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Arnold & Porter Secures Dismissal on Behalf of Honeywell in High Court

October 18, 2018

On October 9, 2018, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an environmental lawsuit against longtime Arnold & Porter client Honeywell International Inc., leaving in place the Second Circuit's decision affirming a dismissal of the case. Arnold & Porter has now defeated multiple state law claims over the cleanup of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, New York, one of the largest dredging projects in the United States. The cleanup was done pursuant to a consent decree with the state of New York.

The lawsuit, which was originally brought against Honeywell in 2013, involved a community organization and several families who alleged that they had suffered personal injuries and property damage as a result of the transport of dredge material from Onondaga Lake to a nearby sediment containment area.

In May 2013, the US District Court dismissed plaintiffs' claims for injunctive relief. Four years later, in 2017, the District Court dismissed the plaintiffs' remaining claims for monetary damages, saying that, "a closer examination of plaintiffs' amended complaint ... reveals that each of plaintiffs' claims is based exclusively on the premise that defendant should have conducted a more robust cleanup effort than the consent decree mandated." In May 2018, the Second Circuit affirmed the US District Court decision and found that the residents' claims were preempted by the federal Superfund statute (CERCLA). 

The Arnold & Porter team was led by partner Brian Israel, chair of the firm's Environmental practice group, and included counsel Kerry Dziubek, associates Lauren Daniel, and Andrea Broach.