A gravel pit in Cass County reached another legal milestone amid more than a decade of litigation, with promises of more jurisprudence ahead.
A Jackson County jury awarded several current and former Greenwood, Mo., residents $831,365 in damages from Martin Marietta Materials Inc., the Raleigh, N.C.-based company that runs a limestone quarry south of the town.
The quarry produces various sizes of aggregate, from fine sand-like stone to large pieces called rip rap that are used in landscaping and soil retention according to the company’s website. Much of its product is used in road building.
Jurors found that heavy-truck traffic through Greenwood had inflicted actual damages to the 19 plaintiffs, made up of individuals and couples. Separate verdicts ranged from $6,590 to $156,974.
But the jury found no grounds to award punitive damages.
Kenneth McClain, who represented the residents, said he plans to seek punitive damages through an appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals. He said part of the appeal will focus on the carcinogenic impact of dust the trucks spread throughout their route.
“This limestone dust is laden with silica and is a carcinogen,” McClain said. “They’re dumping this dust all over the streets and all over the neighborhood.”
McClain said these issues were kept out of the trial that led to the damages awarded on Dec. 19.
Officials with and attorneys representing Martin Marietta Materials could not be reached Friday.
An announcement by McClain’s firm, Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, said as many as 750 trucks passed residents’ houses a day “shaking homes, breaking windows, spitting gravel and dust, sometimes exceeding the speed limit and preventing parents from letting their children play outside in their front yards.”
The limestone quarry has been a sore spot between Greenwood and Martin Marietta and others off and on since at least 2006.
The company has sued over the city’s restrictions on truck traffic. Greenwood has sued over road damages from the quarry traffic and won an $11.9 million judgment, that subsequently led to a settlement for a smaller amount.