Rouen Metropolis v. PTS Dufour Company

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Final judgment
France, Rouen

Local authorities
Rouen Metropolis (Métropole de Rouen)
Frédéric Caulier (Rouen), Français Lafforgue et De Castro (Générations Futures)

Criminal court
Neonicotinoid, Thiamethoxam, Fungicide, Fludioxonil, Metalaxyl, Cruiser Osr
Condemn PTS Dufour for thiamethoxam pollution of the Seine River
Judicial Court of Rouen, France
First instance

November 21, 2023
The Court sentenced the PTS company to a fine of 1,000 euros for a contravention and 50,000 euros for a tort.
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On November 21, 2023, the Court of Rouen condemned the Normandy transport company PTS Dufour for polluting the Seine with a pesticide.

On May 21, 2021, at the company's site on the banks of the Seine, an incident occurred during the loading of "Cruiser Osr", a phytosanitary product composed of thiamethoxam, metalaxyl-M and fludioxonil, banned in France but authorized for transport. When the driver was loading, the container was punctured by a forklift and the product spilled into the company's parking lot.

The company manager called in a professional cleaning company, but did not notify the fire department or local authorities. Due to heavy rainfall, the clean-up operation was unable to prevent the product from spilling into the Seine.A blue discoloration over an area of 500 m² was spotted in the Bassin Saint Gervais by a fisherman who alerted the fire department.

The Metropolis of Rouen then filed a complaint against X as a civil party.

On November 21, 2023, the Court of First Instance sentenced PTS to a fine of 1,000 euros for a contravention and 50,000 euros for a delict. PTS Dufour will also have to pay civil parties FNE Normandie, le Chêne and Générations futures the sum of 5,000 euros each. For the civil parties, this is an unprecedented decision, which changes the jurisprudence on these forms of pollution.

The company has announced that it will appeal the decision, believing that the sums requested were too high. As a reminder, according to article L.216-6 of the French Environment Code, "The act of throwing, dumping or allowing to flow into water [...] directly or indirectly, any substance or substances whose action or reactions cause, even temporarily, harmful effects on health or damage to flora or fauna, [...], is punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros".