8th Circ. Fights 'Fear Of Contamination' Nuisance Claims

Law360, New York (November 9, 2015, 10:06 AM EST) -- Mark R. Ter Molen

Evan M. Tager

Sarah E. Reynolds In a recent environmental contamination class action, Smith v. ConocoPhillips Pipe Line Co.,[1] the Eighth Circuit reversed a Missouri district court's order certifying a class of property owners who sought to recover under a nuisance theory for their fears that nearby contamination might spread onto their property. The Eighth Circuit held that unsubstantiated fears of contamination are insufficient to establish a nuisance claim. By requiring evidence of actual injury or contamination, this decision provides important clarification of common law nuisance doctrine and may deter the filing of "fear of contamination" claims in certain...

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