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Armstrong nuke site owner wants judge to force activist to comply with subpoena

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 12:27 a.m.

Nuclear waste site owner Babcock & Wilcox wants a federal court judge to affirm a ruling ordering Leechburg environmental activist Patty Ameno to comply with a March subpoena to provide documents.

The documents relate to Ameno's work with Motley Rice, the law firm representing Kiski Valley resident Michelle McMunn. McMunn and other plaintiffs claim that radioactive emissions from two former nuclear fuel plants in Apollo and Parks caused cancer in nearby residents.

Defendants B&W and Atlantic Richfield operated the plants.

B&W filed the request on Tuesday in federal court in Pittsburgh in response to Ameno's Oct. 31 objection to the federal magistrate judge's order.

Motley Rice is defending Ameno, whom the firm hired in the winter of 2010-11 as a clerk or paralegal to assist potential plaintiffs with paperwork. She is not a plaintiff in the McMunn case.

In the Tuesday filing, B&W reiterated claims that Ameno destroyed evidence and is “cloaking her conduct with improper claims of attorney-client privilege.”

B&W alleges Ameno destroyed documents, specifically emails with plaintiffs and invoices with Motley Rice, in violation of the March subpoena; it disputes Ameno's claim that some of the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege and that she and Motley Rice “engaged in obstructive conduct” at a Sept. 5 deposition.

Motley Rice attorney Jonathan Orent did not return calls seeking comment.

He previously told the Valley News Dispatch that Ameno fully complied with obligations under the subpoena.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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