Senator Kathy Marchione and Assemblymember John McDonald Introduce Bi-Partisan Legislation to Assist Individuals in Hoosick Falls

February 25, 2016

Senate’s Local Government Committee, and Assemblymember John T. McDonald III (108th Assembly District), today announced that they have introduced bi-partisan legislation to aid those who have been injured by chemical contamination linked to superfund sites.

The legislation, Senate Bill S.6824, would allow individuals who have been sickened by exposure to toxic chemicals to bring a personal injury suit within three years of the time an area linked to such contamination is designated as a superfund site. Under current state law, the three year statute of limitations in which to bring such exposure cases may have already run before it is ever known that illnesses may be linked to chemical contamination.

The bi-partisan measure was introduced in response to events in Hoosick Falls, New York, where it has recently come to light that residents’ drinking water was contaminated with a chemical linked to a superfund site. This bill would give those who fell ill before the source of their injuries was known legal recourse when the existing statute of limitations has already run.

“There shouldn’t be a time limit on justice for families that were exposed to contaminated water. This bi-partisan legislation would ensure that families in the Village of Hoosick Falls have more time to file a civil legal claim if they choose to do so. The legislation is a common sense solution to ensure that families in Hoosick Falls, or any community that has a Superfund site declaration, can fully pursue their options available through our civil legal process,” Senator Marchione said.

“From the first day when I was notified of the situation in Hoosick Falls, my one, and only, concern has been to help fix the problem and ensure the safety and well-being of Hoosick Falls families. This bi-partisan legislation is a continuation of those ongoing efforts,” Senator Marchione stated.

“For most of their lives, residents of Hoosick Falls, just like in many other communities, lived their lives doing everyday tasks such as brushing their teeth or drinking a cup of coffee unaware that they were consuming a potentially toxic substance. There is an ongoing investigation into the causal relationship between the intake of what is now considered contaminated water and the declining health of those affected. The intent of this bill is simple – to provide residents that are potentially impacted a path forward to seek relief if they were injured. It is right and just not only for those residents in Hoosick Falls but in other communities where this potential issue or issues such as this could arise again,” said Assemblymember McDonald.

The bill would create a narrowly tailored legal mechanism to address instances where extraordinary circumstances negatively impact public health. What distinguishes the injuries suffered by many residents of Hoosick Falls from other exposure cases is that members of this community had no idea they had even been exposed to any hazardous toxins until years after they had become sick. Individuals in Hoosick Falls or those in any other circumstances which would fall under the scope of this bill should not be denied legal recourse simply because the statute of limitations has run on a claim they never knew that they had.

Please visit Senator Marchione’s website at https://www.nysenate.gov/senators/kathleen-marchione or Assemblymember McDonald’s website at http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/John-T-McDonald-III for more information.