CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A West Virginia House of Delegates member is one of the more recent people to join in lawsuits relating to a chemical leak that contaminated water in several counties.
Delegate Michael Manypenny, D-Taylor, joined several Charleston residents and business owners in a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
In the suit, Manypenny said he was exposed to the contaminated water while the Legislature was in session.
The suit says Manypenny wants to represent those who don't live in the affected area but were exposed to the water and require medical monitoring.
So far, this is the second federal lawsuit filed related to the Jan. 9 leak of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol off Freedom Industries' property into the Elk River.
The chemical later made its way into the West Virginia American Water treatment facility that supplies water to nine counties.
Other plaintiffs in the suit are Vandalia Grill, Georgia Hamra, John Sarver, Mousie's Car Wash, Nitro Car Care Center LLC, Carolyn Burdette, Colors Salon and Boutique LLC and Crystal Goode.
The federal lawsuit also marks change from several other previous lawsuits because it has gone beyond Freedom Industries and West Virginia American Water Corporation, adding the chemical's manufacturer Eastman Chemical Company and Freedom President Gary Southern as defendants.
Some of the previous lawsuits listed only Freedom Industries as a defendant while many others listed both Freedom Industries and West Virginia American Water Co. One lawsuit also listed Freedom CEO Dennis Farrell.
The 25-page lawsuit said Southern recently sold his interest in the facility but still works as a consultant for Freedom. Plaintiffs maintain Southern either knew or should have known about the conditions of the facility.
The suit asserts Eastman failed to warn about the dangers of the chemical and its warning data was inadequate.
"The foreseeable risks of harm posed by 4MCHM could have been reduced or avoided by reasonable instructions or warnings; their omissions rendered the product not reasonably safe."
Plaintiffs say West Virginia American Water Company should have known the risk of the facility being located upstream from their intake and should have determined chemicals used and what risk it presented to the water supply.
The suit seeks an injunction ordering defendants to remove all sources of contamination from the facility, an injunction ordering the water company to complete a risk assessment on the pollution risks and order Eastman to complete a toxicological analysis of the risks of the chemical to health.
Some state court lawsuits have gone beyond the two main defendants of Freedom Industries Inc and West Virginia American Water Company.
The Shape Shop Inc. and Thelma Fays Cafe filed a suit in Kanawha County Circuit Court against Freedom and the water company but also included New Jersey-based American Water Works Service Company Inc.
The Shape Shop and Thelma Fays Cafe also filed a federal lawsuit Jan. 11 against Freedom Industries.
Wednesday, plaintiffs filed a notice of dismissal of the federal lawsuit.
In their state court lawsuit, plaintiffs seek monetary damages and other relief following the chemical leak.
"Due to defendants' negligent pollution of the water supply all restaurants in the .<!p>.<!p>. affected counties are effectively shut down indefinitely because a restaurant cannot open without an abundant supply of clean water," the suit asserts.
The suit asserts investigators determined the chemical had been leaking for an "undetermined amount of time" before the Jan. 9 incident.
The restaurant owners also allege defendants were aware of the "dangerous and ultra-hazardous release of the chemical and have failed to contain the same."