In an opinion that may help clarify the jurisdictional and pleading requirements for plaintiffs seeking damages and injunctive relief for alleged injuries from vapor intrusion, the federal district court in Minnesota denied a Defendant’s motion to dismiss such claims. See Ebert v. General Mills, Inc., Civil No. 13-3341 (D. Minn. Sept. 14, 2014). Plaintiffs in Minneapolis filed suit against General Mills, Inc., alleging their homes were contaminated by trichloroethylene (TCE) vapors that migrated from buried drums at a nearby General Mills facility. Plaintiffs brought claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), in addition to common law nuisance and negligence claims.
Although Defendant had installed vapor mitigation systems, the court held that Plaintiffs established the redressability requirement for subject matter jurisdiction because they sought complete elimination of contamination from their property. Further, the court ruled that the statutory and tort claims were not barred by CERCLA because Minnesota’s pollution control agency was conducting removal and remediation pursuant to state law. Finally, the court found that Plaintiffs pled sufficient facts to support all causes of action in their complaint, relying in part on Plaintiffs’ allegation that the presence of significant environmental contamination will lower property values.