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Giovanni v. United States Department of the Navy

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20011
Nos. 16-04873 and 17-00765, (E.D. Pa., 12/16/2019) (Pappert, J.)

A district court denied the U.S. Navy's motion to stay a lawsuit concerning the release of perfluorochemicals from naval facilities in eastern Pennsylvania. Families in neighborhoods near the facilities argued that the Navy improperly disposed of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at the facilities, in violation of the state's Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA). The Navy argued that neither PFOS nor PFOA are defined as hazardous substances under the HSCA, and requested that the suit be stayed for six months while the state and federal governments determine whether to designate the chemicals as hazardous substances. The court found that the Navy failed to demonstrate a clear case of hardship or inequity to warrant a stay, noting that neither the parties nor the court could know with any certainty whether Pennsylvania or the U.S. government would designate PFOS or PFOA as a hazardous substance within six months. It therefore denied the motion to stay.