Weitz & Luxenberg today announced that its lawsuit against Taconic Plastics Limited over water contamination in Petersburgh, New York, has been certified as the first class action case for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) pollution in the state. The lawsuit alleges that the release of PFOA from Taconic’s manufacturing facility contaminated the town’s drinking water and surrounding environment, which caused health problems in the community and hurt property values. The class, certified by New York State Supreme Court Judge Patrick J. McGrath, will be led by Weitz & Luxenberg and includes all Petersburgh residents exposed to the contamination.
“We are pleased that the court has recognized the significance of the case and agrees that it should proceed as a class action,” said James Bilsborrow, an attorney in the Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit at Weitz & Luxenberg. “For years, the residents of Petersburgh were exposed to toxic chemicals in their drinking water and this ruling represents a major step forward in their quest for justice. We look forward to helping the community and holding Taconic accountable for the harm it has caused.”
According to the lawsuit, during the manufacture of certain products at the Taconic facility, liquid solution containing PFOA was heated until it took on a vapor form, which was then released through smokestacks and carried by wind into the surrounding community. The lawsuit alleges that employees at Taconic also improperly disposed of substances containing PFOA in the facility’s sinks and drains and that garbage bags containing the chemical were improperly disposed of at the Petersburgh landfill.
The company has acknowledged its role in creating this environmental hazard, and in 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation declared the Taconic facility to be a Superfund site. Weitz & Luxenberg and its co-counsel, Faraci Lange, is seeking medical monitoring and damages for residents who have had their health or property impacted by the pollution.
In addition to the Petersburgh case, the firm is also helping residents in the neighboring community of Hoosick Falls, who were exposed to PFOA from a nearby manufacturing facility operated by Saint-Gobain and Honeywell.