Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims injured by toxic substances and contamination, is reporting on recent updates concerning introduction of the “Hoosick Falls” bill, S6824A, by Republican New York State Senator from New York’s 43rd Senate District, Kathleen Marchione. The bill is Senator Marchione’s response to her constituents’ concerns regarding water supply contamination. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law on July 21, 2016. The law extends the statute of limitation under which personal injury claims may be brought concerning pollution at Superfund sites, according to a TimesUnion report dated July 21, 2016. (http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Hoosick-Falls-inspired-law-extends-statute-of-8401980.php)
The bill passed both the New York State Assembly and the Senate by wide margins, adding Section 214-f to the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules (CPLR). Previously, pursuant to CPLR Section 214-c, individuals were required to bring an action for personal injury damages over exposure to toxic substances within three years from the time the injury was discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. The prior Toxic Tort Law might not have been sufficient in all personal injury claims, especially in cases in which an individual was exposed to a toxic substance and who may not have been aware of the exposure or injury. Some of these injuries could present as cancer years later and well after a hazardous site is publicly identified a Superfund site.
CPLR 214-f enables the tolling of the current statute of limitations when a site is classified as a Superfund site or based on the date-of-discovery rule that makes up CPLR 214-c—the original Toxic Tort Law—whichever is later. The new law is meant to update the statute of limitations for those who claim an injury, even if that injury took place more than three years ago or is the result of exposure to contamination at or from a newly designated Superfund site, enabling individuals to bring timely personal injury claims. The law will also apply to any site designated as a Superfund site by either the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant, which is located in Hoosick Falls, is the site where perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination originated. PFOA was used at the Hoosick Falls plant for decades before knowledge of the contamination there became public in 2015.The Cuomo administration declared the location a Superfund site in January 2016. Hoosick Falls residents allege exposure to the toxic chemicals adversely impacted property values.
“Although Hoosick Falls inspired it, it actually, I think, establishes a very important precedent,” Assembly Sponsor John McDonald (Democrat-Cohoes), told the TimesUnion. “Yes, it’s a win for the residents of Hoosick Falls, but (it’s also a win) for residents around New York State who might have an unfortunate situation like Hoosick Falls.” Senator Kathy Marchione noted that the law enables Hoosick Falls; Petersburgh, of eastern Rensselaer County; and other parts of New York State to receive justice.
“The legislation provides long-term New York State-wide implications for firms and other responsible entities, enabling previously time-barred causes of action with increased opportunities for viability and justice,” said Melanie H. Muhlstock, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman. “This law also will likely entice the DEC to be more proactive in listing new Superfund sites and may ultimately bring change to the CPLR 214 and expand beyond Superfund sites.”
Parker Waichman LLP remains committed to representing individuals who have been injured due to toxic substances and contamination and remains available to offer free lawsuit consultations to those individuals who have suffered injuries allegedly associated to these substances and contaminations. Please visit the firm’s website for more information and for free case evaluations, please contact the firm at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4626)
Release ID: 128015