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Matson & Associates, Inc.
331 East Foster Ave.
State College, PA 16801
814 / 231-5253

Representative Cases: Insurance Recovery

Evaluating a Die Casting Plant’s PCB-Contaminated Discharges to Cedar Creek, Wisconsin
When an aluminum die casting operation that manufactured outboard motor parts sued its insurers to pay for remediation costs resulting from its historic practice of discharging PCB-containing hydraulic oil to a nearby creek, the insurers’ joint defense group hired M&A to evaluate the manufacturer’s wastewater treatment practices as well as company knowledge of its use of PCB-containing fluids.

M&A discovered that the plant utilized a system of open floor trenches to capture and convey leaked hydraulic oil and cooling water to a concrete pit. The company claimed the pit served as an oil water separator where the lighter oily waste fraction was removed by skimming prior to discharge to the creek.

After thorough examination of company documents, industry standards, and federal and state regulations, M&A opined that the company knew its machines were leaking PCB-containing oils, and because it did not install oil water separators consistent with industry standards, it failed to comply with regulations concerning its oily discharges and would have known it contaminated the creek.

M&A buttressed its expert opinions by performing quantitative analyses concerning the pit at the plant. M&A knew that the industry standard for the removal of oily substances from wastewater was the American Petroleum Institute (API) oil water separator. A properly-designed oil water separator is sized large enough to provide adequate retention time so that the lighter oily fraction can float to the surface where it can be removed by skimming, while heavier wastes, including some PCB materials, settle to the bottom of the unit where they can be removed via suction or other means.

Company records indicated that half a million gallons of wastewater were discharged daily to the creek through the pit. Using this information in conjunction with API guidelines, we determined that a properly-designed oil water separator for this flow would require a volume greater than four times that of the company’s pit. M&A also demonstrated that the flow in the pit was turbulent and therefore would have entrained heavy PCB oils and thereby encouraged their discharge to the creek.

M&A provided deposition testimony, and the case settled with a favorable outcome for our client.

Investigating Arsenic Contamination of the Menominee River Resulting from Waste Salt Storage Practices
When a manufacturer of arsenical herbicides located along a river in the Midwest sought to have its insurers pay to remediate soil, groundwater, and sediment contaminated by its storage of massive piles of arsenic waste salt adjacent to the river, the joint defense group representing the insurers retained M&A to evaluate the company’s waste handling and disposal practices.

After carefully examining the company documents, industry standards, and federal and state regulations, M&A opined that the herbicide manufacturer expected or intended to contaminate the soils, groundwater, and river sediments as a result of its handling and disposal of waste arsenic compounds. M&A also opined with regard to known loss that the company knew the contamination it caused would result in liabilities that it would need to address.

This was an “all hands on deck” case for M&A as we faced a particularly tight deadline and we are proud to have produced a thorough, high quality expert report within these time constraints. The case settled favorably for a number of the insurers while another carrier prevailed in a summary judgment motion.

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Other Representative Cases:

Litigation Support


Expert Witnessing