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Pennsylvania Federal Court Dismisses Untimely Medical Monitoring Class Claim

In a decision that may make it more difficult to sustain medical monitoring claims in Pennsylvania, a federal district court dismissed as untimely a putative class action alleging workplace chemical exposure. Blanyar v. Genova Prods., Inc., No. 3:15-1303, 2016 WL 740941 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 25, 2016). Plaintiffs alleged that their employer unlawfully and fraudulently failed to inform or warn them about alleged occupational exposures to sixteen toxic chemicals, including vinyl chloride (“VC”) and polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”). Id. at *2-3.

Claims for medical monitoring in Pennsylvania have a two-year statute of limitations starting from the moment an individual was “placed at a significantly increased risk of contracting a serious latent disease.” Id. at *5 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Defendant’s plant closed in 2012 but Plaintiffs filed their complaint in 2015. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant’s fraudulent concealment tolled the statute of limitations.

Even accepting Plaintiffs’ claims as true, the Middle District of Pennsylvania concluded that Defendant’s alleged activity did not give rise to the “affirmative independent act of concealment” required to toll the statute of limitations: “Mere non-disclosure is not a misleading act for purposes of tolling the statute of limitations.” Id. at *6. The Court further noted that, by Plaintiffs’ own admission, the harmful effects of VC, PVC, and other chemicals obviously used at Defendant’s plant were “well-studied and well-documented” so as to place Plaintiffs on notice before the two-year limitations period expired. Id. The court therefore rejected Plaintiff’s tolling argument and granted a defense motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ medical monitoring claims without prejudice.

© 2021 Beveridge & Diamond PC National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 146
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About this Author

Anthony G. Papetti Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY
Associate

Anthony’s practice focuses on general environmental litigation and automotive regulatory compliance.

For the past two years, his experience has been extensively involved in the Department of Justice-appointed Independent Corporate Compliance Monitor and Audit matter in connection with the Volkswagen AG diesel emissions proceedings. During this experience, Anthony has gained tremendous insight into complex corporate compliance management systems and the automotive product development process, including both domestic and international vehicle emissions certification...

202-789-6042
Daniel M. Krainin Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY
Principal

Dan deploys more than two decades of environmental litigation experience to resolve clients’ legal and business challenges.

Primarily focused on environmental and toxic tort litigation, Dan helps clients successfully resolve groundwater contamination, hazardous waste site remediation, natural resource damages, permit defense and product-related matters. He enjoys using his skills as a litigator to help clients solve environmental problems.

Among his many wins, Dan successfully led a team that defeated an emergency challenge to a permit that Dan’s client needed to continue its...

212-702 5417
Eric L. Klein Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Boston, MA
Principal

Eric makes complex subjects simpler.

He is an environmental litigator in the Boston office of Beveridge & Diamond, with a national practice representing major companies and municipalities in a wide variety of matters including environmental and mass torts, class actions, and federal citizen suits under environmental statutes including the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. He has handled cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States, litigating complex civil and commercial matters before juries, trial and appellate courts,...

617-419-2316
Graham C. Zorn Environmental, Toxic Tort, Products Liability Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC
Principal

Graham Zorn focuses his practice on environmental, toxic tort, and products liability litigation.

His representative experience includes extensive work on a series of complex products liability and toxic tort cases related to alleged groundwater, and litigation over lead in drinking water. He has represented individual businesses, trade associations, and municipalities in litigation, as well as in compliance, enforcement, and counseling matters involving the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA and other state and federal environmental statutes. He also counsels domestic and...

202-789-6024
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