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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Nov 15 5:23 PM - BAMBERG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP0500242

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA ) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
) FOR THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
COUNTY OF BAMBERG )
)
Rosa James, Jessie Ray, and )
Camille Hodge, Sr., on behalf of )
themselves and others similarly situated, )
)
Plaintiff, )
)
vs. ) SUMMONS
)
City of Denmark, )
)
Defendant. )
)

TO THE DEFENDANT ABOVE-NAMED:
YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to answer the complaint herein, a copy of
which is herewith served upon you, and to serve a copy of your answer to this complaint upon the
subscriber, at the address shown below, within thirty (30) days after service hereof, exclusive of the day
of such service, and if you fail to answer the complaint, judgment by default will be rendered against
you for the relief demanded in the complaint.

Columbia, South Carolina /Bakari T. Sellers
Attorney for Plaintiff
Dated: November 15, 2018
Address: 2110 N. Beltline Blvd, Columbia, SC 29204

SCCA 401 (5/02)
ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Nov 15 5:23 PM - BAMBERG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP0500242
STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA ) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
) FOR THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
COUNTY OF BAMBERG )
)
Rosa James, Jessie Ray, and )
Camille Hodge, Sr., on behalf of )
themselves and others similarly situated, )
)
Plaintiff, )
)
vs. ) CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT
)
City of Denmark, )
)
Defendant. )
)

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs are subscribers to the City of Denmark’s water service for the last ten

years. They bring this class action for Breach of Contract and Breach of Implied

Warranty against the City of Denmark for defective water pursuant to Rule 23 of the

South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant warranted that its water was fit for

drinking and for other household purposes. However, the City of Denmark had been

adding HaloSan, a chemical, to its drinking water where the chemical had not been

approved by the United States for human consumption or to disinfect drinking water. 1

The City of Denmark had been adding this chemical for approximately ten years for the

purpose of regulating naturally occurring iron bacteria that can leave red stains or rust-

like deposits.

1
News reports have represented that Defendant relied on the South Carolina Department
of Health and Environmental Control’s approval of the practice involved in this
Complaint. Defendant is free to implead SCDHEC in this action if it so relied.
ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Nov 15 5:23 PM - BAMBERG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP0500242
The Parties

1. Plaintiff Rosa James is a resident and citizen of Bamberg County, South

Carolina.

2. Plaintiff Jessie Ray is a resident and citizen of Bamberg County, South

Carolina.

3. Plaintiff Camille Hodge, Sr., is a citizen and resident of Bamberg County,

South Carolina.

4. Defendant City of Denmark is a municipality in Bamberg County, South

Carolina. It is being sued as a market participant and seller of goods and services. Thus,

this action is not brought under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.

Jurisdiction and Venue

5. Jurisdiction is proper in this Court as the Class of individuals and

businesses are all citizens of South Carolina and Defendant is a municipality in the State

of South Carolina.

6. Venue is proper in this Court because the acts and omissions complained

of took place in Bamberg County, South Carolina.

Factual Allegations

7. Defendant is a market participant and provides drinking water to Plaintiffs

and Class Members in exchange for a fee. This fee is based, in part, by water usage.

8. Defendant has distributed water, including drinking water, for household

purposes for years, including the last ten years as set forth by this Complaint.

9. Defendant provided Plaintiffs and Class Members water for household

purposes, including drinking water, for a fee.

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10. Approximately 10 years prior to the filing of this Complaint, Defendant

began adding a chemical, HaloSan, to its water at one of its four wells.

11. HaloSan is a disinfectant typically used to treat pools and spas. It is not

approved by the United States EPA to disinfect drinking water.

12. According to the EPA, HaloSan has not undergone the necessary

evaluations as part of the pesticide registration process. Thus, the EPA cannot confirm

the safe use of the chemical for the disinfection of drinking water. Moreover, the EPA

has not been provided with any data regarding whether HaloSan can disinfect drinking

water without harm to people or the environment.

13. An EPA risk assessment from 2007 noted that HaloSan can be a

significant eye and skin irritant and can cause burning, rash, itching, skin

discoloration/redness, blistering, and allergic type reactions.

14. Upon information and belief, Defendant added HaloSan to its water

supply to the Class Members to make the water appear clean and to regulate naturally

occurring bacteria that can leave red stains or rust-like deposits in the water.

15. Further, it does not appear that Defendant regulated the dosage of HaloSan

in the administration process or filtered such water before distribution to Class Members.

16. Notwithstanding that Defendant has added this unapproved chemical to its

water supply, it sold same to Class Members and by doing so implicitly represented that

the water was fit for a particular purpose, namely consumption for drinking and other

household purposes.

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17. Each Plaintiff purchased water from Defendant for the last ten years.

Each Plaintiff used the water purchased for household purposes, including for drinking

for the last ten years.

18. Plaintiffs were damaged by Defendant’s conduct as Plaintiffs purchased

and consumer water that included a chemical that was not approved by the EPA and was

not determined to be safe to people or the environment.

Class Action Allegations

19. Plaintiffs bring this action individually and on behalf of the following

class and subclasses:

All citizens of South Carolina who paid water bills to the City of Denmark
within three years of the filing of this Complaint.

All businesses incorporated or organized under the laws of South Carolina
or businesses with their principal place of business in South Carolina who
paid water bills to the City of Denmark within three years of the filing of
this Complaint.

20. Defendant has acted in the same or similar manner with respect to all

Class Members.

21. All Class Members purchased the same or similar water which was not fit

for a particular purpose.

22. The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable.

Plaintiffs believe that there are presently thousands of customers who purchased water

from the City of Denmark.

23. There are numerous questions of law and fact that are common to all Class

Members and that predominate over individual questions, if any. Common questions of

law and fact include:

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Nov 15 5:23 PM - BAMBERG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP0500242
(a) Whether Defendant’s water supply defective and not suited for

household use, including for drinking;

(b) Whether Defendant made the same express and implied

representations and warranties to all Class Members;

(c) Whether Defendant concealed and failed to disclose the

information HaloSan being added to the water supply;

(d) Whether all Class Members have suffered the same or similar

damage as a result of Defendant’s conduct.

(e) Whether Defendant breached its express warranties;

(f) Whether Defendant breached its implied warranty of

merchantability;

(g) Whether Defendant breached its implied warranty of fitness for

particular purpose;

24. Plaintiffs’ claims are typical of the claims of the Class Members.

Plaintiffs are members of the class. Plaintiffs assert the same rights, making the same

claims, and seeking the same relief for themselves and for all other Class Members.

25. Plaintiffs will fairly and adequately represent and protect the interests of

the class. Plaintiffs have no interests that conflict with or which are adverse to the

interests of other class or Subclass Members. Plaintiffs have retained qualified attorneys

who are able and experienced in class action litigation.

26. A class action is a fair and efficient method to adjudicate this controversy.

(a) Common questions of law and fact predominate over individual

questions.

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(b) Proof of plaintiff’s claims will effectively prove the claims of all

other class and Subclass Members.

(c) Resolution of the claims of the class and subclasses will depend on

the application of common principles of law.

(d) A class action will permit a large number of relatively small claims

involving similar facts and legal issues to be resolved efficiently in one proceeding

based on common proof.

(e) This case is manageable as a class action in that:

(1) The material evidence is relatively simple and centralized.

(2) Defendant maintains computer and business records which

will enable Plaintiffs to identify Class Members, and establish liability and damages.

(3) Damages for Class Members can be calculated in the same

or similar manner.

27. The amount of damages for each class member exceeds $100.

FOR A FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
BREACH OF EXPRESS WARRANTIES

28. Plaintiffs reaffirm and re-allege paragraphs 1 through 27 of the Complaint

and incorporate them herein by reference.

29. Defendant provided Plaintiffs with written and/or oral express warranties

regarding the water supply sold to Class Members.

30. Defendant breached the express warranties, which resulted in damages to

Plaintiffs.

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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2018 Nov 15 5:23 PM - BAMBERG - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2018CP0500242
31. Plaintiffs notified Defendant of this breach within a reasonable time after

discovery of the breach and gave Defendant an opportunity to remedy said breach before

filing suit.

32. Therefore, Plaintiffs are entitled to actual, consequential, and special

damages, as a result of the Defendant’s breaches.

FOR A SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
BREACH OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES

33. Plaintiffs reaffirm and re-allege paragraphs 1 through 27 of the Complaint

and incorporate them herein by reference.

34. Defendant provided Plaintiffs with implied warranties of merchantability

and fitness for a particular purpose regarding the water supply sold to Class Members.

35. Defendants breached the implied warranties, which resulted in damages to

Plaintiffs.

36. Plaintiffs notified Defendant of this breach within a reasonable time after

discovery of the breach gave Defendant an opportunity to remedy said breach before

filing suit.

37. Therefore, Plaintiffs are entitled to actual, consequential, and special

damages, as a result of the Defendants’ breaches.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of all Class Members,

request judgment in their favor and against Defendant, and request the following relief:

(a) certification of the plaintiff class, the appointment of Plaintiffs as the class

representatives, and the appointment of Plaintiffs’ counsel as class counsel, pursuant

to Rule 23 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure; and

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(b) compensatory damages for the class to be determined at trial, together

with interest and costs.

JURY DEMAND

Plaintiffs demand a jury trial.

Respectfully submitted, this 15th day of November, 2018.

Strom Law Firm, LLC

s/ Bakari T. Sellers_____________________
J. Preston Strom, Jr. (SC Bar No. 5400)
Mario A. Pacella (SC Bar No. 68488)
Bakari T. Sellers (SC Bar No. 79714)
2110 Beltline Boulevard, Suite A
Columbia, SC 29204
Telephone: (803) 252-4800
Fax: (803) 252-4801
petestrom@stromlaw.com
mpacella@stromlaw.com
bsellers@stromlaw.com

WILSON & LUGINBILL, LLC
J. Christopher Wilson, (S.C. Bar No.: 06987)
Wilson & Luginbill, LLC
P. O. Box 1150
Bamberg, SC 29003
Telephone: (803) 245-7799
Fax: (803)245-0037
chris@w-llawfirm.com

LAW OFFICES OF RONNIE H. SABB
Ronnie H. Sabb (S.C. Bar No. 9814)
P.O. Box 88
Kingstree, SC 29556
Tel: 843.355.5349
ronniesabb@sabblaw.com

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