Finding that the medical monitoring relief requested by Plaintiffs would be primarily injunctive in nature, a federal district court in South Carolina denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss and allowed Plaintiffs’ request for medical monitoring under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to remain in the case. See Easler v. Hoechst Celanes Corp.,No. 7:14-00048-TMC (D.S.C. Aug. 5, 2014).
Plaintiffs alleged that contamination from Defendants’ industrial site in South Carolina has migrated to areas adjacent to Plaintiffs’ property. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief under RCRA, including the institution of community medical monitoring, and damages under nuisance and negligence claims. Defendants filed motions to dismiss, arguing in relevant part that medical monitoring is not a permissible remedy under RCRA.
The court acknowledged that medical monitoring in some circumstances may be merely an award for future damages, rather than the equitable relief allowed under RCRA. However, citing federal cases in Minnesota, California, and New York, the court ultimately ruled that it depends on the medical monitoring’s purpose and degree of necessity. In particular, in allowing Plaintiffs’ claim for medical monitoring to proceed, the court found that “[a] court-administered fund which goes beyond payment of the costs of monitoring an individual plaintiff’s health to establish pooled resources for the early detection and advances in treatment of the disease is injunctive in nature rather than ‘predominantly money damages.’” Easler, Slip Op. at 12 (internal citation omitted).