State Appeals Court Rejects Medical Monitoring


The Wisconsin court of appeals last week affirmed the dismissal of a plaintiff's medical monitoring complaint for failure to state a claim. Alsteen v. Wauleco Inc., No. 2010AP1643 (Wis. Ct. App., 6/14/11).

Plaintiff alleged that, while living in a nearby neighborhood, she was exposed to carcinogenic chemicals that defendant Wauleco allegedly released from the Crestline window factory. Alsteen did not allege that she suffered any present health problems due to this exposure; however, she contended she was at an increased risk of developing cancer in the future. She therefore sought damages for future medical monitoring expenses.

From approximately 1946 to 1986, operations at the Crestline site included treatment of wood products with a preservative called “Penta.” Plaintiff alleged that Penta contains hazardous chemicals, including dioxins, pentachlorophenol, and benzene. These chemicals, plaintiff asserted, are harmful to human health and some are classified as possible carcinogens. As a result, the air, soil, surface water, and groundwater in her River Street neighborhood allegedly became contaminated with dangerous levels of these hazardous chemicals. Current and former residents of the neighborhood had ingested, inhaled, and absorbed these chemicals, the complaint averred.

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