Anderson v. W.R. Grace & Co.
United States District Court for District of Massachusetts
628 F.Supp. 1219 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Mass. 1986)
Two water wells in the vicinity of Woburn, Massachusetts, were contaminated with chemicals, including tetrachloroethylene. Thirty-three plaintiffs sued manufacturers of tetrachloroethylene. Some of the plaintiffs had developed leukemia, but others had been exposed to the contaminated water but not yet developed leukemia. The non-leukemia plaintiffs sued for, among other things, injury to their bodily systems through exposure to the contaminated water, emotional distress, and increased risk of developing future illness. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the non-leukemia plaintiffs’ claims for emotional distress, arguing that the law required a plaintiff alleging emotional distress to also allege a physical injury. The defendants argued that even if the non-leukemia plaintiffs did suffer an injury, it was subcellular, and did not manifest through any symptoms as required by the law. The defendants also moved to dismiss the non-leukemia plaintiffs’ claims for increased risk of future illness, arguing that the cause of action for future injuries had not yet accrued.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Skinner, J.)
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