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Pruitt v. Allied Chem. Corp.

Citation: 12 ELR 20170
No. No. 77-0035-R, 523 F. Supp. 975/16 ERC 2014/(E.D. Va., 09/15/1981)

The court dismisses claims for damages filed by certain categories of plaintiffs alleging indirect economic harm from kepone pollution in the James River and Chesapeake Bay. It holds that seafood wholesalers, retailers, processors, distributors, and restaurateurs may not maintain actions for negligence or nuisance, although owners of charter boats, marinas, and tackle and bait shops may. Because of the exceptionally large set of potential plaintiffs, the court finds a need to establish some limitation to liability, but allows claims by businesses serving sport fishermen as surrogate plaintiffs for those fishermen. It dismisses all claims for indirect harm premised on admiralty law, since the applicable precedents limit recovery to the amount of loss that would have been incurred by a directly injured party. None of the indirectly harmed plaintiffs' claims reflect such a loss. Finally, the court dismisses the claims of all plaintiffs premised on the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act, ruling that neither statute creates an implied private cause of action.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Oren R. Lewis Jr., Thomas P. Jennings, Michael S. Marcus, Richard H. Jones
Lewis, Wilson, Lewis & Jones, Ltd.
2054 N. 14th St., Arlington VA 22216
(703) 527-8800

J. Vernon Patrick Jr.
Berkowitz, Lefkovitz & Patrick
1400 City Nat'l Bank Bldg., Birmingham AL 35203
(205) 328-0480

Counsel for Defendant
Joseph M. Spivey, G. H. Gromel Jr., Alan Rudlin
Hunton & Williams
P.O. Box 1535, Richmond VA 23212
(804) 788-8200