Hicks Thomas LLP Secures Another Important Ninth Circuit Win

Aug 04, 2011, 10:48 ET from Hicks Thomas LLP

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For the second time in less than seven days, attorneys from Hicks Thomas LLP have won an important environmental ruling for Naperville, Ill.-based R.R. Street & Co. Inc. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In Hinds Investments L.P. v. Team Enterprises, Inc. (No. 10-15607), the Ninth Circuit upheld a trial court's dismissal of claims asserted against R.R. Street under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA).

Hinds Investments owns shopping centers with dry cleaning stores in Clovis and Fresno, Calif. The dry cleaning store in Clovis used the Puritan 800 Plus Filter Still manufactured by R.R. Street, which filters and recycles perchloroethylene (PERC), a widely used chemical in the dry cleaning industry. Hinds sued R.R. Street and others alleging that the companies' equipment led to the contamination of groundwater at the shopping centers.

In the trial court, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill dismissed all RCRA claims against R.R. Street because the plaintiff failed to allege that the company had any active role in waste disposal at the shopping centers.

In the Aug. 1, 2011, ruling, the Ninth Circuit held that under RCRA, a defendant must have a measure of control over waste at the time of disposal or otherwise be actively involved in the waste disposal process. The court also held that providing instructions on how to dispose of waste generated by the equipment is not sufficiently "active" conduct to support a RCRA claim.

R.R. Street was represented before the Ninth Circuit by Hicks Thomas attorneys John B. Thomas and Eric Grant.

The Hinds ruling is the second significant win for Hicks Thomas and R.R. Street in the past week. On July 26, the Ninth Circuit upheld a dismissal of claims against R.R. Street in Team Enterprises LLC v. Western Investment Real Estate Trust, No. 10-16916. In that case, the court gave a narrow construction to "arranger" liability under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and to nuisance and trespass liability under California law.

Founded in 1997, Hicks Thomas LLP is a premier litigation firm representing plaintiffs and defendants across the nation. With offices in Houston and Sacramento, the firm provides in-depth experience in cases involving oil and gas, environmental, toxic tort, products liability, corporate governance, securities, banking, insurance coverage, transportation, trade secrets and business litigation.

Contact: Alan Bentrup, 800-559-4534 or alan@androvett.com.

SOURCE Hicks Thomas LLP