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Williams v. Allied Automotive

Citation: 19 ELR 20689
No. No. C 86-7888, 704 F. Supp. 782/28 ERC 1223/(N.D. Ohio, 08/03/1988)

The court denies defendants' motions for summary judgment on claims brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for the alleged contamination of plaintiffs' water supply with hazardous substances, but grants defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs' emotional distress and trespass claims. The court rules that future medical monitoring costs may be recoverable under CERCLA § 107, provided that they are necessary and consistent with the National Contingency Plan. The court notes that although liability for future costs can presently be determined and declaratory relief granted, the court cannot award costs until they are incurred. The court holds that the failure of some plaintiffs to show detectable levels of contamination in water samples taken from their wells does not necessarily preclude recovery under CERCLA, since the definition of "response" set forth in the statute is ambiguous. The court holds that plaintiffs' notice of intent to file suit under RCRA § 7002, although brief, adequately apprised defendants of the statutory claims asserted and the names of the claimants, and referred to ongoing state administrative proceedings concerning the contamination. The court rules that defendants can simultaneously be liable for violations of RCRA § 3005's permit requirements for the treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste and violations of RCRA § 4005's open dumping prohibition. The court holds that plaintiffs have met their initial burden of presenting evidence that defendant engaged in open dumping. However, the court holds that plaintiffs have failed to present any evidence to support their state law claims of severe emotional distress. The court also holds that plaintiffs whose wells are uncontaminated cannot recover on their trespass claims. Finally, the court holds that defendant corporation may be liable for punitive damages since there is some evidence that the corporation's employee dumped hazardous waste on the ground at the instruction of his employer, and that under Ohio law plaintiffs' testimony is competent evidence as to the market value of their property.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Thomas Bryant
500 The Niles Bldg., 101 E. Sandusky, Findlay OH 45839
(419) 422-0151

Counsel for Defendants
Cary Rodman Cooper
Cooper, Straub, Walinski & Cramer
900 Adams St., P.O. Box 1568, Toledo OH 43603-1568
(419) 241-1200

Jack T. Fynes
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick
N. Courthouse Square, 1000 Jackson, Toledo OH 43624-1573
(419) 241-9000

Henry Heuerman
Eastman & Smith
800 United Savings Bldg., 240 Huron St., Toledo OH 43604-1141
(419) 241-6000