Federal court grants Daubert and summary judgment motions filed by Firm client General Motors in PCB lawsuit.

09/16/06

IN

S.D. Ind. -- United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

Toxic Torts & Products Liability

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In 2001 and again in 2003, Firm client General Motors Corporation (“GM”) entered into formal agreements with the U.S. EPA to investigate and remediate PCB-contaminated land surrounding GM’s die-casting plant in Bedford, Indiana.  The 2003 agreement required GM to remove PCB-contaminated soil to the extent necessary to achieve a 1.8 parts-per-million standard – a standard that was not only approved by the EPA, but was identical to Indiana’s own regulatory requirements. 

Claiming the 1.8 ppm remediation standard was insufficient to restore property values and to protect public health, numerous landowners surrounding the Bedford plant sued GM in U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs sought more than $80 million in damages for alleged diminution in their property values, the cost of additional remediation, and lifetime medical monitoring for residents of affected properties.

Faced with claims of widespread environmental contamination caused by chemicals banned for decades, Hollingsworth LLP attorneys nonetheless successfully challenged the relevance, reliability, and ultimate admissibility of plaintiffs’ experts’ opinions.  The strategy?  Outflank the plaintiffs, focus on the extremes of their experts’ testimony and opinions, and ultimately show that plaintiffs’ theories of recovery exceeded the bounds of science.  The result?  The court awarded summary judgment to GM on nearly all of plaintiffs’ claims after finding that science did not support either the plaintiffs’ “hypothetical” medical monitoring program or the attempt to recover damages based on a remediation standard lower than the one set by the regulatory agencies.

Representing companies like GM in jurisdictions across the country, Hollingsworth LLP defends clients in state and federal enforcement, cost recovery, and natural resource damages actions, as well as other complex cases like Allgood, which lie at the intersection of regulatory and tort liabilities.

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