United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
BRENDA J. COOPER, et al. PLAINTIFFS
MERITOR, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court in these consolidated cases is the
“Plaintiffs' Motion to Exclude Testimony and
Opinions [sic] James Peeples.” Doc. #586.
consolidated cases concern the Eastern Heights neighborhood
(“Subdivision”) in Grenada, Mississippi; a
neighboring industrial facility (“Facility”); and
various bordering properties.
Facility property includes three areas of interest: (1) a
former equalization lagoon on its northern border; (2) a
known area of contaminant release referred to as AOC-A; and
(3) another known area of contaminant release referred to as
AOC-B, which is just to the west of AOC-A.
footprint of the Eastern Heights neighborhood may be
described as a rough inverted cone shape, with the angled
“bottom” pointing northwest and the round
“top” pointing southeast. The round part of the
cone is bordered to the southwest by the Facility, to the
south by a triangular-shaped railyard property
(“Railyard”) owned by the Grenada Railway, to the
southeast by a stoneyard (“Stoneyard”) now owned
by Dunham, Inc., and to the east by a railroad which runs
south past the Subdivision and the Facility.
east of the railroad is a large rectangular tract of land
which the parties refer to as the Moose Lodge Road Area
(“MLRA”). Four rectangular parcels of interest
sit on the MLRA's western border, and run from north to
south in the following order: (1) property owned by Kirk
Family Holdings, LLC (“Kirk Property”); (2)
property owned by Packaging Corp of America (“PCA
Property”); (3) property owned by International Paper
(“IP Property”); and (4) an area on the IP
Property known as the former Buffing Compound Disposal Area
(“BCDA”), where Facility employees disposed of
chemicals in the late 1960s. These four areas are bordered to
the east by Moose Lodge Road, which runs north to south
through the MLRA and then turns east at the southern edge of
the BCDA. A Permeable Reactive Barrier Wall
(“PRB”), which was constructed in approximately
2004 to filter out chemicals from the groundwater, sits to
the west between the Facility and Riverdale Creek.
locations described above are roughly demonstrated in Figure
Kirk Property has housed various structures of unknown
purpose and has been used, at least in part, for storage of
drums of unknown substances. The drums were stored in the
southwest portion of the property. The PCA Property was used
primarily as agricultural land but has since been abandoned.
The Railyard has "historically been used for railcar
which is primarily made up of silt and clay. The surficial
soil overlays an upper aquifer, which is comprised primarily
of fine to coarse sand. The upper aquifer is divided in
places into shallow and deep zones by a layer of intermediate
clay, and overlays a layer of shaley clay, which itself
overlays a lower regional aquifer comprised of sand with
trace clay partings. The regional aquifer is the source of
water for the area, including the Subdivision.
March 16, 2016, Brenda Cooper, Sylvia Caffey, Margaret Odems,
Bernice Richardson, Dora Ward, Rosie Brady, Pearl Seldon,
Betty Phillips, Alice Crumley, and Sylvia Cunningham filed a
complaint in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Mississippi against Rockwell
International Corporation and the Randall Division of
Textron, Inc. Doc. #1. On June 30, 2016, United States
Magistrate Judge Jane M. Virden consolidated the case with
four member cases for purposes of discovery and motion
practice. Doc. #41. The day after consolidation, the
plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against Meritor, Inc.,
Rockwell Automation Inc., The Boeing Company, and Textron,
Inc. Doc. #43.
amended complaint, the plaintiffs, residents or former
residents of the Subdivision, seek damages for injuries to
their homes and property caused by the operation of the
Facility. The plaintiffs allege that the Facility was
operated by (1) Rockwell International Corporation, the
predecessor to Rockwell Automation, Inc., which itself is a
predecessor to The Boeing Company, from 1965 until 1985; and
(2) Randall Wheel Trim, a subsidiary of Textron, Inc., from
1985 until the present. The plaintiffs further allege that
the Facility, which was used to manufacture chrome-plated
wheel covers, utilized numerous chemicals, including
hexavalent chromium and trichloroethylene
(“TCE”), and that these chemicals were illegally
placed into the environment, including the air and
groundwater, with the defendants concealing such disposal.
August 18, 2017, Meritor, Boeing, and Rockwell
(“Meritor Defendants”) served their joint expert
designations. Doc. #511-1. Of relevance here, they designated
James Peeples as both a retained and non-retained expert
witness. Id. at 3. In an order issued April 2, 2018,
United States Magistrate Judge Jane M. Virden struck the
former of these designations. Doc. #526.
through his company T&M Associates, Inc., produced two
reports related to the MLRA-a February 2016 “Moose
Lodge Road Area Additional Investigation Report”
(“2016 Report”) and a July 2017 “Kirk and
PCA Properties Investigation Report” (“2017
Report”). The Meritor Defendants have relied on these
reports in support of their summary judgment and related
9, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a motion to exclude certain
opinions and testimony of Peeples. Doc. #586. The Meritor
Defendants responded in opposition on May 23, 2018. Doc.
The plaintiffs replied one week later. Doc. #716.