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Town of Westport v. Monsanto Co.

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20061
Nos. 14-12041, (D. Mass., 03/24/2015) (Casper, J.)

A district court dismissed a town's Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act claim against the corporate spinoffs of Old Monsanto, the sole manufacturer of PCBs in the United States between 1935 and 1979. After discovering PCBs in some of the area schools, the town filed suit. But aside from the manufacture and lawful sale of PCB-containing materials, the town failed to allege that the manufacturer caused the release of PCBs into the schools. Nor did it allege that the manufacturer transported PCBs or otherwise interacted with the properties at issue. The court also dismissed the town's nuisance and trespass claims. The town was in control of the PCB-containing products following their purchase. The manufacturer, therefore, did not have the power to maintain or abate the PCB-containing building materials and cannot be held liable for public nuisance. And the fact that the manufacturer sold PCBs with the knowledge they would be used in building materials does not constitute an "entry" for purposes of negligent trespass.