In the recent Aiken v. General Electric Co. decision, a New York appellate court rejected General Electric’s motion to prevent a group of residents from bringing a claim for property damage following the alleged intrusion of toxic vapors into their homes. It was widely known that groundwater contaminated with solvents had migrated under the plaintiffs’ properties in Fort Edward, New York, more than 20 years ago. However, testing conducted in 2005 indicated that vapor from the contaminated soil was also a potential threat to the residents’ indoor air quality, a finding that prompted the plaintiffs to bring their claim. In its motion, GE argued that the residents had waited too long to bring their claim since the groundwater contamination had been known for decades. The Court rejected this motion on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not have reasonably known about the vapor intrusion until recently, and that they were only barred from bringing a claim after three years from the time when the “plaintiffs should have reasonably been aware of the presence of soil vapor contamination and the threat it presented to their properties.”
For further information, please see decisions.courts.state.ny.us/ad3/Decisions/2008/505023.pdf.