New York, June 28: A US court has dismissed a lawsuit that alleged Union Carbide was polluting soil and water at its former chemical plant in Bhopal, India.
This was one of at least two pending cases involving the facility known for the world’s worst 1984 gas disaster that killed an estimated 22,000 people.
US District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan ruled June 26 that Union Carbide and its ex-chairman Warren Anderson were not liable for environmental remediation or pollution related claims made by residents near the plant.
Judge Keenan asked the parties to submit papers on “the effect of this ruling, if any” upon a companion case pending before him, one filed by owners of property near the Bhopal plant, the Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) acquired Union Carbide in 2001, about 16 years after the accident and 10 years after the Indian Supreme Court approved a $470 million settlement paid by Union Carbide and its India unit.
The plaintiffs in the New York case claimed negligence and public and private nuisance, and sought punitive and compensatory damages as well as medical monitoring, the newspaper said.
They alleged the sustained injuries from exposure to soil and drinking water polluted by hazardous waste produced by Union Carbide India Ltd.
“The court decision not only dismisses plaintiffs’ claims against UCC (Union Carbide), but also clarifies that UCC has no liability related to the plant site and further acknowledges the matter of site ownership and liability as being the responsibility of the state government of Madhya Pradesh,” the newspaper quoted the company as saying Wednesday.
The plaintiffs sought to hold Union Carbide and Anderson liable for injuries because they were “direct participants” in the activities that resulted in the pollution.
The litigants said the company and Anderson worked in concert with the India subsidiary “to cause, exacerbate, or conceal the pollution”.