Appleton Papers says law firm mischaracterizes ruling in Wisconsin on Fox River cleanup

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Appleton Papers says law firm mischaracterizes ruling in Wisconsin on Fox River cleanup

October 04, 2011 - 13:02
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APPLETON, WI, Oct. 4, 2011 (Business Wire) -A law firm representing one of the polluters in the Lower Fox River clean-up litigation has mischaracterized a decision made last week by Federal Judge William Griesbach, Appleton Papers Inc. (API) said today.

API spokeswoman Katherine Querard said Judge Griesbach has not concluded litigation regarding the Lower Fox River clean-up and he did not place the $950 million clean-up burden solely upon the NCR Corp. and API.

In a press release issued yesterday, the law firm of Hunnsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC -- defense counsel for the Menasha Corp. in the Lower Fox River litigation -- said that a September 30 ruling by Judge Griesbach effectively meant that all clean up costs must be borne by NCR and API.

In fact, the ultimate financial liabilities to be apportioned among all the responsible parties - including Menasha - are still to be determined. Judge Griesbach issued a denial of a technical motion (concerning the right to appeal a partial judgment) and ruled that private parties can now press a claim for Natural Resource Damages under a certain section of CERCLA. The case continues on a schedule as determined by Judge Griesbach with trial set to resume in February.

The Menasha Corp. is one of the companies identified by the US Government as a responsible party for polluting the Lower Fox River. The company has not spent one dollar repairing any damage to Wisconsin's Natural Resources. The Federal and Wisconsin government agencies overseeing the clean-up effort continue to press parties to contribute to the cost of the clean-up.

"Menasha is not spending a dime to clean up the river, but they have no problem hiring lawyers to pretend the company has no responsibility for the pollution they created," said Ms. Querard.

Appleton Papers built a state of the art processing facility in Green Bay. In the first three years of the project, Appleton Papers has dredged 1.5 million cubic yards in the Lower Fox and capped and covered over 150 acres of river bottom. Appleton has done all that it has committed to despite recent court orders indicating that the company has no CERCLA liability.

"As we have said from the beginning of the clean-up effort, API continues to believe that the people of Wisconsin will be better served if money is spent on cleaning up the river and not in court," said Ms. Querard.