Environmental Contamination

Migliaccio & Rathod LLP is committed to helping communities impacted by pollution. This includes air, groundwater, and soil contamination. The effects of environmental contamination span many spheres. Pollutants can decrease property value and lower a person’s standard of living. Health complications can also arise due to contaminated resources. By bringing class actions against parties that are responsible for degrading communities, we aim to empower people to maintain their safe environment.

Open Investigations

Livestock Air Pollution:
Migliaccio & Rathod LLP is investigating the loss of enjoyment of property, and possible health hazards, experienced by residents who live by livestock feedlots. For example, Minnesota residents in Goodhue County allege that the neighboring feedlot is violating air quality standards with excessive odorous fumes. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), a regulatory body that manages feedlots and monitors air quality, has not tested for fumes like hydrogen sulfide since 2009, though its short-term monitoring found hydrogen sulfide levels that could exceed the health risk limit.

Ethylene Oxide Emissions
Migliaccio & Rathod LLP is currently investigating chemical plants across the United States that emit ethylene oxide into the air, despite the known public health risks of doing so. Ethylene oxide is commonly used as a sterilizing agent for medical equipment, and as an intermediate in chemical manufacturing. Although long considered hazardous, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded in late 2016 that ethylene oxide was in fact 30 times more carcinogenic than previously thought. For decades, then, countless Americans living and working near chemical plants that handle ethylene oxide have, without their knowledge or consent, been exposed to a potent cancer-causing agent. Meanwhile, EPA regulatory standards remain based upon research conducted in the 1980s, leaving vulnerable communities exposed to this toxic gas.

Case Involvement

Clairton Coke Plant
On May 25, 2017, Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, along with co-counsel, brought the first-filed class action lawsuit against U.S. Steel on behalf of Cheryl Hurt and others similarly situated alleging that U.S. Steel’s operations of the Clairton Coke Works Plant in Clairton, Pennsylvania resulted in the release of toxic and hazardous materials, including contaminants, noise, odors, vapors and fume. The plaintiffs alleged that the Coke Works was a blight on plaintiffs’ and the class members’ community, and deprived plaintiffs and the class Members of their free use and enjoyment of their property. M&R, along with co-counsel, conducted a significant investigation prior to and during the course of this litigation. Ms. Hurt subsequently joined a related litigation brought by additional counsel for the same nuisance conditions. We are pleased to note that the related litigation settled in March of 2020, with U.S. Steel agreeing to pay $2,000,000 into a settlement fund for the benefit and advantage of all settlement class members. U.S. Steel further agreed spend at least $6,500,000 on environmental improvement measures within one year to address plant emissions and reduce the potential for odor.

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