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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Emerging Toxic Torts Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Emerging Toxic Torts Legal News

Headline Emerging Toxic Torts Legal News from LexisNexis®


Judge Appoints Administrator, Special Master For DuPont C8 Injury Settlement Plan
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on April 12 issued an order appointing a claims administrator and a special master to oversee the master settlement agreement to resolve the multidistrict litigation against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).

2 Glyphosate Cancer Cases Against Monsanto Sent To California MDL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on April 13 transferred two more lawsuits filed against Monsanto Co. regarding cancer allegedly caused by exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company's herbicide Roundup, to the multidistrict litigation in California (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).

Pilots Who Sprayed Glyphosate In Ecuador Were Not Its Employees, Contractor Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A private military contractor on April 9 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court contending that it is not liable for the conduct of pilots that sprayed herbicides in Ecuador and allegedly caused injuries to Ecuadorian residents because the pilots were not employed by the contractor (Venancio Aguasanta Arias, et al. v. DynCorp, No. 01-01908, and Nestor Ermogenes Arroyo Quinteros, et al. v. DynCorp, No. 07-01042, D. D.C. [consolidated]).

Groups: Monsanto Knowingly Misrepresents Danger Of Glyphosate In Roundup
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two consumer advocacy groups on April 7 filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Superior Court against Monsanto Co., alleging that the company is liable for knowingly engaging in "deceptive labeling, marketing, and sale of retail Roundup 'Garden Weeds' Weed & Grass Killer products" because glyphosate - the active ingredient in Roundup - targets an enzyme that is found in people and pets (Beyond Pesticides, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. N/A, D.C. Super.).

Family Files Product Defect Suit Against Lowe's, Maker Of Roundup
SPOKANE, Wash. - A family in Washington on March 21 filed suit in the Spokane County Superior Court against a store that sold a garden chemical sprayer, the maker of the sprayer and the maker of the chemical, claiming that they failed to warn about their defective products, which led to a woman getting ill from being exposed to the toxins in the garden spray (Tracy E. Mesecher, et al. v. Lowes Companies Inc., et al., No. 17201073-6, Wash. Super. Spokane Co.).

Judge: Experts Not Permitted To Testify In Benzene Exposure Lawsuit
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on March 31 ruled that the testimony of experts on which a woman was going to rely in her lawsuit against oil and gas companies for injuries she allegedly suffered from exposure to airborne benzene did not meet the standard requirements for reliability of testimony (Samantha Hall v. ConocoPhillips, et al., No. 14-0670, W.D. Okla; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56458).

Company: Groups Lack Evidence For Alleged Injuries From Tainted Groundwater
TRENTON, N.J. - NL Industries Inc. filed a brief in New Jersey federal court on April 7, contending that environmental advocacy groups that contend that the company is liable for groundwater contamination lack evidence capable of showing that any alleged injuries are "fairly traceable" to any action by the company (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).

San Diego: PCB Claims Against Monsanto Valid; Property Interests At Issue
SAN DIEGO - The city of San Diego and its port district on April 7 filed a brief in California federal court contending that their second amended complaint against Monsanto Co. regarding alleged contamination of the city's water system with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) should not be dismissed because the city has multiple property interests that are affected by the company's PCBs (San Diego Unified Port District, et al v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-578, S.D. Calif.).

Judge Remands PCB Case Against Monsanto, Says Removal Was Improper
ST. LOUIS - A federal magistrate judge in Missouri on April 10 remanded a lawsuit brought by residents who contend that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) manufactured by Monsanto Co. are liable for their development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) on grounds that it was improperly removed to federal court (Kent N. Burford v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 16-536, E.D. Mo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54293).

Town's PCB Claim Against Monsanto Fails, Judge Says; Expert Exclusions 'Moot'
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on April 7 granted a motion for summary judgment dismissal of claims for breach of warranty brought by a town against Monsanto and its affiliates related to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a school building on grounds that the town failed to show that an alternate design was feasible. As a result of that dismissal, the judge ruled that motions to exclude expert witness testimony were "moot" (Town of Westport v. Monsanto Company, No. 14-12041, D. Mass.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53815).

Judge Dismisses Coal Ash Case To Allow Plaintiffs To File It In State Court
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on April 12 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a class of residents who contended that they were exposed to hazardous chemicals from a coal-fired power plant so that the plaintiffs could file the claims in Kentucky state court. The judge declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims (Kathy Little, et al. v. Louisville Gas & Electric Company, No. 13-1214, W.D. Ky.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56467).

Panel: Man Fails To Offer Sufficient Evidence In Lead Paint Injury Lawsuit
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland appellate panel on April 5 affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit against a landlord on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently demonstrate that the defendant was liable for his injuries (Davon Usher v. Riggs Realty, et al., No. 1376, Sept. Term 2014; 2017 Md. Spec. App. LEXIS 355).

Tenant Entitled To Damages For Renting Home With Lead Hazards, Panel Says
CANTON, Ohio - An appeals panel in Ohio on March 31 ruled that a tenant who rented a premises that had been deemed uninhabitable due to lead hazards was entitled to damages from the landlord (Ohio Specialized Investments Ltd. v. Briona Campbell, No. 2016CA176, Ohio App., 5th App. Dist., Stark Co.; 2017 Ohio App. LEXIS 1246).

Panel Remands Lead-Paint Case To Amend Judgment Awarded To Landlord
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York appeals court on April 5 remanded a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit and directed the trial court to amend the judgment on grounds that the judgment was not in the proper form pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) (Rhonda John v. Rikud Realty Inc., No. 2015-11194, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept.; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2571).

U.S. High Court Must Intervene In $18.5B Fraud Ruling, Residents, Attorney Say
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney who challenge a fraud ruling with regard to an $18.5 billion judgment they previously won against Chevron Corp. filed a petition for writ of certiorari March 27 in the U.S. Supreme Court contending that "the Second Circuit's unprecedented authorization of a preemptive collateral attack on a foreign country's money judgment warrants" the high court's intervention (Steven Donziger, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16A686, and Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16A714, U.S. Sup.).

Judge Remands Flint Water Crisis Case, Says Federal Jurisdiction Not Shown
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on March 31 remanded to state court a lawsuit brought against officials of the state of Michigan pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., ruling that the defendants failed to meet the requirements necessary to remove the matter to federal court (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48768).

Michigan Will Spend $87M To Replace Water Lines In Flint, Mich., Settlement Deal
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on March 28 issued an order approving a settlement between residents of the city of Flint, Mich. and the state of Michigan, its officials and the city of Flint that calls for - among other things - an allocation of $87 million to fund continued water service-line replacements to address the city's lead-contaminated water crisis (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).

Michigan Employees: Motion To Compel Flint Water Crisis Discovery 'Misguided'
DETROIT - Employees of Michigan who are being sued for liability connected to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on March 22 filed a brief in which they contend that the federal judge hearing the case should deny the plaintiffs' motion to compel discovery on grounds it is "a misguided attempt to compel" one of the defendants' experts to create documents for the plaintiffs which do not presently exist (Lawrence Washington, Jr., et al. v. Governor Richard Dale Snyder, et al., No. 16- 11247, E.D. Mich.)

Monsanto Denies That Exposure To Glyphosate Causes Cancer
ST. LOUIS - Monsanto Co. on March 28 filed an answer in Missouri federal court denying that any exposure to its herbicide Roundup, with its active ingredient glyphosate, can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) or other cancers, as alleged by numerous individuals who have used Roundup (Steve Salvaggio, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 17-1113, E.D. Mo.).

Judge Vacates $4.24M Verdict In Groundwater Lawsuit Against Fracking Company
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on March 31 vacated a $4.24 million verdict handed down in favor of a group of residents against a hydraulic fracturing company they had accused of contaminating their groundwater. The judge ordered that a new trial be held if the parties are unable to reach a mutual settlement on the remaining claims in the lawsuit (Nolen Scott Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, No. 09-2284, M.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49075).

2nd Circuit Will Consider Groundwater Contamination
NEW YORK - A federal judge in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 1 issued an order staying proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York pending the Second Circuit's determination regarding a petition for leave to appeal the partial dismissal of some groundwater contamination claims brought by a class of New York residents against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. (Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al. v.Michelle Baker, et al., No. 17-493, 2nd Cir.).

Halliburton: Residents In Drinking Water Case Not Complying With Discovery
OKLAHOMA CITY - Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) on March 16 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that residents who have sued the company alleging that it is liable for contaminating their drinking water are not complying with the company's discovery requests (Mitchell L. McCormick, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1272 and Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).

4th Circuit Finds CERCLA Does Not Preempt Virginia's Statutes Of Limitations
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 9 that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act does not preempt Virginia's statutes of limitation on property owners' claims for unjust enrichment, trespass, nuisance and injunctive relief because the plaintiffs could not state claims for cost recovery or contribution under CERCLA (Neal Blankenship, et al. v. Consolidation Coal Company, et al., No. 15-2480, Ira Gordon Ratliff, et al. v. Consolidation Coal Company, et al., No. 15-2482, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4168).

5th Circuit: Evidence Lacking In Chemical Injury Case Against Iraq War Contractor
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 27 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of a chemical injury lawsuit against Iraq War contractors, concluding that the plaintiffs failed to present epidemiological evidence that meets the reliability threshold for evidence (Mark McManaway, et al. v. KBR Inc., et al. and Rocky Bixby, et al. v. KBR Inc., et al., No. 15-20641, 5th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5341).

Judge: Plaintiff Sufficiently Stated Dairy Discharged Hazardous Substances
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on March 24 denied a dairy's motion for judgment on the pleadings after finding that a plaintiff corporation sufficiently alleged that the dairy discharged hazardous substances that are covered by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Citizens Development Corporation v. County of San Diego, et al., No. 12cv0334, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43785).

Firms Petition Supreme Court, Say Class Action Ruling In Flint Water Case 'Wrong'
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of engineering firms that were sued by residents who contended that they shared liability for the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on March 9 filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision that a plaintiff may obtain remand under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) without evidence of class members' citizenship "creates a circuit split and is wrong" (Lockwood Andrews & Newnam P.C. v. Jennifer Mason, No. 16-1092, U.S. Sup.).

Deposition Of Former EPA Official Proper In Glyphosate Injury Case, Plaintiffs Say
SAN FRANCISCO - The Plaintiffs' Executive Committee (PEC) in the multidistrict litigation for those alleging injuries from the herbicide Roundup on March 14 filed an unredacted brief in California federal court arguing that it should be allowed to depose a former employee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because there is evidence that he tried to "kill" the "glyphosate/lymphoma issue" for Monsanto Co., which manufactures Roundup (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).

Judge Denies Monsanto's Motion To Seal Documents Regarding Dangers Of Glyphosate
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on March 13 issued an order denying Monsanto Co.'s motion to seal documents that it submitted in connection with a motion to compel the testimony of a former official at a federal environmental agency pertaining to the harmful effects of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).

Woman: Monsanto's 'Fraud' Caused Her To Develop Cancer From Exposure To Glyphosate
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri woman on March 17 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in Missouri federal court, alleging that the company committed scientific fraud and is liable for her development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), which was the result of exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup (Linda Crane v. Monsanto Co., No. 17-982, E.D. Mo.).

41 Persons File Consolidated Case Against Monsanto For Glyphosate Injuries
OAKLAND, Calif. - A group of individual plaintiffs filed a consolidated lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in California state court on March 17 seeking damages against the company for alleged fraud, negligence, strict liability and other violations the plaintiffs contend caused them to develop cancer as a result of their exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup (Loretta I. Pennie, et al. v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. RG17853420, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

Glyphosate Case Dismissed To Refile For Transfer To Roundup MDL
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on March 14 dismissed without prejudice a wrongful death lawsuit brought against Monsanto Co. for the case to be refiled and transferred to the multidistrict litigation that pertains to injuries allegedly caused by exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup (Karen Wooten, et al. v. Monsanto Co., No. 16-6706, N.D. Calif.).

Rhode Island Voluntarily Dismisses MTBE Lawsuit
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The state of Rhode Island on March 13 voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit pending in Rhode Island federal court against a chemical company for allegedly contaminating the state's drinking water supply with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (State of Rhode Island v. Alon Refining Krotz Springs, No. 16-495, D. R.I.).

Some Flint Water Defendants: Local Controversy Exception Applies To Class Action
DETROIT - Some of the defendants sued by residents of Flint, Mich., in connection with the lead-contaminated drinking water in that city filed a brief in Michigan federal court on March 21, arguing that the lawsuit meets the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) and, therefore, the court should deny a motion filed by another group of defendants asking it to alter its judgment with regard to exercising its jurisdiction over state law claims (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).

EPA Approves $100M For Flint, Mich., Water Upgrades
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced March 17 that it has awarded a $100 million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint, Mich.

Company: Discovery Sought In Lithium Battery Injury Case 'Unduly Burdensome'
OKLAHOMA CITY - One of the defendants sued in connection with injuries suffered by two workers when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation on March 17 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that its delay in responding to discovery requests is not a refusal to comply, but rather is due to the fact that the request is "overly broad and unduly burdensome" (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al., and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).

Utility Tainted Drinking Water But Plaintiff Seeks 'Draconian' Penalty, Judge Says
RICHMOND, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia on March 23 ruled that an electric utility company violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by dumping arsenic into the groundwater but said that the remedy sought by an environmental group was "draconian." The judge also refused to find that the utility had violated its state-issued permits and prescribed "more extensive monitoring" of the site where the contamination occurred (Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric and Power Company, d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power, No. 15-112, E.D. Va.).

2 Men Sue Utility Company Alleging Drinking Water Contains Arsenic, Uranium
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Two California men filed boilerplate lawsuits on March 14 against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PGEC) in California federal court, contending that the company is liable for contaminating their drinking water with arsenic and uranium (John C. Richards v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 17-471, C.D. Calif.).

Texas MDL Panel: Drinking Water Contamination Cases Should Be Consolidated
AUSTIN, Texas - The Multidistrict Litigation Panel of Texas on March 10 ruled that 10 separate lawsuits that allege drinking water contamination against a group of refining company defendants should be transferred to a single court for pretrial proceedings (In re: Corpus Christi Tap Water Litigation, MDL No. 17-69, Texas MDL Panel; 2017 Tex. LEXIS 291).

Judge Dismisses Claims Against State Agencies Related To Tainted Drinking Water
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - A federal judge in Iowa on March 17 dismissed a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by a local agency that supplies drinking water, concluding that its claims against local government agencies regarding liability for the costs of complying with clean water laws "have no merit" (Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa v. SAC County Board of Supervisors as Trustees of Drainage Districts 32, 42, 65, 79, 81, 83, 86, et al., 15-4020, N.D. Iowa; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39025).

Judge Vacates, Remands Agent Orange Benefits Case To Consider Medical Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on March 9 vacated and remanded a case involving a veteran's claims for benefits due to exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam, concluding that the Board of Veterans Appeals erred when it failed to return a medical examination report that needed clarification (Freddie Bell Jr. v. David J. Shulkin, No. 15-3376, Vet. Clms.; 2017 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 340).

Panel: Lead-Poisoning Case Against Kennedy Krieger Researchers Properly Dismissed
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland appeals panel on March 22 affirmed a trial court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit against the Kennedy Krieger Institute Inc. (KKI) brought by the estate of a deceased man who contended that he had suffered from lead-paint poisoning as a result of participating in a lead abatement study KKI ran in the 1990s (Kimberly Smith, personal representative of the Estate of Cecil Harris III v. Kennedy Krieger Institute Inc., No. 2241, Sept. Term, 2014; 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 305).

Housing Authority's Argument In Lead Paint Case 'Not Sufficient,' Panel Says
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on March 21 affirmed a trial court's decision that denied summary judgment dismissal to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in a lead-based paint poisoning lawsuit, concluding that the housing authority's argument is "not sufficient to conclusively prove that no lead paint was used" (Dakota Jade T., and infant, by her mother and natural guardian Tiesha J. v. New York City Housing Authority, No. 3144, 350150/11, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1949).

Maryland Federal Judge Says Temporary Restraining Order Is Not Warranted
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on March 22 denied an underlying plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order seeking to ban an insurer and its insured from reaching a settlement for an underlying judgment awarded for personal injuries in a lead paint exposure suit (CX Reinsurance Co. Ltd., v. Benjamin L. Kirson, et al., No. 15-3132, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41230).

Lack Of Causation Evidence Fatal To Man's Suit Against BP, Judge Rules
NEW ORLEANS - BP Exploration and Production Inc. and BP America Production Co. (collectively, BP) were awarded summary judgment by a federal judge in Louisiana on March 20 after she found that a man was unable to produce evidence that his exposure to dispersants during cleanup activities following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused him to develop lung cancer (Pero Cibilic, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 15-995, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40056).