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Mejdrech v. Met-Coil Sys. Corp.

ELR Citation: 33 ELR 20152
Nos. No. 02-8018, (7th Cir., 02/11/2003)

The court affirms a district court certification of a class of homeowners to determine a factory's liability, but not damages, for allegedly contaminating the homeowners' soil and groundwater. Class action treatment is appropriate and permitted by Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 when there are genuinely common issues, issues identical across all the claimants, or issues the accuracy of resolution of which is unlikely to be enhanced by repeated proceedings. Class certification can be used to resolve the common issues while leaving claimant-specific issues to individual follow-up proceedings. Here, the questions of whether the factory contaminated soil and groundwater beneath the homeowners' homes and the extent of that pollution are common to all class members. The question of the particular harm suffered by each class member is not common and depends on facts unique to each class member, such as whether a home uses water from a contaminated well or from an uncontaminated lake. Therefore, the district court properly certified the class on the questions of whether there was unlawful contamination and the geographical scope of that contamination.

Counsel for Petitioner
Michael A. Pollard
Baker & McKenzie
130 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago IL 60601
(312) 861-8000

Counsel for Respondent
Shawn M. Collins
Law Offices of Shawn M. Collins
170 N. Park St., Ste. 200, Naperville IL 60563
(630) 527-1595