October 24, 2011

Contributors:
›  Ryan J. Carra
›  Toren M. Elsen


For more information about our firm, please visit www.bdlaw.com .

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›   California

I.    PRODUCT LIABILITY

D.C. Trial Court Rejects Product Liability, Related Claims Alleging Corrosive Drinking Water

Underscoring that regulatory standards and compliance can sometimes provide a defense against liability, particularly where the allegedproduct defects have nothing to do with the intended uses of the product, Beveridge & Diamond successfully defended a major water utility against claims that the drinking water it delivered caused pinhole leaks in plumbing.

California Court Eases Product Liability Pleading Requirements

In a decision easing a plaintiff’s pleading requirements for product liability claims under California state law, the California Court of Appeals ruled that a plaintiff at the pleading stage need not identify the specific toxins contained in a product that allegedly injured him, so long as he can identify the product that allegedly caused him harm.

II.    RCRA and CERCLA

Ninth Circuit Finds Dry Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers Not Liable Under CERCLA or RCRA

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a pair of decisions this quarter that may serve to limit the liability of equipment manufacturers under two key federal environmental remediation statutes.

Second Circuit Requires Pre-Suit Notices to List All Chemicals Forming Basis of RCRA Claim

Emphasizing the importance of specificity in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) notices of intent to sue (“NOIs”), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that NOIs must identify each chemical alleged to be the basis of a RCRA violation for a claim to withstand dismissal.

III.    MEDICAL MONITORING

Sixth Circuit Tosses Medical Monitoring Claim Based on One-in-a-Million Increase in Risk

A Sixth Circuit decision affirming a district court’s grant of summary judgment to CSX Transportation reaffirms the evidentiary standard in tort cases for plaintiffs seeking damages for increased risk of future illness.

IV.    CLASS ACTIONS

Third Circuit Declines to Allow Class Certification Based on Total Class Average Exposure

In a case that limits the availability of class actions for plaintiffs seeking remedies based on their aggregate exposure to a chemical, the Third Circuit affirmed a decision denying plaintiffs class certification because the common evidence proposed for trial was not sufficiently cohesive and common issues of law and fact did not predominate.

Pennsylvania District Court Rejects Proposed Class Defined by Distance from Release Site

Illustrating the evidentiary burdens on class action plaintiffs seeking certification, a federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that a proposed class of plaintiffs living within 2,500 feet of a gas station allegedly contaminating groundwater was overbroad. 

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