Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Keech v. Sanimax USA, LLC

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 2, 2019

PATRICIA KEECH and DAVID NEWFIELD, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
SANIMAX USA, LLC, Defendant.

          Laura L. Sheets, LIDDLE & DUBIN, P.C., and Jeffrey S. Storms, NEWMARK STORMS DWORAK LLC, for plaintiffs.

          Andrew W. Davis, STINSON LEONARD STREET LLP, and Matthew J. Salzman, STINSON LEONARD STREET LLP, for defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE CLASS ALLEGATIONS

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Patricia Keech and David Newfield bring this purported class action against Sanimax USA, LLC (“Sanimax”), a rendering and waste oil processing facility located in the City of South St. Paul (the “Facility”). (Compl. ¶¶ 2-5, Mar. 12, 2018, Docket No. 1.) The Facility purifies agri-food industry by-products and turns them into animal feed, pet food, soap, and industrial chemicals. (Id. ¶ 7.)

         Plaintiffs allege that their properties have been, and continue to be, physically invaded by noxious odors originating from the Facility. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.) They allege that Sanimax is liable in both nuisance and negligence for interfering with their use and enjoyment of their property as well as for decreased property values. (Id. ¶¶ 25, 30, 39, 41.) They allege that the Facility has a “well documented history of failing to control its odorous emissions.” (Id.¶ 10.) People living nearby have filed complaints with the City of South St. Paul, and in February 2015 the City designated the Facility a “Significant Odor Generator.” (Id.) Plaintiffs allege that approximately 80 households have contacted their counsel regarding odors they attribute to the Facility. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiffs also allege that Sanimax has “failed to install and maintain adequate technology to properly control its emissions of noxious odors, ” including the Facility's ozone generation system, odor abatement equipment, and raw material intake and storage systems. (Id. ¶ 12.)

         Plaintiffs propose a class defined as “[a]ny and all individuals who owned or occupied residential property at any time beginning in 2015 to present that are located within the area outlined in the map attached hereto as Exhibit 1.” (Id. ¶ 14.) The map shows the location of the Facility surrounded by three concentric circles that delineate three radii around the facility: 1-mile, 1.5-miles, and 2-miles. (Compl. ¶ 14, Ex. 1.) Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief beyond that which is already required by Sanimax's Federal- and State-issued Air Permits. (Compl. at 9-10.)

         Presently before the Court is Sanimax's Motion to Strike Class Allegations. (Mot. to Strike Pleadings, May 18, 2018, Docket No. 20.) Sanimax seeks to strike the class allegations set forth in the Complaint and seeks to amend the caption to eliminate “all others similarly situated.” (Id.) Because the Court finds that it is too early to determine whether Plaintiffs' claims could be proven on a class-wide basis, the Court will deny Sanimax's motion.

         DISCUSSION

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Motion to Strike Class Allegations

          Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) allows the court to “strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” The court may act on its own or on motion by the party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f)(1)-(2). But “[m]otions to strike under Rule 12(f) are viewed with disfavor and are infrequently granted.” Lunsford v. United States, 570 F.2d 221, 229 (8th Cir. 1977).

         Rule 23(d)(1)(D) provides that a court may issue an order that “require[s] that the pleadings be amended to eliminate allegations about representation of absent persons and that the action proceed accordingly.” “Where a plaintiffs class allegations are insufficient to satisfy the requirements for certification, the Court has authority to strike those allegations” under this rule. In re St. Jude Med. Inc. Silzone Heart Valves Prod. Liab. Litig. (“In re St. Jude”), No. MDL. 01-1396 (JRT/FLN), 2009 WL 1789376, at *2 (D. Minn. June 23, 2009).

         Rule 23(c)(1)(A) provides that a court should determine whether to certify an action as a class action “[a]t an early practicable time after a person sues or is sued as a class representative.” The advisory committee notes on this rule indicate that its intention is to “determine as early in the proceedings as may be practicable” whether a class action can be maintained. Rule 23 gives the district court “broad discretion to determine the maintainability and the conduct of class actions.” In re St. Jude, 2009 WL 1789376, at *2 (quoting Vervaecke v. Chiles, Heider & Co., Inc., 578 F.2d 713, 719 (8th Cir. 1978)).

         B. Class Action Requirements

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a), an action may be brought by ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.