Jon Campisi Jul. 10, 2013, 7:31am


A product liability case against an herbicide manufacturer has been transferred from the

federal court in New Jersey to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The case of Lynn Benzing vs. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., which was most recently pending in the District of New Jersey, has been moved into the Imprelis Herbicide Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability multidistrict litigation being overseen by U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter in Philadelphia.

The MDL was created in late 2011 when the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred 17 similar civil actions to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings.

Since that time, 112 additional lawsuits have made their way into the MDL, which involves common claims that plaintiffs suffered injuries as a result of using DuPont’s allegedly defective Imprelis herbicide.

Like the other plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation, Benzing claims that the defendant’s product damaged and killed many trees on her property.

Records show that the case was originally filed back on May 21 at the Somerset County Superior Court in New Jersey by attorney Mark G. Legato of The Legato Law Firm, which is based in Somerville, N.J.

About a month later, Morristown, N.J. attorney Michelle Molinaro Burke, of the firm Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, filed a motion to transfer the case from state court to New Jersey’s federal venue.

On July 8, the MDL panel ordered the transfer to Philadelphia, records show.

In her original complaint, a copy of which was attached to the transfer order, Benzing claims that a total of 47 trees at her Branchburg, N.J. property died as a result of having had her property treated with the Imprelis herbicide back in June 2011.

At the time, the plaintiff was attempting to sell the home for $835,000.

The real estate listing noted that the property consisted of 1.88 acres complete with “meticulous landscaping, English gardens, koi pond, resort style pool, hot tub with gazebo, and an outdoor kitchen,” according to the civil action.

These various features, the suit states, significantly contribute to the fair market value of the home.

Benzing soon suffered a hardship, however, when the numerous trees on her property perished due to the Imprelis treatment that she contracted to have done to her lawn.

“Over the course of the summer, and during the peak selling season, the landscape was caused to have a general appearance of gross neglect and mismanagement,” her suit reads. “Many prospective Buyers provided feedback to the listing realtor that the condition of the trees and landscaping left a very negative impression.”

The house stayed on the market for a total of 197 days, the complaint states, and the plaintiff was eventually forced to reduce the asking price from $835,000 to $699,000; she ultimately accepted an offer of $690,000.

Benzing claims she sustained damage including, but not limited to, the loss of use of the undamaged property, diminution in the value of the property, and the carrying costs of the property during the extended period that the residence remained on the market.

 

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-03948-CMR.

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