Court summons confusion in North Bennington

NORTH BENNINGTON -- On Tuesday, North Bennington resident Sandy Sumner got a knock on his door around noon time and was surprised to see the Sheriff at his doorstep. “He said are you Mr. Sumner and I said yes, and he said you are being served. I had never even seen a court summons before it; it was a shocker,” Sumner said.

Sumner was one of a dozen North Bennington residents who had received the notice that Saint-Gobain was appealing the State of Vermont’s PFOA advisory level. Saint-Gobain is the company that Vermont has determined is responsible for contaminating North Bennington’s drinking water with the chemical PFOA that has been linked to cancer.

The company is challenging the PFOA level of 20 parts per trillion set by the state of Vermont. Mark Cheffo, a lawyer representing Saint-Gobain, says the residents were simply being notified the company was taking the state to court.

“These folks were at some point involved in the rule making process and if we are bringing a lawsuit against the state and these residents are interested in the proceedings we had to give them notice,” Cheffo said. The document did say at the top that the recipient was being sued but the company confirms that is not the case and on its behalf Cheffo apologized for the confusion. “Absolutely, there was never any intention for the company to sue them,” Cheffo said.

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