Navajo Nation Prevails Against Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss in Gold King Mine Suit

With a third ruling issued this week, the Federal District Court in New Mexico has decisively ruled that all parties – the United States, the U.S. EPA’s contractors, and mine owners and operators – must face the consequences arising out of the unprecedented 2015 Gold King Mine spill. The disaster released toxic sludge into the Navajo Nation’s waters, causing substantial damage and disruption.

“With Tuesday’s considered ruling, the Court has largely denied the motions to dismiss brought by each group of defendants named,” said partner Andrew Walsh. “For over three years, since the August 2015 Gold King Mine disaster, we have been fighting for full and fair recovery for our client, The Navajo Nation. Having prevailed on the motions, we look forward to continuing that effort.”

The Court’s ruling ensured that all defendants remain in the case and are subject to liability under both CERCLA and tort law.

The 2015 spill occurred when EPA workers assessing a leak at the Gold King Mine accidentally destroyed a dam holding back water contaminated with arsenic, mercury, cadmium, iron and copper, releasing the tainted water into an Animas River tributary that in turn flowed into the San Juan River and the Colorado River.

The Navajo Nation is represented by John C. Hueston, Moez M. Kaba, Andrew Walsh, and Stephen Richards.

 

Click here to read the Law360 article.

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