SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR HP CLIENT IS AFFIRMED AGAINST 16 PLAINTIFFS CLAIMING "ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM"

Posted on Thursday, 23 May 2013

Marsae Scott, etc. et al. v. CH2M Hill San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC-08-274702

Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment: September 7, 2011; Court of Appeal affirmed May 22, 2013.

Judge: Hon. Loretta M. Giorgi, SFSC Dept. 302; First District Court of Appeal.

CH2M Hill Counsel: James C. Parker of Hugo Parker

Plaintiffs' Counsel:
The First District in a unanimous opinion affirmed on May 22, 2013 a summary judgment won by HP partner James Parker. Plaintiffs consisted of 16 juvenile and adult residents of the Hunters Point of San Francisco. Each claimed that for several months in 2006 they had been exposed to hazardous levels of naturally occurring asbestos generated by grading and construction activities at the Hunters Point Redevelopment Project, a former U.S. Navy shipyard notorious for decades of environmental contamination.  HP client CH2M Hill was contracted to monitor the project for the release of asbestos during the grading. CH2M Hill admitted that due to equipment failures it could not verify its data for nearly three months, which led to speculation in the neighborhood that excessive levels of asbestos had been inhaled by unsuspecting downwind residents. Following town hall type meetings with lawyers, 16 of the residents sued, claiming a variety of asbestos-related personal injuries including itchy eyes, skin rashes, headaches, sinus problems and asthma. And they alleged that CH2M Hill was guilty of "environmental racism. "  CH2M Hill's motion for summary judgment argued that it was medically impossible for any of the symptoms to have been caused by asbestos exposure, and that extensive studies post-2006 had failed to find any evidence of increased levels of asbestos at Hunters Point.  In the face of CH2M's overwhelming evidence, Plaintiffs argued that other hazardous toxins may have been present at the former shipyard for which CH2M Hill should be held responsible. The trial court disagreed.

The First District affirmed the judgment in favor of CH2M Hill and awarded costs in its favor and against plaintiffs.

Result: Judgment for CH2M Hill entered September 8, 2011; affirmed May 22, 2013.

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