The Seeger Weiss environmental litigation team, led by partner Matt Pawa, filed a lawsuit on behalf of nine cities and villages in northeastern Illinois – Evanston, Lake Forest, North Chicago, Zion, Beach Park, Glencoe, Lake Bluff, Winnetka, and Winthrop Harbor – against Monsanto and other chemical companies over the contamination of Lake Michigan with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The plaintiffs allege that Monsanto intentionally misled the public for decades about the environmental and health hazards of PCBs, resulting in widespread contamination. The complaint names as defendants the three successors to Monsanto as well as Monsanto’s Illinois-based distributor.
Due to PCB pollution in Lake Michigan, nearby communities are now obligated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to decrease the amount of PCBs discharged into the lake through stormwater by an estimated 99.6%. The lawsuit seeks to shift the significant costs associated with eliminating PCBs from the affected cities and villages to the corporations that are responsible.
“Because of Monsanto’s deception, Lake Michigan is contaminated with PCBs, forcing nearby communities to spend significant resources to reduce runoff of PCBs,” said Matt Pawa of Seeger Weiss, who is representing the affected communities. “We look forward to holding Monsanto and other chemical companies accountable and assisting municipalities affected by their misconduct.”
The Seeger Weiss team brings extensive experience representing state and local entities in litigation against large corporations for the toxic pollution caused by PBCs. PCBs are highly toxic, man-made chemical compounds known to accumulate and cause serious health effects in humans and animals. These chemicals are especially dangerous to children and adolescents, who are more susceptible to PCBs’ neurodevelopmental impacts than adults. The well-documented dangers of PCBs led the US Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of these harmful chemicals in 1979. But contamination from these chemicals continues to be a major issue today, impacting communities across the country.