Mealey’s Reports on Environmental Litigators Representation of the City of San Diego
February 1, 2018
The Mealey’s article, “Monsanto Lacks Standing To Assert Counterclaims Over PCB Contamination, Judge Says,” mentions partners Ann L. Al-Bahish, Micheal Dobbs, and Bill Jackson and associate Lauren Valastro’s representation of the City of San Diego. 

According to the article, the City of San Diego and The San Diego Unified Port District sued Monsanto in 2015, claiming that PCBs and PCB-containing products made by the companies have contaminated the groundwater and San Diego Bay. The plaintiffs contend that Monsanto encouraged consumers to dispose of PCB-containing materials into landfills despite knowing the dangers of the chemical.

U.S. Judge William Q. Hayes of the Southern District of California rejected Monsanto’s answer and counterclaims saying that the costs of investigating PCB contamination in the San Diego Bay are not recoverable under CERCLA because Monsanto has not cleaned up any of the contamination. The judge also pointed out that Monsanto has incurred the costs only as a result of this litigation. Judge Hayes held that Monsanto could not recover any response or defense costs because the company has not taken any action to remediate the contamination and because litigation costs are insufficient to establish standing. The judge then found that Monsanto could not raise an affirmative defense based on contingent liability.