SGR Secures Summary Judgment for Client in Environmental Clean-up Litigation

SGR’s defense team of Steve O’Day, Chris Bowers, Jessica Lee Reece and Josie Nackers secured summary judgment for its trucking client in a long-running claim against it for clean up costs at a site in Dalton, Georgia.  Barrett Properties, LLC, et al v. CCL Enterprises, Inc., et al, Superior Court of Whitfield County, Georgia (Order, May 13, 2011).

In 1995, SGR’s client made a one-time delivery of 1,1,1 trichloroethane (“TCA”) to an adhesives manufacturing plant, at which time approximately 500 gallons of the TCA leaked out of the truck.  Under a Consent Order with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (“EPD”), the client cleaned up the contamination from the spill and received a “no further action” letter from EPD.  Thirteen years later, the client was sued by the owner and former operator of the facility to recover cleanup costs incurred since discovery of soil and groundwater contamination at the site in 2004, dominated by different chemicals — perchloroethylene (“PCE”) and trichloroethylene (“TCE”).   After completion of discovery, SGR moved for summary judgment, which was granted, dismissing SGR’s client from the lawsuit.

As an added bonus, SGR’s defense team also secured an Order excluding expert testimony by the Plaintiffs’ sole expert witness because the expert’s opinion testimony–that the 1995 spill caused contamination at the site by different chemicals that were discovered in 2004–was scientifically unreliable and inadmissible.  The motion was filed under Georgia’s Tort Reform Act of 2005, which codified Georgia’s version of the federal Daubert standard for admissibility of expert testimony.

For more information on cleanup litigation or issues regarding admissibility of expert testimony under Georgia law, contact Steve O’Day.

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