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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Emerging Toxic Torts Legal News
Headline Emerging Toxic Torts Legal News from LexisNexis®
Jury Awards $10.5M In Punitive Damages To Man Injured By C8 From DuPont Plant
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Jan. 5 awarded a man $10.5 million in punitive damages plus attorney fees against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for cancer he said he had developed as a result of 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).
Judge In DuPont C8 Case Rules Cancer Phobia Damages Valid; Some Experts Excluded
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Jan. 10 issued a group of orders pertaining to punitive damages, damages related to cancer phobia and the admissibility of expert testimonies (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
Monsanto Misrepresented Safety Of Roundup, Man Says; Exposure Resulted In Cancer
DENVER - A Colorado man on Jan. 6 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in the U.S. District Court of the District of Colorado, alleging that he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) from exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, and that the company knowingly misrepresented that the product was safe (John Holm v. Monsanto Co., No. 17-56, D. Colo.).
Monsanto Co. Denies Exposure To Roundup Could Have Caused Man's 'Alleged' Cancer
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on Jan. 6 filed an answer in one of the cases that is part of the multidistrict litigation pending in California federal court related to injuries allegedly caused by Roundup, denying that exposure to the herbicide "did or could have caused" the plaintiff's "alleged" non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
3 Glyphosate Injury Cases Transferred To Roundup Products Liability MDL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Jan. 6 transferred three more glyphosate-injury lawsuits to the Roundup products litigation MDL pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (In Re: Roundup Production Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, JPMDL).
Defendants In Flint Water Crisis Case Say Injunction Should Be Dissolved
DETROIT - State officials on Jan. 6 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan contending that it should dissolve a preliminary injunction that ordered the officials to provide door-to-door delivery of bottled water to the residents of Flint, Mich., arguing that there is no legal basis for the District Court to exercise jurisdiction over the defendants (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).
Employees: Venue For Flint Water Case Should Be Changed On Constitutional Grounds
DETROIT - Employees with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Dec. 30 filed a brief in Michigan federal court, contending that the plaintiffs who sued them for injuries connected to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., "fail to recognize that the MDEQ Defendants rely primarily on constitutional grounds in support of their request to change venue" and that those rights "trump statutory law" (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
Company: Residents Should Return Privileged Documents In Tainted Groundwater Case
GREENVILLE, Miss. - The company sued by a group of residents seeking damages for personal injuries and groundwater contamination caused by hexavalent chromium and trichloroethylene (TCE) on Dec. 23 filed a brief in Mississippi federal court contending that the plaintiffs should return privileged documents that were obtained through a bankruptcy asset sale because the company did not forfeit its privileges to them (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).
Judge: Testimonies Relevant To Groundwater Claim; Motion To Exclude Denied
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A federal judge in Mississippi on Jan. 3 denied a motion to exclude two experts for Hercules Inc. in a groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that their respective testimonies were relevant to the issue of health risks posed by the alleged contamination (Lee Hollingsworth, et al. v. Hercules Inc., No. 15-113, S.D. Miss.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 299).
Groundwater Contamination Cost Recovery Suit Not Time-Barred, Judge Says
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on Jan. 6 denied a motion for summary judgment in a cost recovery lawsuit for groundwater contamination allegedly caused by a landfill, ruling that the case was not barred by a statute of limitations (Charter Township of Lansing, et al. v. Lansing Board of Water and Light, No. 14-514, W.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2280).
Chevron: Decision By 9th Circuit Supports Its Claim That Class Status Not Proper
SAN FRANCISCO - Chevron Corp. on Jan. 10 filed a brief in California federal court contending that a recent decision handed down by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals supports its contention that a proposed class representing Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion should not be granted class status because the plaintiffs do not meet the criteria for certification (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
Lead-Poisoning Case Arises From 'Misinterpretation' Of Water Tests, School Says
TRENTON, N.J. - The State-Operated School District of the City of Newark, N.J., on Dec. 27 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court arguing that the lead-poisoning lawsuit brought against it by a group of residents should be dismissed because the claims "arise out of their misinterpretation of test results" related to water sources in the school district that tested positive for lead (Veronica Branch, et al v. Chris Christie, et al., No. 16-2467, D. N.J.).
EPA Proposes Ban On Trichloroethylene, Cites 'Unreasonable Risks' To Health
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 11 advertised in the Federal Register a proposed rule to prohibit the manufacture, import, processing and distribution of trichloroethylene (TCE), a volatile organic compound used in industrial and commercial processes, due to "unreasonable risks" to health.
Attorney General Charges 4 Employees With Felonies For Flint, Mich., Water Crisis
LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Dec. 20 charged four people with felonies in connection with the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., saying all four were liable for conspiracy to commit false pretenses and two were guilty of committing misconduct and willful neglect of duty in office.
Flint Committee: $279.8M Ought To Be Used For Water Upgrades, Not Climate Change
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform on Dec. 16 concluded its investigation into the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., and recommended that the House Committee on Appropriations reconsider allocating more than $279.8 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for work on climate change so that money could be used to upgrade the nation's drinking water systems to protect people from lead.
Flint, Mich., Residents: Agency Director Admitted Violations In Lead Water Crisis
DETROIT - Michigan residents who have sued Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials for the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., filed a brief on Dec. 21, arguing that the former director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) "cannot seek refuge behind a shield of immunity" (Luke Waid, et al. v. Gov. Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
Glyphosate Injury Case Related To Monsanto's Roundup Moved To MDL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Dec. 21 transferred another glyphosate injury lawsuit to the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, adding another case in which the plaintiff alleges that his exposure to the Roundup herbicide caused him to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).
Professor, University: Health Agencies Ordered Them To Withhold Documents
SAN FRANCISCO - A professor and the university where she teaches filed a brief in California federal court on Dec. 6, contending that two international health agencies instructed them to withhold documents that were the subject of a subpoena filed by Monsanto Co. in litigation brought by a man who contends that he has been injured by exposure to the herbicide Roundup, which the company manufactures (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
Ohio Man Sues Monsanto, Says His Cancer Was Caused By Exposure To Roundup
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio man on Nov. 18 sued Monsanto Co. in Ohio federal court contending that the company fraudulently concealed the dangers of its herbicide Roundup, which contains glyphosate, and that he developed cancer as a result (Craig R. Butsch v. Monsanto Co., No. 16-1112, S.D. Ohio).
Jury Awards $2M To Man Who Sued DuPont For Cancer Related To C8 Exposure
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A jury in Ohio on Dec. 21 awarded $2 million to a man who had sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. seeking damages for cancer he said he had developed as a result of 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).
Oil Companies: Rhode Island's MTBE Lawsuit Fails To 'Allege Causation Required'
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A group of oil refining and gasoline companies on Dec. 15 filed a joint brief in Rhode Island federal court contending that the state's lawsuit alleging that the companies are liable for contaminating the state's groundwater with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) should be dismissed because the state "insufficiently alleges" standing and "fails to allege the causation required" for its claims (State of Rhode Island v. Alon Refining Krotz Springs, No. 16-495, D. R.I.).
Judge: Vermont's Standard For Drinking Water Not 'Essential' To Contamination Case
RUTLAND, Vt. - A federal judge in Vermont on Dec. 28 denied a motion to dismiss a groundwater contamination lawsuit against a plastics manufacturer, ruling that a dispute over the state's groundwater contamination standards was not "essential" to the case (James D. Sullivan, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, No. 16-125, D. Vt.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180405).
Judge Refuses To Reconsider Dismissal Of New Jersey Agency In Groundwater Case
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Dec. 20 refused to reconsider his previous ruling that dismissed the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) from a lawsuit brought by environmental groups who had contended that the authority and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) were liable for discharging chemicals into the groundwater (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).
Judge Rules Sanctions In Groundwater Contamination Case Not Warranted
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on Dec. 22 denied a couple's motion for sanctions against a company for allegedly making false statements and denying the existence of evidence as part of a groundwater contamination lawsuit, concluding that "the motion is not well-taken" (Amos Hostetler, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., No. 15-226, N.D. Ind.).
Chevron: Photos Should Not Be Admitted Into Evidence In Oil Rig Explosion Case
SAN FRANCISCO - Chevron Corp., which is being sued by Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion, on Dec. 20 filed a brief in California federal court, arguing that the plaintiffs' motion to add photographs into evidence and file them under seal should be denied because they have not shown good cause to supplement the record (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
Company: Plaintiffs Lack Standing To Bring Case For Lead Poisoning
ST. LOUIS - The Doe Run Resources Corp. on Dec. 21 filed an answer in Missouri federal court, arguing that a group of residents who contend that the company is liable for personal injuries and groundwater contamination from lead at a mining facility in Peru lack standing to bring their claim (Chris Collins, et al. v. Doe Run Resources Corporation, No. 16-2049, E.D. Mo.).
Split Panel: State Must Give Bottled Water To Flint, Mich., Homes Without Filters
DETROIT - A divided panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 affirmed a lower court's ruling that the State of Michigan must provide bottled water to all homes in Flint without a properly functioning water filter, denying the appeal of the defendants, who contended that the relief ordered by the court was "overly broad" (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick Khouri, et al., No. 16-2628, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22386).
Some Defendants: Reassignment Of Flint, Mich., Water Crisis Case Proper
DETROIT - A group of defendants in the lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., pertaining to the city's lead-contaminated drinking water crisis on Dec. 7 filed a brief, arguing that they have moved properly for reassignment of a companion case under the local rules for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 15-14002, E.D. Mich.).
Residents: Company Liable For Corrosion Of Flint, Mich., Pipes, Lead-Tainted Water
DETROIT - The Michigan residents who sued the state of Michigan, some of its employees and a group of private companies in relation to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Dec. 13 filed a brief contending that their claim against one company in particular is valid because that company made a recommendation that the city double the ferric chloride in its water, which exacerbated the corrosion in the pipes delivering water to residents' homes (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
Michigan Employees: Evidence Of Jury Bias 'Uncontested'; Change Of Venue Needed
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Dec. 9 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that they have provided "proper and uncontested evidence of jury bias" such that they cannot obtain a fair trial without a change of venue (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).
Man Sues Monsanto, Says His Cancer Was Caused By Exposure To Roundup
ST. LOUIS - A man who has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) filed a lawsuit in Missouri federal court on Dec. 15, alleging that Monsanto Co. is liable for his injuries as the manufacturer of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, which he claims is "defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce, and lacked proper warnings and directions as to the dangers associated with its use" (Michael Dowling v. Monsanto Company, No. 16-1935, E.D. Mo.).
Monsanto: PCB Lawsuits By 3 Cities Fails Due To 'Irreconcilable Gap'
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. and its affiliates on Dec. 12 filed a brief in California federal court, arguing that three lawsuits filed by three cities that allege damages caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in drinking water should be dismissed because there is an "irreconcilable gap" between the area where the alleged damage exists and the "damaged" city-owned storm water systems that are at the center of the lawsuit (City of San Jose v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15-03178; City of Oakland v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15-05152; and City of Berkeley v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 16-00071, N.D. Calif.).
State Of Washington Sues Monsanto For PCB Contamination
SEATTLE - The state of Washington on Dec. 8 filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that Monsanto Co. and its affiliates are liable for contamination of groundwater and soil with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and contending that the company knew about the harm posed by PCBs but misrepresented the threat (State of Washington v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. N/A, Wash. Super., King Co.).
DuPont: Alternate C8 Injury Trial Structure Would Be 'Unfairly Prejudicial'
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Dec. 12 filed a brief in the perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) injury multidistrict litigation, arguing that the presiding judge should deny the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee's (PSC) request for a trial structure in which one jury would hear evidence for multiple plaintiffs because consolidating multiple plaintiffs into a single trial "would have the profound and unfairly prejudicial effect to DuPont of validating the plaintiffs' claims of both liability and harm" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
Judge Rules Subcontractor In Chemical Injury Case May Sue Environmental Consultant
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 14 ruled that a subcontractor could file a fourth-party complaint against an environmental contractor for breach of contract in relation to an underlying lawsuit in which a worker seeks damages for exposure to toxic chemicals while working on an excavation project (Johnnie Parker v. John Moriarty & Associates v. Strittmatter Metro LLC v. Environmental Consultants and Contractors Inc., No. 15-1506, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172688).
Bankruptcy Judge Defines 'Future' Claims For Tronox Tort Trust
NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge on Dec. 14, at the request of the trustee for the Tronox Inc. Tort Claims Trust after being deluged with "future" tort claims, defined what a future tort claimant is and who can file claims against the trust in the "Future Tort Claims" category (In re: Tronox Incorporated, et al., No. 09-10156, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.; 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 4274).
EPA: Fracking May Have Negative Affect On Drinking Water
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 13 released its final report on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water, concluding that groundwater resources are potentially affected in numerous ways, including the injection of fracking fluids directly into aquifers, the mechanical failure of wells and the discharge of inadequately treated hydraulic fracturing wastewater to surface water resources
Parties Debate MTBE-Tainted Groundwater Case Before 2nd Circuit
NEW YORK - Attorneys for oil and gasoline companies, as well as those representing a California water district, on Dec. 5 presented oral arguments before the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals debating the applicability of a res judicata order in a groundwater contamination case involving methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation: Orange County Water District v. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. n/ka TMR Company, No. 15-3934, 2nd Cir.).
Maryland Panel Rules Notice Requirements Not Met In Lead-Paint Lawsuit
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Dec. 7 affirmed a trial court's decision and said a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit against a housing authority was properly dismissed for failure to follow the notice requirements codified in state law (Crishawna Shane Jackson v. Housing Authority of Baltimore City, No. 2218, Sept. Term 2015, Md. Spec. App.; 2016 Md. App. LEXIS 1494).
ExxonMobil Seeks To Arbitrate Groundwater Contamination Coverage Dispute
NEW YORK - ExxonMobil Oil Corp. on Dec. 9 filed a petition to compel arbitration in New York federal court, seeking an order that its excess insurer is required to arbitrate a coverage dispute arising out of underlying claims for groundwater contamination (ExxonMobil Oil Corp. v. TIG Insurance Co., No. 16-9527, S.D. N.Y.).
Judge Reverses, Remands Agent Orange Benefits Denial; Claim To Be Reconsidered
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Dec. 7 reversed and remanded an Agent Orange benefits case, concluding that the Board of Veterans Appeals wrongly concluded that a veteran was not entitled to benefits and that the legitimacy of the veteran's claim must be reconsidered (Adolfo Moris-Rodriguez v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-2736, Vet. Clms.; 2016 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1900).