Long Beach’s recent attempt to hold the agricultural company Monsanto accountable for the contamination of the city’s storm water and other bodies of water was rejected Thursday, when a U.S. District judge granted Monsanto’s request to dismiss the case.
The city’s suit alleged the manufacturer’s long-banned cancer-producing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were responsible for specifically polluting the city’s storm water, port waters and other bodies of water.
The city filed the lawsuit against Monsanto in May, stating that it continued to “incur significant costs related to PCBs in its storm water and the sedimentary deposits in the Port of Long Beach and adjacent ocean floor areas.”
In addition, the state’s Water Quality Control Board has determined the presence of PCBs in stormwater runoff in the city threatens fish and wildlife in the Port of Long Beach (POLB).
Monsanto’s Scott Partridge, vice president of Global Strategy for Monsanto, said in May that “there was no evidence that Monsanto discharged a single PCB molecule into the water of Long Beach.”
In response to Thursday’s dismissal order, Monsanto released the following statement:
“This latest ruling makes city of Long Beach the fifth California city in recent weeks to have its case dismissed. All of these California lawsuits have been instigated by trial lawyers attempting to test novel legal theories – and all the cases have been appropriately dismissed. The facts are clear: There’s no evidence that Monsanto discharged a single PCB molecule into the waters of Long Beach, as Monsanto never had a PCB manufacturing facility in Long Beach or anywhere else in California. The city is one of the biggest dischargers of the pollutants into Long Beach Harbor, and it should look to other actual dischargers of pollutants for any relief it seeks.”
The city said it plans to file an amended complaint, using new laws enacted since it filed the first complaint.
“The California State Legislature passed AB 2594 and SB 859, both of which express that the people of the State of California want cities like Long Beach to protect valuable public resources,” the city’s trial lawyers said in a statement. “Monsanto's PCBs have contaminated public resources and it's the Cities, the residents, and the people who are paying to clean up Monsanto's mess."
The case was presided over by U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin. A three-page document stating the order to dismiss the complaint did not specify Olguin’s reasons for dismissing the case.