NEW YORK – The Houston-based law firm Hicks Thomas LLP has won a
significant appeals court ruling in favor of longtime client R.R. Street
& Co. as part of an environmental lawsuit pending in New York.
Last week’s defense ruling was just the latest of several court victories
that Hicks Thomas has won during the past 15 years for Naperville, Illinois-based
R.R. Street, a leading manufacturer products for the dry cleaning industry.
In this latest case, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court
ruled that the Suffolk County Water Authority waited too long to file
claims of water contamination on 151 of 159 wells the agency contended
were polluted by PCE, a chemical used in many industries, including dry cleaning.
“It’s a big victory in any case when you can eliminate the
majority of liability without a trial,” says lead counsel and Hicks
Thomas partner John B. Thomas.
“Because the water authority waited decades to sue, our strategy
was to put the plaintiffs between a rock and a hard place,” Mr.
Thomas says. “Either there was no injury because chemical levels
didn’t reach the statutory requirement, or the authority sat on
its rights and let the problem get worse.”
The water authority lawsuit, filed in 2010, included numerous defendants
in addition to R.R. Street, including Dow Chemical Co. and other manufacturers
of the dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene.
Mr. Thomas says the New York appellate ruling has broader implications,
illustrating the particular challenges plaintiffs face when attempting
to make timely claims of environmental contamination. The case is Suffolk
County Water Authority v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 24852/10, in the
Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Judicial
For more information on Hicks Thomas’ win for R.R. Street, please
contact Kit Frieden at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.