Putative environmental class action
A victory on behalf of energy companies in a putative class action arising from an accidental release of 100 million gallons of alleged pollutants into a major river. Plaintiffs were several owners of properties along the river. They alleged that, as a result of the spill, they suffered and would continue to suffer, ground water contamination, property contamination, diminished property values, risk of physical injury, and other damages. Plaintiffs purported to bring suit on behalf of a class of tens of thousands of persons, consisting of all persons with "property and/or business ownership interests . . . in or about the riverfront" from the source of the spill downriver for forty miles. Defendants successfully removed the case from state to federal court. As a result of pre-trial proceedings, defendants filed a motion for discovery sanctions against plaintiffs seeking dismissal with prejudice of a significant portion of plaintiffs' case. Prior to the court ruling on that motion, plaintiffs moved to dismiss their entire case without prejudice. In early 2007, the court allowed plaintiffs to dismiss their claims, but barred plaintiffs from seeking class certification in the event they were ever to refile their own claims.