A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

VA Supreme Court throws out sovereign immunity lawsuit

[JURIST] Citing sovereign immunity, the Virginia Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lawsuit filed by one of 212 women who claimed that drinking contaminated tap water from Chesapeake city caused miscarriages or birth defects. Chesapeake Circuit Court Judge Norman Olitksy had earlier rejected the sovereign immunity defense, which traditionally shields government from lawsuits. Helen Cunningham, whose case was thrown out today, and the other plaintiffs alleged that city officials misled them about contamination in the city's drinking water, specifically for the levels of Trihalomethanes, or THM, which have been linked to birth defects in some studies. During a period of time around 1998, the city was exempt from THM regulation during an upgrade of the water plant. The city did, however, issue various warnings about high THM levels. AP has more. Read the opinion here [PDF].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.