge should dismiss the first lawsuit filed against them back in May.

New-Indy Containerboard claimed homeowners didn't meet their burden demonstrating that the court has personal jurisdiction over the mill's parent company, New-Indy Containerboard, LLC.

In its response, the company included affidavits from two employees.

According to an affidavit from Scott Conant, the chief financial officer of New-Indy Catawba LLC, he said, "New-Indy Catawba has been the mill's sole owner and operator."

He further stated the mill's parent company, New-Indy Containerboard, LLC, "has not had an ownership interest in the mill."

According to an affidavit from New-Indy Containerboard, LLC's corporate secretary, Thomas Bennett, he said, "New-Indy Containerboard never purchased the mill referenced in Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint and has never had any ownership interest in the mill."

But according to the purchase agreement made when New-Indy Catawba LLC bought the facility from Resolute FP U.S., Inc. in 2018, it lists "New-Indy Containerboard, LLC" as the "parent" and New-Indy Catawba as the "purchaser."

According to a section of the 161-page agreement, the "Parent owns, beneficially and of record, 100% of the membership interests of Purchaser. The authorized equity securities of Purchaser consist solely of membership interests."

The company has requested extensions to its deadlines to respond to two other lawsuits filed against them.

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