Ruth Yardum

As reported on February 28, 2003:
Sewage suit costs city
$7.3 million judgment
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A jury slammed the city of Atlanta with a $7.3 million verdict this week when it found the city sewage's "foul septic odor" had ruined both a recycling business and 20 acres in a hardscrabble northwest Atlanta neighborhood.
Frank Thomas had leased 20 acres in Hill Park to start a recycling business in June 1998 and a year later had to shut down because sewage had contaminated his property, according to the Fulton County lawsuit.
Thomas contended the sewage was seeping from the soil and a cracked sewer pipe. City officials contended the business, Landmark Environmental Industries, was creating the problem with its composting operation to make organic soil.
"They were blaming my client," said Steve Apolinsky, who represented Landmark Environmental. "My client was put out of business."
The city blamed Landmark Environmental for a spill across the street from the property a month after the lease began. Apolinsky said the business used wood and vegetation such as yard clippings, not manure, to make the soil.
City Attorney Linda DiSantis said the city would appeal, a process that could stop any payment for a couple of years. She believed the verdict to be one of largest that the financially strapped city has had to absorb.
"It's way too big," she said. "We'll be challenging everything we can."
After a 12-day trial, the jury on Wednesday awarded Landmark Environmental $2.6 million and Ruth Yardum, the landlord, $4.8 million including attorney fees. Yardum, a native Atlantan, cut a sympathetic figure, her lawyers said.
The inherited property was the main income for the elderly woman, who lives with her son in California, said Megan Mathews, one of the attorneys.
"The jury liked her," Mathews said. "She is 81 years old and in a wheelchair."
The property, located on Spink Street, near the intersection of Bolton Road and Hollywood Road, was valuable as an industrial site but rendered useless by the raw sewage seeping from the soil, Mathews said.
Joe Chancey, the lead lawyer for Yardum, said the city's own videotape of the sewer pipe under nearby Perry Boulevard showed the pipe was cracked and blocked in a way to cause it to overflow. Perry Boulevard runs on a ridge about 850 feet from the property, lawyers said.
He said the city balked at testing the pipes. Later it tested the groundwater under Perry Boulevard and found it extremely polluted, he said.
DiSantis said the city's hydrology expert disputed the contention that so much raw sewage could have seeped from a crack in the pipe, citing such factors as topography and distance from the blamed pipe. But Superior Court Judge Joel Fryer prohibited the testimony because the city had not hired the expert until just weeks before trial. "It certainly would have helped our case to have our expert rebut their theory," DiSantis said.

The Murmaids - were bumped out of the #1 Spot on The Record World Chart by The Beatles... "Popsicles And Icicles"  in 1963, was replaced by "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and the world of pop music forever changed... "Popsicles"... produced by Kim Fowley at Gold Star (Hollywood) and engineered by Stan Ross on Chattahoochee Records... CEO Ruth Conte Yardum... and the rest of the team are all pictured to the right ... everyone except Nestor Labonte.

“ Popsicles and Icicles”