Two Utah County families who claim the Trojan Corp. explosives plant contaminated wells on their property have won access to years of testing data about area groundwater.
Kent G. and Marianne Stephens and David and Ingrid Nemelka sued the plant's past and current owners in 1996, alleging management knew hazardous chemicals were polluting wells but failed to warn them.Trojan, now owned by Ensign-Bickford Industries Inc. of Connecticut, denies their claims.
U.S. Magistrate Samuel Alba ruled this week the families can serve subpoenas on consulting firms hired by Trojan, demanding documents that show what the plant knew and did about groundwater contamination.
Attorney Martin Banks, who represents Trojan, said no decision had been made about whether the company will appeal.
The plant had argued the consultants' work should be shielded from the subpoenas because the firms were hired to investigate as part of Trojan's preparation for future lawsuits. Under some circumstances, work done by a client or attorney to prepare for litigation may be kept private.
Alba quashed the subpoenas in October, but said he would reconsider after Trojan prepared a listing of documents it wanted kept secret and its reasons.
In his new ruling, Alba said Trojan's listing fell "woefully short." Trojan provided no evidence about who hired the environmental consultants, whether their work was overseen by a lawyer, or what type of litigation was expected, he said.
Trojan had sought to protect documents spanning 17 years.