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Fear of Contaminates Alone is Not Enough to Certify a Class Under Common Law Nuisance.

Case Date: 09/15/2015

Smith v. ConocoPhillips Pipe Line Co

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

              The Eighth Circuit reversed the class certification order by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, because class members were not commonly affected by contamination on their properties.  In this case, although Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant created a nuisance by contaminating drinking well water within a 1.1 mile radius of its contaminated site, Plaintiffs’ concerns about the possibility of contamination reaching their properties and harming them was unsubstantiated.  The court noted, in short, based upon contemporary and persuasive authority on the meaning of common law nuisance in the context of environmental contamination, fear of contamination spreading is insufficient injury to support a claim for common law nuisance.  

Submitted By: John Suermann and Beth Bauer, HeplerBroom LLC
Posted: 09/21/2015


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