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Lafferty v. Sherwin-Williams Co.

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

August 21, 2018, Decided; August 21, 2018, Filed

Civil No. 1:17-06321-RBK/AMD

Opinion

KUGLER, United States District Judge:

This matter arises from defendant the Sherwin-Williams Company's ("Defendant") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 33) [*2]  Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 32). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED, and Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint is hereby DISMISSED.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY1

This case stems from Defendant's development, manufacturing, and distribution of paint, varnish, coatings, and related products and the hazardous substances that those activities produced and subsequently released into the surrounding area.

Defendant2 and its predecessor manufactured these products at a plant in Gibbsboro, N.J.—a community of around 2,200 people—from 1851 to 1978. (Am. Compl. at 7; Def. MTD at 1.) Defendant conducted its operations on three distinct areas of land in Gibbsboro. (Am. Compl. at 12-14.) All three (collectively, the "Site") have been designated as Superfund Sites by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"). (Id. at 12.) The EPA is now overseeing Defendant's remediation efforts of the Site. (Am. Compl. at 33, 47.)

As part of its operations at the Site, Defendant used hazardous substances. (Id. at 7-9.) These included lead, arsenic, pentachlorophenol, aluminum, manganese, iron, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, cadmium, [*3]  benzo-anthracene, benzo-pyrene, pyrene, copper, mercury, zinc, vanadium, and benzene.3 (Id. at 8.) Defendant's use, storage, and disposal of these products released toxic chemicals and hazardous substances into the surrounding environment, and these substances have since migrated into surrounding areas. (Id. at 11-12.) Since at least 1910, Defendant has known or should have known about the danger presented by these substances, especially the dangers presented by lead.4 (Id. at 10.)

Plaintiffs are a group of New Jersey residents from Gibbsboro, Voorhees, Somerdale, Atco, and Blackwood, some of whom suffer from terrible cancers and other illnesses that they attribute to Defendant's actions. (Am. Compl. at 3-7.) Plaintiffs allege that Defendant knew that the areas surrounding the Site were contaminated and extremely dangerous. (Id. at 9-12.) It is alleged that hazardous substances migrated into surrounding neighborhoods and residential areas, where they were then inhaled, ingested, or otherwise came into contact with people in the community. This contamination is an ongoing threat. (Am. Compl. at 12-23.)

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2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141549 *; 2018 WL 3993448

BRAD LAFFERTY, et al., Plaintiff(s), v. THE SHERWIN-WILLIAMS COMPANY, et al., Defendant(s).

Notice: NOT FOR PUBLICATION

CORE TERMS

contamination, damages, Plaintiffs', allegations, hazardous substance, remediation, exposure, Site, disease, class certification, medical monitoring, motion to dismiss, increased risk, class-wide, exposed, hazards