Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Gates v. Rohm & Haas Co.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20278
Nos. No. 10-2108, (3d Cir., 08/25/2011)

The Third Circuit affirmed a lower court decision refusing to certify residents' class action for medical monitoring and property damage in a suit against chemical companies for allegedly dumping a carcinogen at an industrial complex near their homes. The residents failed to show the cohesiveness required for certification of a Rule 23(b)(2) medical monitoring class. The residents' proposed common evidence and trial plan would not be able to prove the medical necessity of their proposed monitoring regime without further individual proceedings to consider class members' individual characteristics and medical histories. Nor did the lower court abuse its discretion in finding individual issues predominate over any issues common to the class under Rule 23(b)(3). The requirements of predominance and superiority for maintaining a class action under Rule 23(b)(3) are less stringent than the cohesiveness requirement of Rule 23(b)(2). Nevertheless, inquiries into whether the residents were exposed to above background levels, whether they face a significantly increased risk of developing a serious latent disease, and whether a medical monitoring regime is reasonably medically necessary all require considering individual proof of the residents' specific characteristics. And for much of the same reason, the lower court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to certify the property damage class.