United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. KALLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiffs bring this action individually and on behalf of a
putative class of similarly situated individuals for personal
injuries allegedly caused by exposure to pollutants in the
Tennessee River. The Plaintiffs assert claims of negligence,
nuisance, fraudulent concealment, and wantonness against the
West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority (the
“Authority”), 3M Company, Dyneon, L.L.C.,
Daikin American, Inc. Doc. 8. Currently before the court are
3M's motion to stay, doc. 9, motion to dismiss the
amended complaint, doc. 14, and motion to file supplemental
brief, doc. 27. The motions are fully briefed and ripe for
review. Docs. 9, 15, 17, 18, 19, 27, and 28. For the reasons
stated below, the motion to dismiss is due to be granted
solely as to the private nuisance claims, and the motions to
stay and for leave are due to be denied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
“[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not
require ‘detailed factual allegations,' but it
demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). Mere “labels and conclusions” or
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action” are insufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal when a
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must . . . state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations
omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). A complaint
states a facially plausible claim for relief “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation
omitted). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), the court accepts “the allegations in the
complaint as true and construe[s] them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Hunt v. Aimco Props.,
L.P. 814 F.3d 1213, 1221 (11th Cir. 2016).
FACTUAL BACKGROUND 
action arises from 3M's and Daikin's discharge of
perflurooctanoic acid (“PFOA”),
perflurooctanesulfonic acid (“PFOS”), and related
chemicals into the Tennessee River and its tributaries. Doc.
8 at 5-13. Specifically, the Plaintiffs plead that 3M and
Daiken own and operate manufacturing and disposal facilities
in Decatur, Alabama that allegedly “continue to release
PFOA, PFOS, and related chemicals into groundwater and
surface water through which the chemicals are discharged into
the Tennessee River and its tributaries.” Id.
at 6. See also Id. at 7. The Plaintiffs further
allege that these Defendants also discharge the contaminated
wastewater into the Decatur Utilities Wastewater Treatment
Plant. Id. at 6-7. Allegedly, the chemicals in
question, PFOA and PFOS, persist in the environment because
they have no known environmental breakdown mechanism.
Id. at 8. In addition, the human body readily
absorbs PFOS and PFOA, and the chemicals tend to accumulate
over time with repeated exposure. Id. Studies,
including one by an independent science panel, have found a
probable link between PFOA and PFOS exposure and kidney and
testicular cancer. Id. Other human health risks
include thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis,
pregnancy-induced hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Id. at 8-9. The Plaintiffs, who have been diagnosed
with kidney, cancer, thyroid disease, hyperthyroidism,
thyroid cancer, or ulcerative colitis, allege that 3M has
known for at least 35 years that PFOA, PFOS, and related
chemicals are toxic, persist in the environment, and
accumulate in the human body. Id. at 3-5, 9-10.
Authority draws water from the Tennessee River to provide to
its customers in Morgan and Lawrence County, Alabama.
Id. at 7. The Plaintiffs allege that, despite
knowing about the potential risks of PFOA and PFOS exposure,
3M continues to discharge PFOA, PFOS, and related chemicals
into the River thirteen miles upstream from the
Authority's water intake source. Id. at 9. As a
result, the Authority “has distributed and continues to
distribute water containing these chemicals to
Plaintiffs.” Id. at 7, 12. Since 2009, the
Authority has consistently found PFOA levels at 0.1 ppb and
PFOS levels at 0.19 ppb in the water it provides to the
Plaintiffs and the proposed class. Id. at 3, 11-12.
Plaintiffs allege personal injuries from their exposure to
unsafe levels of PFOA, PFOS, and related chemicals in their
drinking water, and assert common law claims for negligence,
nuisance, fraudulent concealment, and wantonness against 3M.
Doc. 8 at 12-13, 17-22. 3M has moved to dismiss all claims
against them, doc. 15, and has also moved to stay in light of
West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority, et
al. v. 3M Company, et al., a previously-filed class
action currently pending before this court as No.
5:15-cv-01750-AKK, doc. 9. The court turns now to the
parties' respective contentions, beginning with the
motion to stay.
Motion to Stay
to 3M, the Plaintiffs' claims “are similar to and
subsumed by the class claims in the West Morgan
Action.” Doc. 9 at 1. This contention overlooks that,
unlike this case, the West Morgan Action does not involve any
claims for personal injuries. See West Morgan-East
Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority v. 3M Company, 208
F.Supp.3d 1227, 1233 and 1238 (N.D. Ala. 2016) (finding that
the plaintiffs could not pursue nuisance or negligence claims
based on personal injuries because the claims were not ripe).
In addition, the Authority, which is a defendant in this
case, is a plaintiff in the West Morgan Action. See
doc. 8; Doc. 39 in No. 5:15-cv-01750-AKK. Thus, the claims in
these two lawsuits are not substantially similar to warrant a
stay of this case.
Motion to Dismiss
raises two primary arguments for dismissal: (1) that the
claims against them are time-barred, and (2) that the
Plaintiffs have ...