TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - A legal team has filed a class action lawsuit against Tonawanda Coke claiming widespread environmental damages, and now those same attorneys are seeking clients for individual environmental claims against the company.
It's a meeting with a team of attorneys, the latest volley in the ongoing battle waged for years by neighbors of the Tonawanda Coke plant, neighbors worried sick about what the plant is putting in their air and water.
Charles Cobb of Collins & Brown Attorneys said, "We're going to be here to tell people about their rights and remedies associated with Tonawanda Coke."
This community meeting attracted dozens of residents with a host of health problems concerned that Tonawanda Coke might be the cause. Maria Tisby, a nurse, lost her husband ten months ago.
"Well, I just feel that knowledge is power, and I think that if you get some information then you can make your choices," said Tisby.
Former Tonawanda resident Evelyn Clark said, "Just for the benefit of my son when he was diagnosed with it because he was on a breathing machine and medication and I was on the medication for it."
Riverside resident Jackie Dillon said, "I have five grandchildren that live with me. Four of them, as of now, have asthma. I have the tremors and a heart condition because of the breathing problems in our area."
Tonawanda Coke has been cited by state and federal authorities for violating clean air and water standards with the release of poisonous benzene a major concern.
Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte said, "It's very shameful, their behavior in this regard. I think they need to step up to the plate and be a good corporate citizen. Obviously, they need to follow the law."
Attorneys asked reporters to leave this meeting shortly after it started, saying the information shared falls under the umbrella of attorney/client privilege.
"The next step is we've got to wait for Tonawanda Coke and the other defendants to step forward," explained Cobb.
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