What began as a testy environmental tort case 13 years ago has grown into a nasty battle in which a Nashville, Tenn., law firm is accused of using a sham defendant to thwart federal jurisdiction.

The suit, which has lost at every legal turn so far, accuses Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis of fraud in a 1994 wrongful death case that it brought against now-bankrupt Saltire Industrial Inc. Saltire was accused of poisoning well water by dumping toxic waste in a landfill.

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