Kirkland's team of Garrett B. Johnson, Helen E. Witt, Thomas E. Dutton, Allen Woolley and Terrence J. Dee of the Chicago office, and Susan M. O'Sullivan McGuire of the Washington, D.C., office successfully defended Motorola Inc. in the environmental contamination class action case, Baker v. Motorola Inc., No. CV92-02603 (Super. Ct., Maricopa Co., Ariz.). In 1992, property owners near Motorola's Scottsdale, Arizona plant filed a class action suit stating that Motorola's disposal of TCE had contaminated the groundwater and diminished property value. The degreasing agent TCE was used to clean electronics parts and a Phoenix jury decided that the company was not negligent in its use of disposal of the TCE.
"Motorola had begun phasing out TCEs in the 1970s because of air-pollution concerns" and in early 1975, after some reports on animal testing indicated TCE could be a carcinogen, "Motorola completely phased it out," said defense counsel Garrett B. Johnson. "The fact is, there hasn't been any property value diminution."
This article appeared in its entirety in the June 11, 2001 edition of The National Law Journal.