Monsanto fails to shake city of San Diego in water pollution lawsuit
The city of San Diego recently cleared a major legal hurdle in its effort to force chemical giant Monsanto to pay tens of millions to clean up local waterways polluted with a class of cancer-linked chemicals, known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
The lawsuit, brought by the city in 2015, alleges that the St. Louis-based corporation should bear at least part of that cost.
Lawyers for the city contend that Monsanto knew for decades before the federal government banned PCBs in 1979 that the chemicals would result in widespread contamination and negative impacts to human and environmental health.
The company has maintained that it scaled back and then completely stopped making the PCBs as information came to light about their hazardous effects.
“The court finds that the city has alleged sufficient facts to establish that it has a property interest injuriously affected by the nuisance and that Monsanto assisted in the creation of the public nuisance,” Hayes wrote in his recent ruling.
We will continue to aggressively defend ourselves … The city’s case is without merit, and we are confident we will ultimately prevail.” PCBs were largely designed to insulate electrical equipment but were also used in everything from highway paint to pesticides.
Scientists believe the chemicals’ rapidly spreading nature has contaminated nearly every human, fish and creature on the planet to some degree.
The port of San Diego has also brought a similar claim against Monsanto, choosing to represent itself using its own legal team.
A motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the port was denied last year.
If successful, the strategy against Monsanto could expand California’s public nuisance case law as it applies to corporate accountability where standard product liability cases wouldn’t apply.