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United States v. Union Corp.
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
277 F. Supp. 2d 478 (2009)
The United States brought a lawsuit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) in federal district court against potentially responsible parties (PRPs) (plaintiffs), including Union Corp., to recover cleanup costs for a site contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The PCBs were released during the recycling of electrical transformers at the site. The PRPs filed a contribution claim as third-party plaintiffs against Monsanto (defendant), the manufacturer of the PCBs, even though the PRPs did not receive the PCB-laden materials directly from Monsanto. The PRPs raised several state-law claims, including strict products liability, strict liability for abnormally dangerous activity, and trespass. Monsanto filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that (1) Monsanto was not liable under a theory of strict products liability, because its PCB-containing products were not unfit for their intended purposes; (2) Monsanto was not liable under a theory of strict liability for abnormally dangerous activity, because it did not engage in any abnormally dangerous activity; and (3) Monsanto was not liable under a trespass theory, because it did not intentionally cause its product to be deposited at the site. The federal district court applied Pennsylvania law in addressing the state-law claims.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Giles, C.J.)
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