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Judge Denies Monsanto’s Motion to Dismiss PCB Lawsuits
The California cities of San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley will be allowed to continue to pursue lawsuits against Monsanto Co. for costs associated with PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) contamination. A U.S. district judge denied Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the case, allowing the lawsuits to proceed as a result.
A Devastating Legacy
Monsanto was the sole U.S. manufacturer of PCBs for decades. These chemical compounds were found in myriad products, including electrical transformers and switches, caulks, paints, tapes and a multitude of others. However, PCBs are easily removed from their original products when it rains and ultimately leach into streams, bays, rivers and other bodies of water.
These compounds have not only been linked to several forms of cancer in humans, they have also been found to be harmful to fish and wildlife as well. It can be incredibly expensive to remove PCBs from the environment, and these and other cities allege Monsanto should be responsible for those costs. Not only do the cities allege that Monsanto knew PCBs were environmental contaminants, they also allege the company continued to promote the products to third-party users despite that knowledge.
U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila originally granted Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the case, saying that the cities had failed to prove they had a “property interest” in contaminated stormwater. He changed his opinion, however, citing recent changes to the California Water Code that stated public entities are allowed to capture stormwater and put it to use.
In addition to San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley, Baron & Budd is also representing Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Long Beach, CA in PCB lawsuits against Monsanto.