LaPlace, Los Angeles – A lawsuit filed against Denka Performance Elastomer alleging harm caused by emissions from its facility in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, has been dismissed by a federal district court judge in New Orleans, Denka announced 24 Feb.
In a 10-Feb ruling, Judge Martin Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana found David W. Acosta and 22 other plaintiffs failed to sufficiently plead their case against DPE.
Furthermore, the judge found that the case bore “unmistakable similarity” to a previous suit (Butler vs Denka) against Denka, which was dismissed last year, adding that plaintiffs failed “to state a plausible claim.”
According to the ruling, the same attorney representing the previous case’s plaintiffs filed this “identical petition in Louisiana state court less than two months after his client’s loss.”
Both suits relied on a number developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 as a “threshold for safe exposure” to chloroprene, a chemical used in the production of neoprene rubber at the facility.
However, quoting a part of his ruling in Butler, the judge said “even the federal agency that announced this measure, disclaims its regulatory or enforcement value.”
The EPA, he said, warns against using national air toxics assessment (NATA) results as an absolute risk measure.
“NATA is a screening tool, not a refined assessment,” he cautioned, adding that the assessment was not designed “as a final means to pinpoint specific risk values at local levels.”
Denka acquired the LaPlace operations from DuPont in November 2015, and has since reduced its emissions by 85%.