Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20216
Nos. 1:00-1898, (S.D.N.Y., 11/04/2015) (Scheindlin, J.)

A district court denied oil and gas companies' motions to dismiss claims that their use and handling of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) has contaminated, or threatens to contaminate, groundwater in Puerto Rico. The companies argued that Puerto Rico's island-wide claims for relief should be dismissed because they are duplicative of those the commonwealth brought in a 2007 action. But the commonwealth has voluntarily dismissed any actual duplicative claim. The companies asserted that the prior pending action doctrine should bar Puerto Rico's requests for relief. But that doctrine does not apply here. The companies have not identified, and the court was unaware of, any case where the prior pending action doctrine was applied to dismiss requests for relief. Nor are the claims time barred. The court has repeatedly required site-specific knowledge of MTBE contamination in order to find the statute of limitations has run.