A federal judge in California has dismissed a contribution claim and other claims against the manufacturers of a dry cleaning machine that required the disposal of hazardous wastewater to operate properly. Hinds Investments, LP v. Team Enterprises, Inc., No. 07-703 (E.D. Cal. 03/12/10). Plaintiffs sought remediation costs from manufacturers to clean up perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination at two properties where dry cleaning machines were in use, alleging that the product manual called for wastewater to be discharged into “an open drain.”
The court ruled that plaintiffs failed to present a plausible claim and “offer[ed] nothing substantial to negate the useful product defense.” According to the court, the complaint also failed to allege that the manufacturers intended to arrange for the improper disposal of PCE and consequently plaintiffs cannot go forward with claims that defendants face liability as “arrangers” under CERCLA or “contributors” under RCRA. The court also dismissed plaintiffs’ nuisance and trespass claims as well as those under the California Hazardous Substance Account Act.