Attorney Kathleen Barrow of Fox Rothschild law firm, who represents local residents, and Terence Quinn of Quinn law firm, said they will now proceed with the class certification process.
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Barrow said the state cannot appeal the decision unless “for some reason our standing was unsustainable and should not be allowed to continue, but the issue is closed for the time being.”
She also said the court could decide whether sovereign immunity is an issue during the class action certification process, but it’s not currently an issue. If the court decides that there is a problem, plaintiffs and other local residents who wish to join the potential class action lawsuit would have to file lawsuits against the state and other defendants separately.
Barrow said they now have an application for permission to conduct a pre-certification discovery and will be looking for items required for class action status. The elements would need to show that there are numerous plaintiffs similar to those in the lawsuit, that they have the same type of damages and legal claims, and that the lawyer representing the plaintiffs is adequate to do the job.
If a judge upholds the motion, it will proceed like any other lawsuit.
“I think the most important thing here, and what we’re most excited about, is that the court made it clear that the state owned the underground and had certain obligations to maintain the surface,” said Barrow. “The people who have been injured have the right to make claims to be financially complete and safe in their homes, able to leave their homes, find safety and live the rest of their lives . “