WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An attorney in a class action lawsuit against chemical companies Dupont and Chemours issued a statement Monday regarding a federal judge's decision on Friday to deny a motion to dismiss the case.
There were a total of six claims in the plaintiffs' consolidated class action complaint, which was filed on Jan. 31, 2018. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on March 2, 2018, and on March 26, 2019, "the court granted in part and denied in part defendants' motion to dismiss the consolidated class action complaint."
On April 19, 2019, Judge James C. Dever III issued an opinion denying, in large part, defendants’ motion to dismiss, allowing plaintiffs to pursue the bulk of their claims, including negligence, gross negligence, private nuisance, and trespass.
The court also held that plaintiffs may seek damages for future medical expenses. The case will now move into discovery.
According to Ted Leopold, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, the federal judge’s move is another step in the right direction.
"This decision brings us one step closer to justice for the thousands of North Carolinians whose health and well being were upended because of Dupont and Chemours’s reckless contamination of their drinking water,” Leopold said in a statement. “North Carolinians can breathe a little easier knowing they have the assurance of seeking financial relief for future medical expenses that could cripple a family and are the result of the companies’ irresponsible behavior. We are pleased to be moving forward to help the people of North Carolina get the closure and resolution they deserve.”
Of the six claims — negligence, gross negligence, negligence per se, public nuisance and private nuisance, trespass, and unjust enrichment — the court fully dismissed two claims (negligence per se and unjust enrichment) and partly dismissed another (the public nuisance aspect of the public and private nuisance claim).
Additional plaintiff claims include:
- Claim one: Defendants negligently discharged chemicals from the Fayetteville Works Plant and breached their duty of reasonable care by doing so even after learning of potential dangers associated with the chemicals.
- Claim two: The discharge of the chemicals constitutes gross negligence.
- Claim four (private nuisance): Essentially, plaintiffs allege defendants have interfered with their use and enjoyment of their property by discharging the chemicals.
- Claim five: Plaintiffs have shown that by discharging the chemicals, the defendants “have intentionally and unauthorizedly entered their property.”