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Appellate Decision a Win and Loss for Plaintiffs in IBM Plume Case


Following a split decision by a mid-level appeals court late last week, attorneys are expected to ask New York's highest court to hear arguments in the massive toxic tort lawsuit against IBM Corp.

In an 11-page order issued Thursday, the state Supreme Court Appellate Division partially overturned two of five orders Broome County Supreme Court Judge Ferris D. Lebous issued in November 2012.

Lebous' orders dealt with whether allegations of negligence, nuisance, trespass, medical monitoring damages and contamination from chemicals other than TCE (trichloroethylene) should be considered at the eventual trial.

Those orders were followed by appeals from both sides, leading to the mid-level court's decision Thursday to overturn two of the five: one in IBM's favor; and another in the favor of the plaintiffs.

The eventual trial is expected to be postponed by yet even more appeals.

Stephen Schwarz, a Rochester-based attorney representing plaintiffs in the case, said he plans to file legal paperwork within 30 days asking the state Court of Appeals --- New York's highest court --- to hear the case.

"I think that we were partially gratified by the results," he said of the appeals court's decision. "There are a few things that we think that the law should be clarified by the Court of Appeals, and I think that's what we'll make an attempt to do." 

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