MILWAUKEE – In the largest environmental remediation lawsuit in the nation’s history, U.S. District Judge William Griesbach today issued his decision and order dismissing a claim by plaintiffs Appleton Papers and NCR Corp. for contributions to pay $1.5 billion to clean up PCBs in the Fox River.
Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. was one of many defense law firms and the author of one of the five motions for summary judgment. Reinhart lawyers: Scott W. Hansen, Chair of Reinhart’s Litigation Practice; David E. Frank, Steven P. Bogart and Thomas M. Phillips worked on the case.
Scott W. Hansen is available for comment on the case today: Cell phone: 414.688.0645 or office: 414.298.8123.
Appleton Papers and NCR Corp. had been ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the PCB contamination in the Fox River and filed suit early last year asking more than 20 defendants for contributions. These parties included paper mills, publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities and municipalities along the lower Fox River that discharged industrial waste into the waterway.
The case stems from PCB contamination that began in the 1950s after Appleton Papers and NCR began producing a carbonless copy paper that was coated with material that contained PCBs. The government banned PCBs in the 1970s.
Reinhart’s client, U.S. Paper, along with other paper mills, recycled NCR-brand carbonless copy paper and unknowingly released PCBs into the river.
The clean-up effort, which already has begun and is operating 24 hours a day/five days a week, is thought to be the largest of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world and involves dredging and capping (covering the PCB-laden river sediment with sand and gravel).
Judge Griesbach moved the trial from Green Bay to Milwaukee to accommodate the many defendants and lawyers involved in the case.
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