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Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 2:25pm

Sugar Case Gets Hearing

Updated: 5 years ago.
Victims families are suing the operators of the Imperial Sugar refinery. (photo U.S. Chemical Safety Board)

A state court judge in Chatham County will hear arguments Thursday in one of the first cases that could go to trial stemming from the deadly explosion at a Savannah-area sugar refinery.

Several victims' families are suing the operators of the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, where 14 workers died and many more were injured in a blast in Feburary of 2008 that investigators believe was caused by combustible dust. The plaintiffs allege that the operators maintained lax safety precautions.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs said, attorneys on both sides were negotiating all day Wednesday to narrow the scope of Thursday's hearing. Originally, judge Hermann Coolidge was to set to hear 12 motions. That now could be less than five, mostly related to what evidence and testimony will be heard when a trial begins next year.

Meanwhile, all parties are awaiting the findings of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, one of the agencies that investigated the blast. Its findings will be made public at a board meeting in Savannah on September 24th.

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