U.S. District Court Judge Renee Marie Bumb ruled October 9 that people residing on property near the Dupont Chambers Works facility in Deepwater, New Jersey, are eligible to pursue a class action lawsuit against the company. The suit alleges Dupont has contaminated area drinking water wells and the local public water supply system with a toxic chemical called PFOA (or C8), ammonium pefluorooctanoate.
The class action suit involves as many as 15,000 people who are customers of the Penns Grove, New Jersey Water Supply Company (PGWSC) and owners of private drinking water wells located within a 2-mile radius of DuPont’s Chambers Works facility. Results of quarterly sampling of the PGWSC production well fields have consistently exceeded the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s PFOA health-based guidance limit of 0.04 ppb in one or more points-of-entry.
According to the Judge’s decision, the Plaintiffs’ motion “for certification of common law claims is granted as to 1) the claim for private nuisance, which may be pursued by a subclass of private well owners, 2) the claim for public nuisance, which may be pursued by a subclass of PGWS customers, and 3) class treatment of the strict liability issue (i.e., whether Dupont’s release of PFOA constitutes an “abnormally dangerous activity”).”
“We are pleased with the ruling of the Court granting class certification,” said Beasley Allen attorney Rhon Jones, who heads the firm’s Environmental Law section. “We believe this decision was the right one and will allow for a more efficient process in trying these claims. This is a major victory for the class members in that it allows them to pursue the claims in one trial.”
Read the Judge’s Decision.
Read the New Jersey Department of Enviornmental Protection Final Report.