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Mancuso v. Consolidated Edison Co. of N.Y.

ELR Citation: 30 ELR 20035
Nos. No. 93 Civ. 0001 (WCC), 56 F. Supp. 2d 391/(S.D.N.Y., 07/30/1999) dismissed for lack of expert testimony

The court dismisses a family's Federal Water Pollution Control Act and state-law actions against an electric power station for personal injuries that the family allegedly suffered due to polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination at a marina owned and lived in by the family. The court first holds that the proposed testimony for the family's expert witness is clearly unworthy of reliance. The expert had no knowledge of PCBs prior to this case, her testimony revealed serious gaps in her knowledge of PCBs, and the methodology she used to determine whether the family's injuries were caused by PCBs was flawed. Specifically, the expert's information concerning the extent of the family's contact with the soil and water of the marina naturally came from the family members themselves who had a strong incentive to exaggerate those contacts. In addition, the expert based her conclusion on many questionable assumptions, she failed to show that PCBs could produce illnesses of the type the family suffered, and she did not demonstrate that PCBs present at the marina were a probable cause of the alleged injuries.

The court then grants the power station's motion to dismiss. There is no reliable scientific basis for believing that any actual PCB contamination of the marina poses even a remote threat of cancer to the family. Moreover, the family has had ample opportunity to find a qualified medical expert to support its claims, and it is doubtful that, even with unlimited time to obtain credible expert testimony, the family will be able to prove that it has suffered any injury caused by PCB exposure.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Paul Greenfield
Crupain & Greenfield
225 Broadway, Ste. 2700, New York NY 10007
(212) 619-4100

Counsel for Defendant
Charles E. McTiernan Jr.
Law Department
Consolidated Edison Company of New York
Four Irving Pl., Rm. 1810-S, New York NY 10003
(212) 460-4600