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Electric Power Bd. of Chattanooga v. Monsanto Co.

Citation: 17 ELR 20526
No. No. CIV-1-85-634, (E.D. Tenn., 10/27/1986) Upholding state tort defenses

The court holds that Tennessee's statute of repose and the state's Products Liability Act bar the claims of plaintiff electric utilities boards for damages suffered by them because of the existence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in equipment purchased from the defendant more than 10 years prior to suit. The court rules that the statute of repose bars claims that had accrued before the date the law went into effect. Alternatively, the court holds that the plaintiff's action accrued upon the discovery of the risks involved with PCBs, after the date the law went into effect, and not when the products were purchased. The court holds that the statute of repose would nevertheless bar a vested or accrued right of action. The court next holds that Tennessee's Products Liability Act bars the pleading of all possible legal theories regarding the purchase of a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, including most common law causes of action. The court holds that the broad language of the Act prevents plaintiffs from interposing defendant's misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment of the known hazards of PCBs to equitably estop the defendant from raising the statute of repose as a bar.

[A subsequent order appears at 17 ELR 20526.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Strang, Fletcher, Carriger, Walker, Hodge & Smith
400 Krystal Bldg., One Union Sq., Chattanooga TN 37402
(615) 265-2000

Counsel for Defendant
George M. Derryberry
Miller & Martin
10th Fl., Volunteer Bldg., Chattanooga TN 37402
(615) 756-6600