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    Judge to Decide If Navy Admiral Paparo Can Be Deposed in Red Hill Case

    Judge to Decide If Navy Admiral Paparo Can Be Deposed in Red Hill Case

    A federal judge is expected to decide soon whether Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of the Navy's Pacific Fleet, will have to sit for a deposition in a civil lawsuit brought by and civilian families whose drinking water was contaminated with jet fuel from the Navy's Red Hill fuel facility in November 2021.

    The plaintiffs, whose numbers are expected to swell to about 1, 500, are asking the federal government to compensate them for past and future pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses and property loss, among other damages they say are attributable to their drinking water being poisoned.

    Attorneys for the Red Hill families already have deposed a number of high-level military and civilian officials who were overseeing the Navy's fuel facility in 2021. But the federal government has balked at their request to depose Paparo, who is designated to become the next chief of naval operations, the Navy's senior military officer and a member of the  Chiefs of Staff.

    Attorneys for both sides sought to persuade Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield to rule in their favor as they presented oral arguments in a downtown Hono ­lulu courtroom Wednesday.

    Caroline Stanton, an attorney for the federal government, argued that deposing Paparo would not advance the plaintiffs' case and was an attempt to harass a high-ranking military official.

    James Baehr, an attorney for the Red Hill families, countered…

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