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In re TMI Litigation Governmental Entities Claims

544 F. Supp. 853 (1982)

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In re TMI Litigation Governmental Entities Claims

United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

544 F. Supp. 853 (1982)

Facts

The 1979 nuclear reactor accident at Three Mile Island Reactor No. 2 (TMI) (defendant) near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, created numerous pending lawsuits based on negligence and strict liability. Some of these cases were consolidated for pretrial disposition under the heading Governmental Entities Claims. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, two municipalities, and a class of all other Pennsylvania local municipalities within a 100-mile radius of Three Mile Island (collectively, the government entities) (plaintiffs) sought the following damages incurred for responding to the nuclear incident: (1) overtime, compensatory time, and other personnel costs; (2) operational expenses and emergency purchases; (3) lost work time; and (4) other expenses. The government entities did not allege that any of the costs or expenses were incurred to protect government property from threatened physical harm, and there were no allegations that any of the costs or expenses were incurred restoring or repairing government property. The government entities argued that a nuclear-power accident was a unique emergency, calling for different rules from those developed to deal with everyday occurrences such as fires. TMI, companies involved in designing and constructing the reactor, and a company that maintained the reactor (defendants) argued policy considerations barred recovery in tort for purely economic losses and filed a motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rambo, J.)

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