October 24, 2011
I. PRODUCT LIABILITY
Underscoring that regulatory standards and compliance can sometimes provide a defense against liability, particularly where the allegedproduct defects have nothing to do with the intended uses of the product, Beveridge & Diamond successfully defended a major water utility against claims that the drinking water it delivered caused pinhole leaks in plumbing.
In a decision easing a plaintiff’s pleading requirements for product liability claims under California state law, the California Court of Appeals ruled that a plaintiff at the pleading stage need not identify the specific toxins contained in a product that allegedly injured him, so long as he can identify the product that allegedly caused him harm.
II. RCRA and CERCLA
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a pair of decisions this quarter that may serve to limit the liability of equipment manufacturers under two key federal environmental remediation statutes.
Emphasizing the importance of specificity in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) notices of intent to sue (“NOIs”), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that NOIs must identify each chemical alleged to be the basis of a RCRA violation for a claim to withstand dismissal.
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