Carter v. Monsanto Co

In Carter v. Monsanto Co., 212 W.Va. 732, 575 S.E.2d 342 (2002), a landowner, Robert Carter, on behalf of himself and a class of similarly situated plaintiffs, brought a civil action against Monsanto and the owners of two landfills asking that the defendants pay to determine if, and how much, of the contaminant dioxin was present on their property. The plaintiffs sought to shift the costs of testing for the contaminant to the defendants claiming that the testing was prohibitively expensive. Monsanto and the landfill owners countered by arguing that the plaintiffs were "seeking expense money to conduct testing to determine if their property had been damaged by exposure to dioxin; in essence, the plaintiffs were asking that the burden of the expense of gathering evidence, testing and sampling, be shifted to Monsanto and the landfill owners." Id., 212 W.Va. at 736, 575 S.E.2d at 346. In Monsanto, the Court agreed with the defendants that the burden was the plaintiffs to "first prove at their expense that their property had in fact been injured." Id.