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Lancaster v. Northern States Power Co.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20342
Nos. 11-619, (D. Minn., 11/09/2011) (Frank, J.)

A district court dismissed property owners' CERCLA, tort, and state-law claims against a power company for alleged PCB contamination. A former employee of the company lived at the property before it was sold to the current owners. While working for the company, the employee removed PCB-containing capacitors from his workplace and stored them at his residence. After he passed away, the company removed the capacitors from the property and the employee's wife sold the property to the current owners. The current owners then filed suit against the company, alleging that the PCB-containing capacitors on the property caused the property to lose substantially all its value and caused the owners to suffer severe and substantial economic, physical, and emotional damages. But the owners failed to plead sufficient facts to provide a link between the employee's conduct and the company's alleged liability. The owners alleged the capacitors were in the company's possession and under its control before the employee removed them, but they did not set forth any facts indicating how the employee came into possession of the capacitors. Nor did they allege any facts supporting their bare assertions that the company had any knowledge or involvement in the capacitors' transportation to the property. Moreover, the owners have not alleged facts to support their claims that the company owed a duty to the owners, or that the employee's transportation or storage of the capacitors was in the scope of his employment with the company.