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Robarge v. Tecumseh Products Co.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20104
Nos. No. 295418, (Mich. Ct. App., 02/22/2011)

A Michigan appellate court reversed the dismissal of property owners' nuisance claims against a manufacturing company for groundwater contamination. The lower court relied on Adkins v Thomas Solvent Co., 440 Mich. 293, 487 N.W. 2d 715 (1992), in dismissing the case. Adkins, however, was premised on the undisputed absence of contamination. Although Adkins indicates that diminution in property value of uncontaminated land based on unfounded third-party fears does not establish a significant interference with the use and enjoyment of land, Adkins does not address diminution in value where, as here, significant interference is otherwise alleged or where groundwater under the land is contaminated. Because the company failed to show that the owners' nuisance claims were "so clearly unenforceable as a matter of law that no factual development could possibly justify recovery," the court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. But the court upheld the dismissal of the owner's remaining tort law claims.