Arlington, VA – A judge has dismissed with prejudice a nuisance class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Pennsylvania against Waste Connections. The lead plaintiff in the case, Ms. Robin Baptiste, had claimed she was bothered by odors that came from the company’s Bethlehem Landfill, but during a March 2021 deposition, she admitted that the odor was from the Bethlehem Wastewater Treatment Plant. The decision by Judge Chad F. Kenney to dismiss the case with prejudice bars the plaintiffs from filing a future lawsuit against the defendant on the same issue.
“We applaud Judge Kenney’s decision to toss out this lawsuit,” said National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) President and CEO Darrell Smith. “Landfills are highly engineered facilities that comply with stringent local, state and federal regulations.”
“This is an important reminder to NWRA members defending nuisance and other mass tort claims to always test the evidence,” stated NWRA Chief Counsel & Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jim Riley. “Members of the business community often will agree to pay large settlements to plaintiffs’ law firms just to make them go away even if they are not at fault, but this only fuels more lawsuits. We are putting these firms on notice—not only will the waste and recycling industry challenge dubious claims when they are brought, but it will push for sanctions against these firms when there is evidence they have knowledge that responsibility lies elsewhere.”
In 2019, NWRA provided a strong amicus brief to the Third Circuit in Baptiste v. Bethlehem Landfill Co. supporting Waste Connections.
The reason for the dismissal was memorialized in the Rule 41 stipulation and reported at 2021 WL 1232779 (E.D. Pa. March 30, 2021).
The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.