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Lessord v. General Elec. Co.

Citation: 33 ELR 20051
No. No. 01-CV-6103L, (W.D.N.Y., 08/29/2002)

The court denies manufacturers' motions to dismiss property owners' common-law claims against them for allegedly contaminating the owners' land. The manufacturers argued that the property owners' claims were time barred under New York law. Under state law, the property owners had either three years from the date of discovery of their injury, or one year from the date on which they discovered or reasonably should have discovered the cause of their injury. In addition, if the property owners discovered or should have discovered the cause of their injury more than two years after they discovered the injury itself, state law, as modified by Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act §309, provides that they would have had one year from the date of the discovery of the cause of the injury to file suit. The court first holds, however, that here genuine issues of material fact exist as to when the property owners discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury at issue and the cause of that injury. Although information about chemical contamination in the area was disseminated to the public during the mid-1990s, there is no evidence in the record that demonstrates conclusively that the property owners were aware of any contamination emanating from the manufacturer's facilities before 2000. Whether the property owners were on notice of contamination prior to then is for a jury to decide.

Counsel for Plaintiff
S. Paul Battaglia
Bond, Schoeneck & King
One Lincoln Ctr., Syracuse NY 13202
(315) 422-3598

Counsel for Defendants
Joseph Picciotti III
Harris & Beach
130 E. Main St., Rochester NY 14604
(585) 419-8800