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Plaintiff attorneys Weitz & Luxenberg are applauding a New York Supreme Court judge’s decision against Taconic Plastics denying summary judgment and clearing the way for New York’s first certified class action case involving perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination to go to trial. The lawsuit alleges that the release of PFOA from Taconic’s manufacturing facility contaminated the town’s drinking water and surrounding environment, which exposed community members to dangerous levels of PFOA and hurt property values. The class includes all Petersburgh residents whose properties were contaminated and those with PFOA in their blood above background levels.
“This is a huge victory for residents in Petersburgh who were exposed to toxic chemicals in their drinking water for years,” said James Bilsborrow, attorney in the Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit at Weitz & Luxenberg. “We applaud Judge McGrath’s decision to allow a jury to determine if Taconic placed profits above the health and safety of the community, and we look forward to seeking justice for the more than 1,500 Petersburgh residents who have been harmed by contamination of their homes and bodies with PFOA.”
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 improperly discharged wastewater containing PFOA into the septic system and nearby leach fields.
Taconic 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, are seeking medical monitoring and damages for residents who have had their health or property impacted by the pollution.
In his ruling New York Supreme Court judge Patrick J. McGrath denied Taconic’s motion for summary judgement on all but one of plaintiffs’ claims.
In addition to the Petersburgh case, Weitz & Luxenberg 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.