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Roedel Parsons scores HUGE victory!

Roedel Parsons scores huge victory for the State of Louisiana!

2 min read
Juanea Butler, Individually and as Representative of All Others Similarly Situated
E I DuPont Nemours & Company; State of Louisiana, through the Department of Health, etc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Case Number 22-30069
Willard “Coley” West of Roedel Parsons Blache Fontana Piontek and Pisano and the firm were appointed Special Assistant Attorneys General to represent co-defendant, the Louisiana Department of Health (“LDH”), in this class action filed in July 2018 by Plaintiff. Plaintiff, a resident of St. John the Baptist Parish filed suit individually and on behalf of all others who allegedly had been exposed to chloroprene emissions from the Pontchartrain Works Facility located in that Parish. The putative class was defined as all persons at any time from January 1, 2011 to the present who have lived, worked, attended school and/or actually resided in St. John the Baptist Parish. (2022 estimated population of almost 42,000.) Plaintiff asserted negligence claims against LDH, alleging that LDH did not timely issue a press release or otherwise warn the public of the alleged dangers and potential consequences of the emissions, failed to adequately and fully investigate the complaints of illness, and otherwise neglected to investigate the potential health risks from the emissions.
Roedel Parsons filed a motion on behalf of LDH in the United States District Court to dismiss the class action claims against LDH on the ground that Plaintiff had not alleged that LDH had a statutory or other duty to regulate chloroprene emissions from the facility or to warn the public about potential health risks from any such emissions. Therefore, LDH could not have breached any duty owed to Plaintiff or the class. The district court granted LDH’s motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit strongly affirmed the dismissal of the negligence claims against LDH, holding that Plaintiff had failed to identify any legally cognizable duty that LDH owed Plaintiff (or other members of the putative class). The Court ruled Plaintiff failed to identify a specific standard of care LDH owed to Plaintiff or to allege that LDH undertook a specific duty to investigate and warn the public of the potential dangers of chloroprene.

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