Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
More than 200 residents in Buena Vista, St Elizabeth, have sued bauxite mining company, Alpart Jamaica Ltd, seeking millions of dollars in damages for dust nuisance.
The claimants contend that since March 2007 and continuing, Alpart has wrongfully, by its acts or omission, caused noxious or caustic bauxite dust to be blown from its 300 hectares red mud disposal lake onto their properties.
Alpart was served late last week with the court documents and has 14 days in which to respond to the suit.
Attorney-at-law Marvalyn Taylor-Wright, who is representing the claimants, said although the suit was filed on July 10, the documents were not served on the defendant as the residents were awaiting a court ruling to allow two of the claimants to represent the group.
Pearl Wint and Joy Campbell will be representing the 204 claimants in the suit.
The claimants are seeking declarations from the Supreme Court that Alpart is liable to them in private nuisance and public nuisance. They want the case to proceed to assessment of damages.
They said in court documents that their crops, fruit trees, houses, motor vehicles and personal items were damaged by the dust nuisance.
Damages for negligence are being sought as the claimants contend that the dust nuisance reached its most dangerous point in March 2010 and was caused by the defendant's alleged failure to take reasonable care to carry out its mining and related operations. The claimants say they have suffered personal injuries as well as loss, damage and expenses.They have submitted medical expenses to substantiate their claims that they were forced to seek medical attention because of the dust nuisance which also allegedly contaminated the water in the community.
One of the claimants Litwell Brooks is seeking $5.6 million to replace his crops, Gavin Brooks, is claiming $7.5 million to replace his crops; Oliver Witter is seeking $1.8 million to replace ground provisions and $2 million to replace fruit trees; Daphne Green is claiming $3 million to replace her crops while Rufus Plummer's claim for ground provisions is $2.5 million. The other claimants costs to replace fruit trees, replace their crops and repaint and clean their homes also run into millions of dollars.