In a 3-0 decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal has reversed a $36 million trial award to members of an environmental class action. Thousands of Port Colborne, Ontario’s residents had sued Inco for property devaluation caused by soil contamination arising from 66 years of nickel refining emissions.
Smith v. Inco Ltd. (formerly Pearson v. Inco Ltd.) is notable as one of the first environmental class actions to go to a full trial on the common issues. The Ontario Court of Appeal decision makes it much more difficult to pursue claims of private nuisance and Rylands v. Fletcher strict liability and also clarifies the application of limitation periods for class actions.
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