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Class-action lawsuit against Cheswick power plant dropped

| Monday, May 11, 2015, 5:03 p.m.

A Springdale resident has dropped her class-action lawsuit claiming that the Cheswick power plant caused a public nuisance for nearby property owners, according to court documents.

Kristie Bell and Joan Luppe sued the owners of the plant in April 2012. Since then, the plant has changed hands and is now owned by NRG Energy.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon dropped Luppe from the lawsuit April 29 for failing to respond to court orders. The attorneys for Bell and NRG Energy on Monday filed a motion to dismiss the case, and Bissoon approved the motion.

James DePasquale, the local attorney for Bell, referred questions to the Detroit attorneys handling the case. They couldn't be reached for comment.

Bell and Luppe never established that the power plant damaged anyone's property and the motion reflects that, said NRG Energy spokesman David Gaier.

“Nothing whatsoever was paid to any of the plaintiffs,” he said. “They simply requested to dismiss their own lawsuit with prejudice.”

The lawsuit claimed that particulate matter and white fly ash caused a nuisance for more than 1,500 people who own property near the plant. The company denied the allegation.

U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry dismissed the case in 2012, ruling that the federal Clean Air Act pre-empted attempts to set tougher emission standards. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision and reinstated the case in 2013, ruling that the federal law sets minimum protections but doesn't preclude lawsuits seeking higher standards.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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