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Geneva couple wins $42 million settlement against city in foundry case

A Geneva couple has won a $42,175,000 judgment against the city over contamination at the former Geneva Foundry site.

MAp of the Former Geneva Foundry project on-site and off-site areas.
Map of the Former Geneva Foundry project on-site and off-site areas and status of off-site cleanup activities. Credit: NYS DEC

Related: Geneva Foundry lawsuit could go to trial next month

The Finger Lakes Times reports Todd and Linsdey Powers of Geneva sued the city, saying it didn’t tell them contamination from the former Geneva Foundry made the property they purchased on Wadsworth St. unfit for development. The Powers’ purchased a vacant lot next to their Wadsworth St. home. Their attorney, Steve Williams, said the city told the couple before they bought the land that it was safe for redevelopment.

Todd Powers was awarded $5 million for pain and suffering and $1 million in expenses. Williams said Todd Powers excavated land on the property by hand, causing him to suffer from lead poisoning. Lindsey Powers received a total of $5,175,000 for the loss of consortium with her husband.

Related: Geneva Foundry cleanup: 38 contaminated sites targeted for 2022

The Geneva Foundry was located near their property, at 23 Jackson St., from 1868-1988. The company burned coal, coke, scrap metals, and other materials in its furnace. There were no restrictions placed on its burning until 1970. Contamination has been found on 244 neighboring properties. The city acquired the foundry property in 1998 and enrolled it in the state’s Environmental Restoration Program. The city has been removing materials from the site since 2005. Soil removal from the contaminated sites has been underway since 2017 and is expected to be finished for all the properties by next year.

What will the city do next?

The city’s attorney, James Young, said the city is disappointed in the verdict and will consider an appeal.

The Powers’ sued the city and then-City Manager Matt Horn in 2019. A judge later removed Horn from the suit and dismissed all but one cause of action, leaving a cause of negligence against the city.

Todd Powers had no comment after the verdict but said he may make a statement in the next few days.