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Posts published in “Day: February 26, 2015

County Attorney files for a new trial in Waste Pit verdict

HARRIS COUNTY – County Attorney Vince Ryan, who won a judgement against two alleged polluters in the San Jacinto River Waste Pits trial, has decided to return to the courts to try to get a verdict against the third defendant, International Paper Company.

This company was found not guilty by a jury, in the midst of the trial. However, the other two companies decided to settle for about $29.2 million, without knowledge that IP had won their release.

Attorneys from Ryan’s office filed for a new trial last week. They claim that the judge in the trial, District Judge Caroline Baker, made numerous errors and therefore they were not able to get a fair hearing.

In the original suit, Harris County had asked for damages or fines of as much as $25,000 per day, starting in 1973 and continuing through 2008. If awarded, the sum would have been as high as $600 million dollars.

The lawsuit contended that the three companies involved allowed cancer-causing dioxins to leak from abandoned disposal pits on a piece of land north of the I-10 bridge, near Channelview and Highlands. The companies involved were McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp., its successor Waste Management, and the manufacturer Champion Paper, which succeeded into International Paper. The first two companies settled with the county, and International Paper won a jury verdict, that Ryan know wants to retry.

Fatal Shooting at Barrett Sta. Game Room

BARRETT STATION – An armed robber attempted to hold up a game room in Barrett Station on Tuesday afternoon, but was thwarted by a security guard and the manager, who fired at the robber, fatally wounding him. The robber entered the building wearing a mask and gloves, according to witnesses.

The attemped robbery happened at about 4:00 p.m. in a new game room building, near the intersection of FM2100 and FM1942.

Witnesses said that the robber entered the game room, and go into an altercation with the security guard, who was pistol whipped in the struggle. The guard then opened fire on the intruder. The manager of the game room also shot at the man, who ran out the door and colllapsed in front of the building, where he died.

No one else was hurt, according to authorities, although there were about five to seven other customers in the building at the time.

Deputies found three weapons at the scene, and eight shell casings inside the game room. The manager and the security guard were questioned. The security guard sustained injuries to his head, and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. He is reportedly in stable condition.

Witnesses said there may have been more than one robber, and deputies are looking for a black Dodge Charger, that may have been a getaway vehicle.

If you have any information on this case, you are asked to call the Harris County Sheriff’s homocide office, 713-221-6000.