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Split 6th Circuit Panel: Flint Water Crisis Lawsuit Belongs In State Court
CINCINNATI - A split panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 11 affirmed a district court's ruling and held that a lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., against the city and state environmental quality employees relating to the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in the city belongs in state court (Melissa Mays, et al. v. City of Flint, Mich., et al., No. 16-2484, 6th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17502).



Attorney: Chevron Offers 'No Credible Argument' For Cost Tax In Lago Agrio Case
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for injuries, only to have it reversed, on Sept. 12 filed a letter with the presiding judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing that the company offers "no credible argument" for its contention that the company is entitled to the taxation of costs in the litigation (Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, et al., Case No. 11 Civ. 691, S.D. N.Y.).



Former EPA Employee: Motion To Compel Deposition 'Baseless' In Roundup MDL
SAN FRANCISCO - A former employee of the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 5 filed a brief in the multidistrict litigation in California federal court related to the herbicide Roundup, arguing that he should be awarded money because he incurred "substantial financial fees" when he responded to a "baseless" motion to compel filed by counsel for the plaintiffs (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).



Judge Consolidates Cases Regarding EPA Permits For Alleged Environmental Polluter
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 13 consolidated five cases brought by environmental groups against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt contending that he is in violation of federal law regarding the approval of a permit for ExxonMobil's petrochemical manufacturing facility in Harris County, Texas (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-1439, D. D.C.).



Residents: C8 Injury Claims 'Cognizable'; Case Against Plastics Company Valid
CONCORD, N.H. - A group of New Hampshire residents who sued a plastics manufacturer alleging that it was liable for contaminating their drinking water with perfluorooctanoic acid (also known as C8), on Aug. 31 filed a brief contending that they "assert cognizable claims for injury"; therefore, the case should not be dismissed (Kevin Brown, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, et al., No. 16-242, D. N.H.).



Judge Says Chemical Injury Plaintiff Did Not Allege His Water Was Tainted
ALBANY, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 5 dismissed a chemical injury lawsuit on grounds that the plaintiff failed to allege that his injuries were caused by contamination to his personal water supply (James Donavan v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., No. 16-294, N.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143198).



Utility Company: Sierra Club's Costs Should Be Denied In Tainted Groundwater Case
RICHMOND, Va. - An electric utility company that has been found guilty of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by dumping arsenic into the groundwater filed a brief in Virginia federal court on Aug. 21 opposing the plaintiffs' bill of costs and contending that what is known as the CWA's fee shifting provision does not apply to the case at hand (Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric and Power Company, d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power, No. 15-112, E.D. Va.).



Judge Denies Injunction In Groundwater Contamination Case Against GE
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 7 denied a motion for a mandatory permanent injunction sought by a company suing General Electric Co. for contaminating its groundwater (LAJIM LLC, et al. v. General Electric Co., No. 13-50348, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144704).



Evidence Would 'Inflame' Jury In Cancer Case, Company Says, Should Be Excluded
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A company being sued for allegedly contaminating a North Carolina man's groundwater on Sept. 11 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court contending that the district court should exclude evidence regarding contamination on the east side of the company's former facility, evidence of the presence of chemicals other than benzene and evidence of alleged negligence because it would "inflame" the jury (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).



Sherwin-Williams: Lead Paint Evidence On Risk-Contribution Theory Lacking
MILWAUKEE - The Sherwin-Williams Co. on Sept. 13 filed a statement of proposed material facts in Wisconsin federal court supporting its motion for dismissal of a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit against it and other former manufacturers of lead-based paint on grounds that the plaintiffs have not demonstrated a prerequisite need in order for the risk-contribution theory of liability to apply (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).



Researchers Had Duty Of Care In Lead Abatement Study, Split Maryland Panel Rules
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A split panel of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Sept. 6 reversed a trial court ruling and concluded that the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) and parties affiliated with Johns Hopkins University had a special relationship with the sibling of a girl who was a participant in a lead-paint abatement study in the 1990s and that they owed the sibling a duty of care (Ashley Partlow v. Kennedy Krieger Institute, Nos. 44 and 530, Sept. Term, Md. Spec. App.; 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 906).



Battery Company: Design Changes Caused Chemical Injury Explosion On Fracking Rig
OKLAHOMA CITY - A company that is the third-party defendant in a lawsuit brought by a man who alleges that he suffered chemical injuries from a lithium battery pack that exploded on a hydraulic fracturing rig filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court on Sept. 13, contending that the fracking company's motion for summary judgment should be denied because "at the very least" an issue of fact remains regarding whether the fracking company's design changes to the battery pack were a proximate cause of the explosion at issue (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.).



Release Of Documents By Plaintiffs' Counsel Is 'Misconduct,' Monsanto Says
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on Aug. 29 filed a brief in a California federal court arguing that plaintiffs' counsel in a multidistrict litigation regarding the herbicide Roundup improperly released to the public confidential company documents about the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, Roundup's active ingredient and that plaintiffs' counsel now wants to expunge the record of documents related to that "misconduct" (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).



Lago Agrio Attorney Objects To Defense Costs, Seeks Reassignment Of Case
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for injuries, only to have it reversed, on Aug. 16 filed a letter with the judge presiding over the matter in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York objecting to "exorbitant and unprecedented" defense costs, and seeking reassignment of the case to another federal court (Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, et al., Case No. 11 Civ. 691, S.D. N.Y.).



Federal Judge Refuses To Reconsider Consolidation Of Flint, Mich., Water Cases
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 15 issued a second order consolidating all of the lawsuits pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., into one action in response to a motion to reconsider filed by a group of state employee defendants. The one-page order did not elaborate on the ruling (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).



157 Navy Sailors: Power Plant Liable For Deaths, Injuries Resulting From Meltdown
SAN DIEGO - A group of 157 U.S. Navy sailors on Aug. 18 filed a lawsuit in California federal court against the Tokyo Electric Power Co., alleging that they have suffered injuries from radiation exposure related to their relief efforts in response to the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP). The plaintiffs argue that their claims should be joined with an existing case that asserts the same causes of action (Dustin Bartel, et al. v. Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc., et al., No. 17CV1671DMSKSC, S.D. Calif.).



3rd Circuit: Evidence Lacking In Injury Case Tied To Nuclear Plant Decommissioning
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 23 ruled that a group of plaintiffs failed to provide sufficient evidence to show that a power company was liable for cancer and other injuries in connection with the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania (Michelle McMunn, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., et al., No. 15-3506 [consolidated], 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16103).



3rd Circuit Denies Damages For Paulsboro Train Derailment Plaintiffs
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 28 ruled that New Jersey residents who alleged that they were poisoned by vinyl chloride as a result of a train derailment, as well as first responders who came to their aid, were not entitled to punitive damages and compensatory damages did not pass the jurisdictional threshold (In Re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, Nos. 15-4039, 16-1654, 16-1655, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16393).



Monsanto: Town, School Failed To Meet Burden Of Proof; PCB Case Properly Dismissed
BOSTON - Monsanto Co. on Aug. 22 filed a brief in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that a district court properly ruled that a town and school district failed to meet their burden of proof regarding alleged contamination from polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs) that were manufactured by the company and are present in plasticizers that were used in the construction of a school building (Town of Westport, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-1461, 1st Cir.).



$151M Deal In Groundwater Case Should Be Approved With Amendments, Class Says
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A class of plaintiffs who sued a water company alleging that it contaminated groundwater on Aug. 25 filed a brief in West Virginia federal court renewing support for preliminary approval of a $151 million class settlement with modifications from the original deal (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va.).



Plaintiff Says His Experts Should Be Permitted To Testify In Groundwater Case
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A North Carolina man who sued a company he contends contaminated his groundwater, causing him to develop cancer, on Aug. 25 filed a brief contending that a North Carolina federal court should deny the defendant's motions in limine seeking to exclude the man's experts (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).



Pennsylvania Agency, Company Reach Deal On Fracking Leak That Tainted Groundwater
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and hydraulic fracturing company Range Resources - Appalachia LLC on Aug. 28 reached a settlement in a lawsuit the agency brought pertaining to a methane leak at one of the company's sites in 2011 that contaminated local water wells. Details of the agreement were not disclosed (Range Resources - Appalachia LLC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, No. 2015-077-R, Pa. EHB).



Judge Limits Experts' Testimony On Migration Of Metals To River
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 16 granted in part NL Industries Inc.'s motion to exclude testimony from two experts for an environmental group accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), finding that portions of each expert's testimony was unreliable (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131754).



EPA Argues That Subpoenas Related To Groundwater Case Should Be Quashed
GREENVILLE, Miss. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 11 filed a brief in Mississippi federal court arguing that three subpoenas issued for employees of the EPA related to a groundwater contamination lawsuit should be quashed (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).



Groups Seek Summary Judgment Ruling That Company Violated Law In Groundwater Case
PITTSBURGH - Two environmental groups on Aug. 15 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeking a summary judgment ruling against PPG Industries Inc., arguing that it is liable under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for groundwater contamination from PPG's glass-manufacturing operation (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8683).



North Dakota Says It Has Right To Intervene In Case Against EPA About Waste Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The state of North Dakota on Aug. 18 filed a reply brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that it should be granted leave to intervene in a case brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by environmental groups that argue that the agency has failed to meet the nondiscretionary duty under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to review and, if necessary, revise regulations for wastes associated with the exploration, development or production of crude oil, natural gas or geothermal energy (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-5010, D.C. Cir.).



New York Housing Authority Had Notice of Lead Paint Hazards, Panel Says
NEW YORK - A New York appellate panel on Aug. 30 affirmed a ruling that denied summary judgment dismissal to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in a lead-paint poisoning case, concluding that the evidence shows that the housing authority had actual notice of a lead hazard and did not remedy it (Yesenia Matute, an infant by her mother, Juana Bsison v. New York City Housing Authority, No. 2015-09223, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept.; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6348).



Roundup MDL Judge: Firm Must To Show Cause Why It Should Not Be Sanctioned
SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation for Roundup, the herbicide manufactured by Monsanto Co. that contains glyphosate, on Aug. 9 ordered plaintiffs' counsel to show cause why it should not be removed from the case or otherwise sanctioned monetarily in connection with the law firm's decision to post online disputed documents that Monsanto contends are confidential (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).



Members Of European Parliament Seek Access To Testimony In Roundup Glyphosate MDL
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Members of European Parliament (MEPs) on July 13 sent a letter to the California federal judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products liability litigation, seeking access to deposition transcripts to learn more about the validity of the scientific conclusions concerning the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.



European Commission Proposes Glyphosate Approval, Holds Talks With Member States
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission announced July 20 that it has "restarted" discussions with the member states of the European Union regarding the status of glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, as the commission proposes to renew approval of the chemical for 10 years.



Judge Dismisses Defamation, Whistleblower Case Brought By Flint, Mich., City Employee
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 9 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former administrator for the city of Flint, Mich., who sought damages for defamation and sought protection under the state's whistleblower act in relation to actions she took during the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis, which she contended resulted in the termination of her employment (Natasha Henderson v. The City of Flint, et al., No. 16-11648, E.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125869).



Michigan Federal Judge Consolidates Multiple Flint Water Crisis Lawsuits
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on July 28 issued an order consolidating multiple lawsuits pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich. (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).



EPA To Forgive $20.7M Debt Owed by Flint, Mich., For Water Crisis Response
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 1 issued a press release in which it said it would forgive $20.7 million in debt that the city of Flint, Mich., owes the agency related to the response to the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city.



Michigan Residents Sue Ford Motor Company, Allege Groundwater Contamination
DETROIT - A group of Michigan residents on Aug. 8 filed a class action against Ford Motor Co. in Michigan state court contending that the company is liable for groundwater contamination as a result of leaking "highly toxic chemicals" from its facility in Livonia, Mich. (Bruce Tenniswood, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., 17-011941-NZ, Mich. Cir., Wayne Co.).



16 Attorneys General Sue EPA Over Delay In Clean Air Standards
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general for 15 states and the District of Columbia on Aug. 1 filed a petition for review in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the court should review the final action of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that extended the deadline for promulgating initial area designations for the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standards (State of New York, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 17-1185, D.C. Cir.).



En Banc D.C. Circuit Will Not Rehear Methane Rule Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The en banc District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 10 refused to grant a petition for rehearing en banc sought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that challenged a split panel decision that found that the EPA did not have the authority to stay the agency's rule on fugitive methane emissions (Clean Air Council, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1145, D.C. Cir.).



Man, Chevron Agree To Dismiss Putative Oil Rig Injury Class Action With Prejudice
SAN FRANCISCO - A Nigerian man who claims that he was injured when an oil rig owned and operated by Chevron Corp. exploded in the Niger Delta on Aug. 2 stipulated to voluntarily dismiss with prejudice his claims against the company that were pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).



California Appellate Panel Rules Water Agency's Groundwater Claims Valid
SAN DIEGO - A California appellate panel on Aug. 4 partially reversed and partially affirmed a trial court ruling and held that the Orange County Water District has valid claims against some current and former operators of industrial sites for groundwater contamination (Orange County Water District v. Sabic Innovative Plastics US, LLC, et al., No. D070553, Calif. App, 4th Dist., Div. 1).



9th Circuit Again Finds Fault In Expert Witness Rulings In Water Contamination Row
PASADENA, Calif. - A federal trial court abused its discretion twice when making two expert witness decisions against a California city, and the errors were prejudicial to the city in its claims that its groundwater was polluted by a chemical in a company's fertilizer products, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 7 in vacating the trial court's judgment and remanding for a new trial (City of Pomona v. SQM North America Corporation, No. 15-56062, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14491).



Judge Stays Cities' Suits Against Monsanto To Exhaust Administrative Remedies
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 4 stayed three lawsuits filed by cities seeking to recover damages from Monsanto Co., Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. for increased costs the cities have incurred to maintain compliance with permits for discharges of stormwater containing polychlorinated biphenyls, finding that the cities need to exhaust all administrative remedies before their federal lawsuit can proceed (City of San Jose v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-03178, City of Oakland v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-5152, City of Berkeley v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00071, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123673).



Judge Remands Washington's Suit Against Monsanto Over PCB Contamination
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on July 28 granted the state's motion to remand a suit against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the state's water, land and wildlife, rejecting the company's argument that it manufactured the chemicals at the request of the federal government (Washington v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 17-cv-53, W.D. Wash.).



Companies: Colorado Fracking Fluid Injury Claim Fails, Dismissal Appropriate
DENVER - Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) and another energy company on July 13 filed a joint motion in Colorado federal court, arguing that the chemical injury lawsuit a man filed against them related to his work on a hydraulic fracturing site should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim (Jeylan Abdulkadir v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., et al., No. 16-281, D. Colo.).



N.J. Township Can Pursue Claims Against Du Pont Employee; Judge Remands Case
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on July 26 remanded a township's lawsuit accusing E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.'s Director of Corporate Remediation of violating the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) by misleading the state's environmental agency about transfers of property to prevent the company from paying remediation costs in excess of $1 billion, finding that the employee was not fraudulently joined for the purpose of defeating diversity jurisdiction (Carneys Point Township v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, et al., No. 17-cv-00264-NLH-JS, D. N.J., 2017 U.S .Dist. LEXIS 117459).



Relocation, Investigation Costs Recoverable Under CERCLA, Judge Finds
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on July 26 ruled that the costs of investigating the levels of lead and arsenic contamination emanating from a Superfund site near a housing complex as well as the costs the complex's residents incurred in relocating from the property are recoverable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), but dismissed a proposed class' claims for nuisance against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. and the Chemours Co. (Lerithea Rolan, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 16-CV-357-TLS, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117437).