Claims – Pollution Legal Liability

December 1, 2017

Legionnaire’s at Illinois Veterans Home

Read here about the third person at an Illinois veterans home who has recently contracted Legionnaires’ disease.…

November 16, 2017

7 cases of Legionnaires’ disease tied to Las Vegas’ Rio hotel

Source:, November 15, 2017
By: Jessie Bekker

The exterior of the Rio hotel-casino seen on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Las Vegas. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas review-Journal)

The exterior of the Rio hotel-casino seen on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Las Vegas. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas review-Journal)

Five months after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease was reported at the Rio, the number of confirmed cases of the pneumonia-like bacterial illness among guests has risen to seven, with 29 more cases suspected, the Southern Nevada Health District said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, cleaning and testing of the hotel’s water system is continuing to ensure the disease has been eradicated.

That’s a normal timeline for a Legionnaires’ outbreak investigation, health experts say.

“In a situation like this, part of the process of these investigations on an environmental aspect is continued testing and monitoring,” said Robert Cole, the health district’s senior environmental health specialist.…

November 15, 2017

Watch for “Absolute Pollution” Clause

Source:, November 15, 2017
By: Tiffany Dowell Lashment

When a dairy finds itself a defendant in a lawsuit alleging groundwater contamination due to manure storage policies and application practices, likely one of the first calls made is to their insurance company. One dairy in Washington did just that, only to be told their insurer was denying coverage and indemnification because the claims against the dairy were excluded from coverage due to an “absolute pollution clause.”

In 2013, two non-profit environmental groups filed suit against a number of dairies in Washington around the handling of manure contaminated groundwater. Allegations concluded holding ponds resulted in seepage of manure into the underground aquifer, and the amount of manure applied to fields as fertilizer was excessive, causing seepage into the ground. Plaintiffs brought claims against the dairies under several federal regulations. Eventually, the parties settled the case.…

November 13, 2017

Disneyland shuts cooling towers after Legionnaires’ cases

Read here about Disneyland shutting down cooling towers after a dozen cases of Legionnaires were discovered after most of the patients had visited the park.…

November 13, 2017

UPDATE: Mountaire cited for contaminating groundwater

Source:, November 10, 2017
By: Maddy Lauria

Company must provide neighbors with clean water

State officials say Mountaire Farms’ Millsboro plant has been polluting groundwater and failing to comply with its state permit to dispose of wastewater on nearby farm fields.

Health risks because of the pollution require Mountaire to provide its immediate neighbors with bottled water or drinking water treatment. To date, state officials have imposed no fines.

Neighbors say they have not received bottled water or additional water treatment since it was required by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consent order in 2003.

On Nov. 2, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued a notice of violation to the poultry-processing plant after inspections found excess nitrate contamination in groundwater and monitoring wells. Bacteria found in the sprayed wastewater in August was measured at more than 5,000 times the permitted level.

Overexposure to nitrates can result in a blood disorder with symptoms including decreased blood pressure, increased heart rate, headaches, abdominal cramps, vomiting and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bacteria found in sprayed wastewater is fecal coliform, which can cause gastrointestinal problems in humans.…

October 16, 2017

Smooth Sailing for a Pollution Exclusion?

Source:, October 16, 2017
By: Steven Pitt

The question of whether carbon monoxide constitutes a pollutant for purposes of a standard policy pollution exclusion has been mixed among the courts. Whether carbon monoxide constitutes pollution is jurisdiction-specific and depends on whether the jurisdiction adopts a traditional or broadened view of environmental pollution. Exposure to carbon monoxide is a serious event. Nevertheless, the seriousness of a carbon monoxide claim can be somewhat blunted by the extremes that claimants will go to in arguing around a pollution exclusion. Such was the case that was recently decided by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America v. Klick, 867 F.3d 989 (8th Cir. 2017) the claimant was riding as a passenger on a fishing boat owned by a friend. The 25-foot fishing boat had been purchased a few weeks earlier. While fishing on a lake in Minnesota, both the boat owner, Lonnie Norburg, and the claimant, Christopher Klick, noticed that the engine was not operating properly. At that point, Norburg, who was at the helm of the boat, asked Klick to take the helm while Norburg went to check on the engine problem. The helm of the boat was near the front of the boat in the wheelhouse. The wheelhouse was a roofed area with walls and windows to the front, left, and right. The back of the wheelhouse was open. The boat’s engine was located in a compartment beneath the wheelhouse.…

October 13, 2017

Philadelphia school to remain closed Friday for mold remediation

Source:, October 12, 2017
By: Andrew Parent

An elementary school in the city’s Germantown section will remain closed Friday as work continues to remove mold found in several of its classrooms.

About 80 percent of the remediation work at John B. Kelly Elementary School had been completed as of early Thursday afternoon, according to the School District of Philadelphia.

Trace amounts of mold were the result of issues with the building’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, according to the district, which was alerted to contamination on Wednesday.

An environmental remediation contractor began work to remove the mold Wednesday afternoon and had been expected to finish the job Thursday evening, the district said.

The district said the school will not reopen until it is mold-free.

Faculty members will again report Friday to the Hill-Freedman World Academy, 1100 E. Mt. Pleasant St.

The district plans to give an update to parents and staff no later than 5 p.m. Sunday.…

October 13, 2017

More mold found in Cheltenham schools

Source:, October 10, 2017
By: Kristen A. Graham

Monroe Township in Gloucester County isn’t the only district coping with a mold problem in one of its schools.

Cheltenham, where mold caused years of problems and ultimately forced the school district to shut and rebuild one of its middle schools, has had another mold outbreak.

Cheltenham High School’s library was closed this week after mold was found there, said Steve Greenbaum, a district spokesman.

The problem was discovered when a staffer who worked in the library complained of feeling sick. Cheltenham contracted with an environmental engineering firm, which found mold in the air and on many of the library’s books. Immediate remediation was suggested.

The district shut the library as of Monday and is accelerating a project to renovate the library and replace its HVAC system. It will remain closed through the renovation, a process that is expected to last into the spring.

A six-point plan to remediate the mold is underway, officials said — from removing and replacing ceiling tiles to using special filters and vacuums to clean and purify the books and rooms.

Greenbaum said it was not immediately clear how much the remediation and renovation would cost.

The rest of the school is unaffected, Cheltenham officials said in information sent to parents. The library’s HVAC system is self-contained, so its air was not spread to other areas in the building.

“Families will be notified if additional mold testing within the high school yields problematic results,” the district said.

No mold was found in the library when it was cleaned and prepared for students prior to the start of the school year, officials said, and no one reported any possible problems until the staffer disclosed her illness recently.

While the library is closed, school officials have made alternate spaces available for students to study, take exams, seek help for computer repairs, and print documents.…

October 10, 2017

Contentious school board meeting held to discuss mold mess

Source:, October 10, 2017
By: Chris Franklin

The mold controversy that has become a concern for many residents who live in the Monroe Township School District found its way to the Williamstown High School auditorium Monday. The hall, which holds over 1,020 people was so packed that the township fire marshal had to tell people to line up outside in the hallways.

Earlier in the day, the school district announced that the every school in the district will be closed for the rest of the week as outside contractors begin surveying the school and seeing if mold is above acceptable levels in the district’s six buildings. The Holly Glen Elementary School was closed last Thursday after mold counts were deemed excessive.

The emergency Monroe Township Board of Education meeting was at times contentious. In a scene that resembled a rally, parents and students in the crowd voiced their displeasure, trying to find out the cause of the mold and asking questions as to how long the board knew about the mold as well as who should be held responsible.

TTI Environmental and All Risk are the two companies that will be working together to remove the mold and clean the buildings. TTI Environmental Vice President of Consulting Timothy Popp was at the meeting to go over the process of how the buildings will be inspected and tested for mold while All Risk Senior Vice President Lou Crisei said a crew of 40 to 50 people would be brought in to clean. TTI would then come back in and retest to make sure it is safe.…

September 25, 2017

NYC man dies of Legionnaires’ disease, 1 other sickened

Source:, September 21, 2017

A Queens resident is dead and another was sickened after they both contracted Legionnaires’ disease within a two-month period, prompting New York City health officials to investigate their apartment building’s plumbing.

The other residents of Park Towers, located on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, have been notified of the ongoing investigation.

“The Health Department is working with the building management to test the building’s hot water plumbing system,” a New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokesman said, according to NBC New York. “The building does not have a cooling tower. While the risk of infection to tenants is very low, as part of our protocol, the Department will notify residents about the investigation and next steps.”

While authorities did not identify either victim, they said the fatality involved an elderly resident.

“It makes my stomach sick,” Denise Innes, a building resident, told NBC New York. “I feel like I don’t know, I’m nervous now to use the water.”

In 2015, there were multiple clusters of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx. Twelve people died in the largest one, which was in the South Bronx.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ can mimic the flu and present as cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Symptoms typically begin two to 10 days after exposure, and could progress to lung failure or even death without treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one out of every 10 Legionnaires’ patients will die due to complications form their illness.…