In re Hanford Nuclear Reservation Litigation

Citation780 F. Supp. 1551
Decision Date31 October 1991
Docket NumberMaster File No. CY-91-3015-AAM.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Washington

780 F. Supp. 1551


Master File No. CY-91-3015-AAM.

United States District Court, E.D. Wash.

October 31, 1991.

780 F. Supp. 1552
780 F. Supp. 1553
780 F. Supp. 1554
Stanley M. Chesley, Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co., L.P.A., Cincinnati, Ohio, Merrill G. Davidoff, Berger & Montague, P.C., Philadelphia, Pa., Tom H. Foulds, Law Offices of Tom Foulds, Seattle, Wash., Roy S. Haber, Law Offices of Roy Haber, Eugene, Or., Federico Castelan Sayre, Law Offices of Federico Castelan Sayre, Santa Monica, Cal., Frederick N. Halverson, Halverson and Applegate, P.S., John S. Moore, Velikanje, Moore & Shore, Inc., P.S., George Paul Trejo, Jr., Contrer-as-Trejo & Trejo, Yakima, Wash., Fred Baron, Baron & Budd, Dallas, Tex., Daniel Berger, Peter Nordberg, Lawrence J. Lederer, Andrew Brenner, Berger & Montague, P.C., Philadelphia, Pa., Steve W. Berman, Theresa A. Goetz, Betts, Patterson & Mines, P.S., Seattle, Wash., Edward K. Blodnick, Blodnick, Abramowitz, Newman & Bass, P.C., Lake Success, N.Y., Nicholas E. Chimicles, Jeffrey Spangler, Greenfield & Chimicles, Los Angeles, Cal., John Cummings, Cummings, Cummings & Dudenhefer, New Orleans, La., Ronald P. Erickson, Kargianis, Austin & Erickson, Seattle, Wash., Steve Greenfogel, Meredith & Cohen, Philadelphia, Pa., Eugene Hallman, D. Rahn Hostetter, Mautz, Hallman, Pendleton, Or., Arnold Levin, Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, Philadelphia, Pa., Louise Roselle, Paul Demarco, Fay Stilz, Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley, Co., L.P.A., Cincinnati, Ohio, Anthony Shapiro, Rohan, Goldfarb, Breskin & Shapiro, Seattle, Wash., Ronald Simon, Connerton, Ray & Simon, Washington, D.C., N. Robert Stoll, Stoll, Stoll, Berne & Porting, P.C., Portland, Or., for plaintiffs

John D. Aldock, James R. Bird, Franklin D. Kramer, Shea & Gardner, Washington,

780 F. Supp. 1555
D.C., David F. Jurca, Bradley H. Bagshaw, Helsell, Fetterman, Martin, Todd & Hokanson, Seattle, Wash., for Rockwell Intern. Corp

David M. Bernick, Ray W. Campbell, Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago, Ill., Lawton A. Burrows, E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Legal Dept., Wilmington, Del., Douglas A. Hofmann, Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, Seattle, Wash., for E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.

Keith Gerrard, Gretchen Baumgardner, Jay Brown, Richard C. Coyle, Ramer B. Holton, Jr., James R. Moore, Kathryn L. Tucker, Perkins Coie, Seattle, Wash., Cynthia Imbrogno, Perkins Coie, Spokane, Wash., for General Elec. Co.

Ridgway M. Hall, Jr., W. Stanfield Johnson, Crowell & Moring, Washington, D.C., Molly Current, J. Ronald Sim, Stoel, Rives, Boley, Jones & Grey, Seattle, Wash., for UNC, Inc., Douglas United Nuclear, Inc., DUN, Inc., and United Nuclear Industries, Inc.

William R. Squires, III, Ladd B. Leavens, Stephen M. Rummage, Davis, Wright & Tremaine, Seattle, Wash., for Westinghouse Elec. Corp., and Westinghouse Hanford Co.

Robert S. Warren, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles, Cal., Christopher H. Buckley, Jr., Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Washington, D.C., Michele C. Coyle, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Seattle, Wash., for Atlantic Richfield Co. and Atlantic Richfield-Hanford Co.

Thomas H. Reilly, Atlantic Richfield Co., Los Angeles, Cal., for Atlantic Richfield Co.

John C. Bjorkman, Thomas E. Kelly, Jr., Preston, Thorgrimson, Shidler, Gates & Ellis, Seattle, Wash., for McDonnell Douglas Corp.


McDONALD, District Judge.

On April 19, 1991, and pursuant to prior orders of the court,1 the plaintiffs, past and present residents of and/or owners of property in the area surrounding the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, jointly filed a Consolidated Complaint "for redress for present and threatened future injuries resulting from Defendants' wrongdoing in the generation, storage, and use of vast quantities of radioactive and non-radioactive hazardous substances at Hanford and the release of those substances into the environment" (Ct.Rec. 15 at 2, ¶ 1).2 Named as defendants

780 F. Supp. 1556
are certain "past and present operators of the Hanford facility" (Pretrial Order No. 1, Ct.Rec. 1 at 3): E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company ("DuPont"); General Electric Company ("GE"); UNC Nuclear Industries, Inc. ("UNC", a.k.a. United Nuclear Industries, Inc.), its predecessors and successors; Atlantic Richfield Company ("ARCO") and Atlantic Richfield-Hanford Company ("ARCO-Hanford"); Rockwell International Corporation ("Rockwell"); and Westinghouse Hanford Company ("Westinghouse Hanford") and Westinghouse Electric Company ("Westinghouse").3 Subject-matter jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' claims, which allegedly arise under the Price-Anderson Act, CERCLA, and applicable state law, as well as under the Declaratory Judgment Act (28 U.S.C. § 2201), is purportedly founded on "28 U.S.C. § 1331 federal question, the Price Anderson Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2210(n)(2), and principles of pendent jurisdiction" (id. at 3-4, ¶ 3).4 Venue in the Eastern District of Washington is predicated on 28 U.S.C. § 1391; 42 U.S.C. § 2210(n)(2); and 42 U.S.C. § 9613(b). Among those forms of relief requested by the plaintiffs are compensatory and punitive damages; a fund for providing general medical monitoring, as well as certain other declaratory and injunctive relief; an award of interest, where applicable; and an award of attorney's fees and costs

On June 19, 1991, and also in accordance with prior court orders,5 the defendants jointly filed nine motions to dismiss certain portions of the Consolidated Complaint pursuant Fed.R.Civ.P. 12. Those nine motions are as follows:

1. Motion to Dismiss Claims for Abatement and Remediation (Ct.Rec. 48).
2. Motion to Dismiss or, Alternatively, to Stay Claim for "Medical Surveillance Relief" (Ct.Rec. 50).
3. Motion to Dismiss Claims for Recovery of Response Costs Under CERCLA (Ct.Rec. 52).
4. Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Requests for Disclosure (Ct.Rec. 54).
5. Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Claims for Punitive Damages (Ct.Rec. 56).
6. Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Claims for Negligence Per Se, Misrepresentation and Concealment, Outrage, Public Nuisance, Intentional Trespass and Private Nuisance (Ct.Rec. 58).
7. Defendants UNC Nuclear Industries, Inc., Atlantic Richfield Hanford Company, Atlantic Richfield Company, Rockwell International Corporation, Westinghouse Hanford Company, and Westinghouse Electric's Motion to Dismiss: A) The Claims of Plaintiffs Pritikin, Hurley, Neal, McCauley, Russell, Boyd, Campbell, Hopper, and the Criswell class; and B) The Personal Injury Claims of Plaintiffs Payne, Ferguson, Clark, Daschbach, and Dennis (Ct.Rec. 60).
780 F. Supp. 1557
8. Motion to Dismiss the Hanford Downwinders Coalition as a Plaintiff and Class Representative (Ct.Rec. 62).
9. Motion to Dismiss or for a More Definite Statement (Ct.Rec. 64).

See also Overview to Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Ct.Rec. 47); Appendix to Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Ct.Rec. 66).

A hearing was held for the purpose of receiving argument on the defendants' motions on October 3, 1991 in Spokane, Washington. Speaking on behalf of the defendants were William R. Squires, III; Keith Gerrard; James R. Moore; Robert S. Warren; and Franklin D. Kramer. Offering argument for the plaintiffs were Merrill G. Davidoff; Arnold C. Lakind; Howard J. Sedran; John J. Cummings, III; Federico Castelan Sayre; and Tom H. Foulds. Numerous other counsel for both the plaintiffs and the defendants were also in attendance.

Upon consideration of the record and the law relating thereto,6 and for the reasons that follow, the court finds that those claims of the plaintiffs based on CERCLA, for the disclosure of certain information and for punitive damages must be dismissed, as must the Hanford Downwinders Coalition as a party, but that the remainder of the defendants' motions must be denied.


A. Motion to Dismiss Claims for Abatement and Remediation

The defendants first seek the dismissal of the plaintiffs' claims for "abatement and remediation" pursuant to Fed. R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) ("lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter") and/or 12(b)(6) ("failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted") (Ct.Rec. 48). More specifically, the defendants urge the dismissal of that portion of the Consolidated Complaint in which the plaintiffs seek injunctive relief in the form of an order directing the abatement of the risks allegedly imposed by the underground storage of certain radioactive and non-radioactive hazardous substances on the Hanford site (see Ct.Rec. 15 at 80).7 The defendants argue first that CERCLA section 113(h) (42 U.S.C.A. § 9613(h) (Supp. 1991)) deprives this court of jurisdiction over such "claims" due to the fact that "federal and state regulatory authorities have already reached an agreement on a remedial program for Hanford-related waste" (Ct.Rec. 49 at 1). In addition, the defendants argue that due to the existence of a general CERCLA "federal facility cleanup scheme," a scheme which "constitutes the exclusive means for cleanup of the Hanford site," any claims pertaining to the same, which purportedly are founded on state law, are "preempted" as a matter of federal law (ibid.). The plaintiffs, of course, disagree with both of these assessments.

A motion to dismiss made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), like other motions made pursuant to this subdivision, entitles the plaintiffs to a deferential standard of review. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 1686, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974). Under that standard, the court is required to construe the complaint (or any claim contained therein) in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, and all allegations are to be regarded as true. Id.

CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq., was enacted to "`provide for liability, compensation, cleanup, and emergency response for hazardous substances released into the environment and the cleanup of inactive hazardous waste disposal...

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