February 24, 2012

Cleanup doesn’t stop Milford lawsuit against Benjamin Moore

Source:, February 23, 2012
By: Brian Benson

Cleanup of contaminated town land behind Benjamin Moore’s Sumner Street property is nearly complete, but a lawsuit stemming from the contamination continues.

Town Counsel Gerald Moody said the town plans to proceed with a suit it filed against Benjamin Moore in 2009 that seeks to hold the company liable for the contamination.

“It will be resolved through settlement or litigation,” he said.

The town is seeking to recoup its costs, including $500,000 in engineering, legal and other expenses associated with the cleanup, Moody said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has spent about $330,000 cleaning up the site and could pass some of that cost on to the town, he said.

The contamination included heavy metals such as lead and cadmium that the town says leaked onto its land in the 1960s or 1970s from property currently owned by Benjamin Moore. The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad owned the property then and leased it to a company that put enamel coatings on metal.

Benjamin Moore bought the property in 1999 and has denied responsibility.

The company, which spent thousands of dollars cleaning up its own property, is pleased to see cleanup on the town land, said Robert Kirsch, an attorney representing Benjamin Moore.

“It should give the town even less reason or justification to pursue Benjamin Moore, because at this point, the EPA has come in and addressed the conditions the town would have been legally obligated to address,” Kirsch said.

He said he would like to see the suit resolved or dismissed quickly.

“We’re quite confident that a court would decide the town did have legal responsibility,” Kirsch said.

The town also sued the state Department of Environmental Protection about the classification of the property and how quickly it had to be cleaned up.

That suit would become moot when the state indicates the cleanup work was sufficient, Moody said.

Cleaning up the contamination is “by far the most important part” of the situation, Moody said.

About 700 tons of material were removed from town-owned land along the Upper Charles River Trail, said Allen Jarrell, an on-scene coordinator for the EPA.

The trail is “all clear and safe for people to walk on,” Jarrell said.

The material is stored in a parking lot near Fino Field but should be moved to a New Hampshire landfill within a week, said Lyle Emerson, senior response manager for Guardian Environmental Services, the contractor taking care of the cleanup.…

January 9, 2012

MO Company Sued by Farmers – Lawsuit Settled

Read here about a lawsuit that was settled after a group of farmers sued a Missouri company over the chemical, hexavalent chromium.…

October 7, 2011

Industrial fire engulfs chemical plant in north-central Texas

Source:, October 3, 2011
By: Douglas Stanglin

A massive industrial fire at a chemical processing plant is sending plumes of black smoke into the sky near Waxahachie, in north-central Texas, The Dallas Morning News reports.

The fire began before noon at the Magnablend chemical processing plant and quickly spread as a burning liquid. At one point, the fire caused a firetruck at the plant to explode.

Donald Golden, the plant’s environmental health and safety manager, tells CNN that all employees have been accounted for and that a nearby college and elementary school had been evacuated.

WFAA TV says its reporter, Gary Ultee, flew over the site and could see a man on a forklift removing containers as the fire continued to spread.

WFAA-TV also reports that authorities have warned residents to stay indoors to avoid possibly dangerous gases that may be released in the fire.…

September 16, 2011

Northrop Grumman to pay $20 million to decontaminate groundwater

Source:, September 15, 2011
By: Sam Quinones

U.S. EPA orders the defense contractor to pay for a system to clean up a shallow aquifer in the San Gabriel Valley.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered defense contractor Northrop Grumman to pay $20 million for a system to clean up contamination in shallow groundwater that originated years ago from a factory in the City of Industry.

Northrop Grumman will install wells and a treatment plant to contain the contamination, according to an EPA statement released Wednesday. The treated water will be discharged back into the underground aquifer.

The water was contaminated by a now-defunct electronics factory belonging to Benchmark Technology, a company owned for many years by TRW, an aerospace and credit firm.…

August 31, 2011

Class action denied in Tecumseh Products water pollution case

Source:, August 30, 2011
By: Dennis Pelham

More than 60 property owners could file separate lawsuits over groundwater pollution from the Tecumseh Products  Co. plant in Tecumseh after a judge denied class action status on Monday.

“I do not like the idea of inviting 60-some litigants,” said Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe. But potential damage to each property has to be evaluated separately, she said, which does not allow a class action suit.

Tecumseh attorney Charles Gross said options that remain open for property owners include joining separate claims and sharing the cost of an appraisal study to determine damages in the case. He told the court class action status was needed to make an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 appraisal study practical.

Gross represents brothers Thomas and Robert Robarge who filed suit in 2009 after they learned groundwater beneath their homes had been contaminated with chemical solvents dumped on factory property.

Gross argued at Monday’s hearing that Tecumseh Products has admitted liability for the groundwater contamination in a 2010 consent agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. He also said 36 monitoring wells operating in the area of the Tecumseh plant have identified at least 62 properties affected by the underground contamination.

“Every one of these people have a problem,” Gross argued. Owners and potential buyers will have problems borrowing against the property because of the proven groundwater contamination.

He agreed any loss of value has to be proven for each individual property. But class action status would relieve each owner from a legal battle to first prove Tecumseh Products is responsible.

“Each of these plaintiffs shouldn’t have to prove liability and causation,” Gross said.

“These guys are going to deny everything,” Gross said. “This is why we have class actions. It is the only way for individuals in Tecumseh, Mich., to have a chance against this group.”

Tecumseh Products has not admitted any liability, said company attorney Robert Jackson of Detroit.

A Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in the lawsuit allowed only a nuisance claim to proceed against the company, he said, and that requires “a property owner by property owner analysis. They have to prove a substantial interference with their use and enjoyment.” Because the city has a municipal water system, he said, property owners do not have contact with the affected groundwater.

“Plaintiffs simply cannot meet the requirements of class action,” Jackson said.…

August 16, 2011

Chemical Plant Operator to Pay $1.3 Million in Cleanup Costs

Read here about owners of a chemical plant who have agreed to pay over $ million to help pay for cleanup costs resulting from an explosion that occurred in 2006.…

July 26, 2011

West Virginia Court Weighs Pollution Liability of Massey Subsidiary

Source:, July 25, 2011
By: Vicki Smith

Three judges hearing a coal slurry pollution lawsuit against Massey Energy are considering whether the parent corporation should be held liable for the actions of a subsidiary it claims operated independently.

Massey contends that Rawl Sales & Processing, the company accused of poisoning hundreds of southern West Virginia wells by pumping slurry underground, had its own managers, board meetings and finances. Ownership and a shared interest in success are not enough to hold Massey responsible for everything Rawl did, argues attorney Jon Anderson.

But lawyers for some 700 Mingo County plaintiffs say former Massey CEO Don Blankenship “cut his teeth” at Rawl and remained intimately involved in all his companies as he rose through Massey’s ranks.

Blankenship was Rawl’s comptroller in 1984 and was busting unions for Massey by 1982.

“He learned at Rawl that he had to determine how far he could stretch the operations of the company before the law beat you back,” said attorney Van Bunch.…

July 1, 2011

Raytheon neighbors settle pollution suit for $2,500 each

Source:, June 16, 2011
By: Mark Douglas

Three years after filing a lawsuit against the Raytheon Co. for polluting a St. Petersburg neighborhood, attorneys have agreed to a settlement in which most homeowners will get $2,500 each.

If all those entitled to the settlement collect their money, the cost would amount to about $900,000 – far short of the hundreds of millions that the homeowners’ attorneys originally estimated.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington agreed to accept the agreement during a hearing Thursday.

Raytheon inherited a now-defunct defense plant, at 1501 72nd St. N., where underground pollution was first discovered in 1991.

The previous owner, E-Systems, had dumped chemicals and solvents used to clean and manufacture electronic parts in open pits behind its buildings. Other chemicals leaked form underground tanks.

Hundreds of homeowners said they didn’t know pollution was spreading under their properties before it was revealed in an March 2008 report by News Channel 8.

Attorneys for the homeowners acknowledged earlier that the plume of pollution poses no health threat. With today’s settlement, they also conceded that studies conducted by both sides show property values did not suffer from the problem.…

June 23, 2011

Leukemia victim sues Shell over benzene exposure

Source:, June 20, 2011
By: Sanford J. Schmidt

Scott Monroe was a 19-year-old naval scholarship student of nuclear engineering when he came down with a potentially lethal blood cancer that he and his lawyers claim is the result of a benzene leak from the refinery near his home.

Now, the disease, the refinery and the leak are the subject of a lawsuit Monroe filed last week in Madison County Circuit Court, naming Shell Oil Co. and BP Products North America as defendants.

“Mr. Monroe was first diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in April 2010, when he was just 19. He lost a $180,000 Navy scholarship to the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in nuclear engineering, and his career prospects have been severely and permanently damaged,” said Christopher Dysart of St. Louis, one of his attorneys.

The suit claims that the disease shortened Monroe’s life expectancy and caused him mental anguish. The suit also is asking for damages for medical bills and for medical treatment, possibly for the rest of his life.

The suit claims Shell released toxic chemicals, including benzene, into the ground and groundwater in Roxana and did nothing to clean up or otherwise address the chemicals for more than 20 years.

“From approximately 1991 through the present, Mr. Monroe lived at 120 East First Street, Roxana. From approximately 1995 through 2009, Mr. Monroe attended elementary through high school at 601 North Chaffer Avenue, Roxana,” the suit states.…

May 27, 2011

AVX buys fouled land in Myrtle Beach

Source: Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC), May 24, 1011
Posted on:

Electronic components maker AVX Corp. has purchased the Myrtle Beach property that it contaminated with a suspected carcinogen called trichloroethylene, according to Horry County property records.

AVX paid nearly $4.6 million for the approximately 21.5-acre parcel previously owned by Horry Land Co., according to a deed transfer recorded last week.

The property is across the street from the manufacturer’s facility along 17th Avenue South.

The price tag was less than the $5.4 million that Horry Land sought when it sued AVX over the contamination in October 2007. That lawsuit eventually was moved to federal court and the two sides reached a settlement agreement in midtrial earlier this year.

Those involved in the land sale could not be reached for comment Monday. AVX lawyer Kevin Dunlap, Horry Land officials and their lawyer, Saunders Bridges, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.…