Carolyn Miller and Matthew Welnicki recently completed the successful defense of a multi-party environmental cost recovery action brought under G.L. c. 21E (Massachusetts’ CERCLA equivalent). Plaintiff demanded approximately $12.5 million for costs incurred removing PCB contaminated sediment from Mother Brook, a Neponset River tributary in Hyde Park. Carolyn and Matt secured a defense verdict following a six week jury trial before Judge William Young in U.S. District Court in Boston. Melick & Porter represented a paint manufacturing company. The Plaintiff and co-defendants sought to hold the company responsible for contamination found on its former property decades after it moved claiming that the PCBs had migrated to the brook and contributed to the contamination. Contested issues involved the statutory distinctions for the liability of present as opposed to former owners, corporate successor liability and the impact of one party’s prior bankruptcy. Trial witnesses included several experts who testified about the historic use of PCBs, PCB testing and “fingerprinting” methods, PCB migration in soil and water and environmental remediation practices and methods.
Photo Credit: Lake Scientist