Honeywell Water Pollution Class Claims Proceed

Honeywell will have to face class claims for negligence, nuisance, trespass and medical monitoring in a New York water contamination case, the Northern District of New York ruled Feb. 6 ( Baker v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. , 2017 BL 34914, N.D.N.Y., No.
The ruling came in closely-watched litigation over pervasive PFOA contamination in the town’s water supply, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York wrestled with unsettled issues of New York tort law in its decision.
“This is a wonderful decision for the people of Hoosick Falls, who may now proceed with their lawsuit,” Robin Greenwald, of Weitz & Luxenberg in New York City told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 7.
“The court also invited the parties to appeal the decision, and we are presently considering our appellate options,” Pokedoff said in an e-mail.
Private water well owners also have a possessory interest in wells harmed by PFOA trespasses, and private nuisance claims may proceed because of the “special loss” well owners suffer from the installation of monitoring equipment, the court said.
It did, however, dismiss private nuisance claims brought by municipal water users.
Those plaintiffs presented public, rather than private, nuisance considerations, the court said.
Medical Monitoring Claims The companies also argued New York law barred medical monitoring claims brought by Baker and other plaintiffs with elevated PFOA levels, at least where there is no existing diagnosis.
There are “several complex and novel issues of New York law as to which the existing case law is significantly muddled,” and they warranted an immediate appeal of the order to the Second Circuit.
The law offices of Weitz & Luxenberg represented the plaintiffs.

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