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George v. General Motors Corp.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


July 5, 2006

MARGARET GEORGE; RACHEL GEORGE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NATURAL GUARDIAN OF MARK GEORGE; AUTUMN A. LEAF; ANN Y. LEAF; VICKY BENEDICT; HELEN BENEDICT; DAWN A. BERO; SHAWNA A. BERO; THERESA BURNS; JULIUS J. COOK; BETTY A. DAVID; IETSISTOHK WAROROKS, ALSO KNOWN AS IEGEE; BIANCA J. JACOBS; JEAN JACOBS; THERESA JACOBS, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS NATURAL GUARDIAN OF FERYN KING; GORDON KING; MARY JACOBS; KAHAWANION DAVID; KARONHIOTHA SHARROW; KANIETEHEWI SHARROW; DAWN LAFRANCE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NATURAL GUARDIAN OF BRETTANI LAFRANCE; BRENDA LAFRANCE; KERRY R. MITCHELL; KORA MITCHELL; TINA MITCHELL, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN OF CHAD GARROW; SARAH BENEDICT, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN OF KAWEHRAS BENEDICT; JAZMINE BENEDICT; LUZ BENEDICT; ANNA THOMPSON; DULSIE THOMPSON; ERIC THOMPSON; HARRY THOMPSON; JUDITH L. THOMPSON; LORAN THOMPSON; OREN L. THOMPSON; TINA THOMPSON, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN OF ALEXIS ARQUETTE; ELIZABETH BENEDICT, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF EDWIN BRUCE BENEDICT; JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, (NOS. "1 TO UNKNOWN") ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION; AND ALCOA, INC.; DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: David N. Hurd United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION and ORDER

Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs oppose. Oral argument was heard on June 27, 2006, in Utica, New York.

Plaintiffs have alleged facts in their complaint which, if true,*fn1 are sufficient to avoid dismissal on the basis of the Statute of Limitations or on the other grounds set forth in the motions. The motions will be denied without prejudice.

The motions to dismiss the Navigation Law claim for personal injuries and the Medical Monitoring claim will also be denied without prejudice. It would be premature to rule at this time. The New York Court of Appeals has not ruled on the viability of a personal injury claim under the Navigation Law or a Medical Monitoring claim. Further developments may clarify the situation in order to make a prediction as to the highest court's ruling on the issues.

In fact there may even be a definitive ruling on one or both issues. Finally, there is no prejudice to the defendants in allowing these claims to proceed at the present time.

The plaintiffs allege that "This is a class action brought by individual Mohawk Indians to recover money damages for personal injuries they have sustained and are at risk of sustaining as a result of their exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls ("PCBs") disposed of by defendants." (See Compl. ¶ 1.) A motion to certify the class pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 has not been made.

However, in order to clarify the Statute of Limitations issues and the nature of any proposed class, the plaintiffs' attorneys are placed on notice that they must be prepared to furnish the following information as to each individual plaintiff and/or proposed class member:

1. Name and address;

2. Date of birth;

3. Approximate date of first exposure to PCBs disposed of by defendants;

4. Date first test revealed the presence of elevated PCBs in body;

5. Date of first medical treatment for the personal injuries claimed; and

6. Approximate date of the appearance of the first symptoms of the personal injuries claimed.

Any individual for whom the above information is not provided is at risk of being dismissed from the action and/or precluded from being a member of any proposed class.

Therefore, it is ORDERED, that

1. The defendants' motions to dismiss are DENIED, without prejudice; and

2. The defendants shall file and serve answers to the complaint on or before July 14, 2006.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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