Guilty verdict rendered in federal asbestos trial in Chattanooga

Guilty verdict rendered in federal asbestos trial in Chattanooga

January 30th, 2012 by Pam Sohn in Local - Breaking News

The companies involved in demolishing the Standard Coosa Thatcher textile plant are facing felony charges for conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act when asbestos was improperly removed from site. Staff File Photo

A federal jury today found three Chattanooga men and a company guilty of conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act when they demolished an old textile mill without first properly removing asbestos.

Don Fillers, James Mathis and David Wood face a maximum of five years imprisonment on the conspiracy and asbestos removal violations. Fillers also faces a maximum of 20 years on a charge of obstruction of justice.

The three are to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Colllier on June 7.

Fillers' company, Watkins Street Project LLC, also was found guilty in the case. Similar charges against Mathis' company, Mathis Companies Inc., were dismissed on recommendation from prosecutors.

Mathis was found not guilty on one count: failure to have a trained [asbestos] individual on site.

Witnesses in the three-week trial told jurors that asbestos was littered over the demolition site, creating dust that blew throughout the area of 17th and 18th streets between Watkins Avenue and Dodds Avenue where the Standard Coosa Thatcher plant once stood.

The plant was demolished between August 2004 and December 2005, and Fillers and Wood salvaged wood and metal from the structure.

Contact staff writer Pam Sohn at psohn@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6346.

Read more details in Tuesday's Times Free Press.