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Rowe v. E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co.

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Camden Vicinage Division

September 30, 2008, Decided; September 30, 2008, Filed

Civil No. 06-1810-RMB-AMD

Opinion

DONIO, MAGISTRATE JUDGE:

This matter comes before the Court by way of motion filed by Plaintiffs in Rowe, et al. v. E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Civil No. 06-1810, seeking to deem admitted certain requests for admissions, to compel answers to interrogatories, and for sanctions against Defendant, E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company (hereinafter, "DuPont"), and by way of separate motion filed by DuPont in Rowe, et al. v. E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Civil No. 06-1810, and Scott v. E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Civil No. 06-3080, seeking a protective order preventing the disclosure of  [*2] three documents that DuPont contends are protected by the attorney-client privilege and/or work product doctrine. The Court has considered the submissions of the parties and the arguments of counsel, 1 and has conducted an in camera review of the three documents at issue in DuPont's motion for a protective order. For the reasons that follow and for good cause shown, Rowe Plaintiffs' motion is granted in part and denied in part, and DuPont's motion for a protective order in both the Rowe and Scott cases is granted in part and denied in part.

By way of background, Rowe Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of a putative class, filed their lawsuit on April 18, 2006 alleging that they suffered damage "arising from the intentional, knowing, reckless and negligent acts  [*3] and omissions of DuPont in connection with the contamination of human drinking water supplies used by the plaintiffs and other class members." (Rowe Compl. P 1.) In their Second Amended Complaint, Rowe Plaintiffs assert that the contamination of human drinking water supplies "occurred in connection with DuPont's manufacturing, production, processing, recycling, use, release, discharge and/or disposal of perfluorinated materials . . . (hereinafter "PFCs") at and/or otherwise attributable to, DuPont's Chambers Works Plant (the "Chambers Works Plant") in Salem County, New Jersey." (Rowe Second Am. Compl. P 1.) The class which Rowe Plaintiffs seek to represent includes "all individuals who have consumed human drinking water for at least one year from a source of drinking water contaminated with more than 0.04 ppb of any one PFC or any combination of PFCs attributable to releases from the Chambers Works Plant[.]" (Id.) Rowe Plaintiffs seek, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages and equitable and injunctive relief, including "providing notice and medical monitoring relief to the Plaintiffs and the class and to abate and/or prevent the release and/or threatened release of one or more  [*4] PFCs[.]" (Id. at 31, PP 3, 6.) 2

Shortly after Rowe Plaintiffs initiated suit in this Court, Scott Plaintiff commenced a civil action in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Salem County on June 14, 2006 on behalf of a putative class, alleging that her water supply is contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (hereinafter "PFOA") released by DuPont at the Chambers Works Plant. (See Scott Compl. PP 2, 5, 10.) The case was removed to this Court by DuPont on July 7, 2006. (See Notice of Removal.) In her Second Amended Complaint, Scott Plaintiff states that she seeks to represent a class that includes "[a]ll persons who currently receive residential water service from the Pennsgrove Water Supply Company and who received such service on or after January 21, 2007." (Scott Second Am. Compl. P 35.) Scott Plaintiff and the class she seeks to represent contend they have had "significant exposure to PFOA as a result of the actions and inactions" of DuPont, although they "currently have not been diagnosed with any actual identifiable bodily injury or condition relating to PFOA exposure."  [*5] (Id. at PP 52, 56.) In Scott, Plaintiff seeks relief in the form of "abatement of the nuisance; and an order directing duPont to fund a court-supervised program of medical monitoring to periodically measure each class member's blood and tap water for the toxic chemical PFOA[.]" (Id. at P 2.)

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2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81053 *

RICHARD A. ROWE, et al., Plaintiffs, v. E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS AND COMPANY, Defendant. MISTY SCOTT, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS AND COMPANY, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Motions ruled upon by Rowe v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86440 (D.N.J., Oct. 24, 2008)

CORE TERMS

DuPont, e-mails, advice, attorney-client, exposure, Interrogatory, discovery, in-house, Plant, peer-reviewed, purportedly, prostate, disease, cancer, non-lawyers, River, soil