Myrtle Beach South Carolina

July 25, 2013

Myrtle Beach groundwater pollution trial headed back to court

Source:, July 19, 2013
By: David Wren

A pollution trial that was sidetracked last year by a lack of jurors is scheduled to start Monday in Conway with would-be condominium developers JDS Development of Myrtle Beach Inc. blaming the failure of their project on groundwater contamination caused by electronics manufacturer AVX Corp.

David and Steve Nance, partners in JDS Development, claim groundwater containing trichloroethylene, or TCE, migrated from the AVX site along 17th Avenue South to their property, causing their bank to withdraw a construction loan for their planned Southern Pines condo project at the intersection with Beaver Road.

AVX denies the allegations and is expected to argue that the real estate collapse – not polluted groundwater – caused the project’s demise.

The case – originally filed in January 2008 – was supposed to go to trial last year, but only 20 potential jurors showed up during the first day of jury selection and the trial had to be delayed. Judge Benjamin Culbertson has said at least 200 people will be summoned this time to provide a sufficient jury pool.

In addition, AVX has filed more than a dozen pre-trial motions that will have to be heard before the trial begins. Most of those motions seek to have certain evidence and testimony excluded from the trial. For example, AVX previously asked Culbertson to bar any references to TCE’s health hazards, claiming such references are irrelevant to the property damages claim and are only an attempt to scare jurors. Culbertson took that request under advisement last year.…

December 5, 2012

Judge to decide whether Santee Cooper pollution lawsuit proceeds

Source: Sun News, Myrtle Beach, SC, November 15, 2012
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A state judge said Wednesday he will wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday to rule on whether a lawsuit pitting environmentalists against state-owned electric utility Santee Cooper will proceed.

A trio of environmental groups wants the utility to remove a pair of coal ash ponds at the Grainger Generating Station in Conway, saying the ponds are polluting groundwater and the adjacent Waccamaw River with arsenic and other contaminants. The groups — which are suing under the state’s Pollution Control Act — also want Santee Cooper to clean up groundwater around the idled coal-fired electric plant.

Santee Cooper asked Judge Larry Hyman to dismiss the case, saying a legislative amendment to the act now bans lawsuits filed by private individuals or groups.

Hyman said during a court hearing that he will give both sides until Nov. 26 to provide additional documents backing their arguments before making a ruling “as soon as possible thereafter.”

Santee Cooper lawyer Rush Smith III said the environmental groups waited too long to file their lawsuit. The Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents the groups, filed the lawsuit shortly after noon on June 6. Gov. Nikki Haley signed the amendment into law at about 5:15 p.m. that day. Smith said courts do not recognize fractions of days, therefore, the law was in effect for the entire day once Haley signed it.

Frank Holleman, a lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center, called Smith’s argument “fiction” and said the amendment specifically states that it takes effect upon Haley’s approval.…

May 27, 2011

AVX buys fouled land in Myrtle Beach

Source: Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC), May 24, 1011
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Electronic components maker AVX Corp. has purchased the Myrtle Beach property that it contaminated with a suspected carcinogen called trichloroethylene, according to Horry County property records.

AVX paid nearly $4.6 million for the approximately 21.5-acre parcel previously owned by Horry Land Co., according to a deed transfer recorded last week.

The property is across the street from the manufacturer’s facility along 17th Avenue South.

The price tag was less than the $5.4 million that Horry Land sought when it sued AVX over the contamination in October 2007. That lawsuit eventually was moved to federal court and the two sides reached a settlement agreement in midtrial earlier this year.

Those involved in the land sale could not be reached for comment Monday. AVX lawyer Kevin Dunlap, Horry Land officials and their lawyer, Saunders Bridges, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.…

March 14, 2011

Myrtle Beach officials consider legal action over AVX pollution

Source:, March 10, 2011
By: David Wren

Myrtle Beach officials say they are concerned that groundwater contamination from AVX Corp. might be more widespread than previously thought, and they are looking into whether legal action is warranted against the manufacturer.

“We want to know what liability they [AVX] have to the city and to the residents that live in that area,” Mayor John Rhodes said Wednesday. “We’re looking at the impact this has had on those residents’ welfare and the value of their property. Also, what impact the negative publicity will have on the city.”

Rhodes said more information will be gathered before the city makes any decisions. The City Council received a legal briefing on the issue during its meeting Tuesday. …

March 1, 2011

AVX settles contamination lawsuit

Source: Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC), February 28, 2011
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AVX Corp. on Monday reached a confidential settlement with an adjacent land owner over groundwater contamination near the manufacturer’s facility on 17th Avenue South in Myrtle Beach, bringing an end to a dispute that started in late 2007.

The settlement was announced during what would have been the fourth day of testimony in a jury trial over contamination discovered on property owned by Horry Land Co.

Neither AVX nor Horry Land would comment on the settlement agreement.

The trial will move into a second phase beginning Thursday, when Judge Terry Wooten will decide whether the U.S. military contributed to the groundwater contamination on Horry Land’s site.

AVX has admitted in contaminated Horry Land’s groundwater with trichloroethylene, a common degreaser in the 1960s and ’70s that now has been determined to cause cancer. AVX, however, says some of the contamination could have come from the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which is located adjacent to the manufacturer. The military also used large amounts of trichloroethylene, or TCE, and there are several areas on the former base where groundwater is polluted by the chemical.…

January 24, 2011

Ruling worries S.C. contractors: Responsibility for settlements shifts

Publication Date 01/21/2011
Source: Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)
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A recent ruling from South Carolina’s highest court has general contractors throughout the state worried that they could be liable for paying potentially huge financial damages that their insurers traditionally covered.

Property owners who sue builders for faulty workmanship — such as sloppily installed windows, an improperly poured concrete foundation or a poorly sealed building exterior — can be awarded generous settlements from the court system.

Insurance carriers usually pay that money on behalf of builders through a common type of policy called commercial general liability. But the S.C. Supreme Court shifted that responsibility to general contractors on Jan. 7 when it ruled on a 10-year-old case about a poorly built Myrtle Beach condominium development.…