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

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Emerging Toxic Torts Legal News



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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).



6th Circuit Reverses, Remands 2 Flint Water Crisis Cases; Claims Not Preempted
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 28 reversed two lower court rulings and remanded two cases pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., ruling that the claims were not preempted by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) (Beatrice Boler, et al. v. Darnell Earley, et al., No. 16-1684 and Melissa Mays, et al. v. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 17-1144, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13691).



Flint Water Defendants Tell 6th Circuit Federal Lead Case Belongs In Federal Court
CINCINNATI - Some of the defendants in a Flint lead-contaminated water action on July 19 filed their reply brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that the consent of all of the defendants is not needed to remove a case to federal court, and recent developments in the case warrant removal (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 17-1401, 6th Cir.).



11 Attorneys General Sue EPA For Delaying Rules Regarding Chemical Accident Safety
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general of 11 states on July 24 filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of the EPA's decision to delay implementation of federal requirements preventing the release of toxic chemicals by chemical companies (State of New York, et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1181, D.C. Cir.).



Pennsylvania Man: Monsanto Liable For Causing Cancer By Promoting Glyphosate
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania man on July 21 sued Monsanto Co. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, contending that the company is liable for negligent conduct because he developed cancer as a result of using the company's herbicide Roundup, which contains glyphosate (Frederick Johnson v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-3260, E.D. Pa.).



Arizona Couple Sues Monsanto, Says Cancer Caused By Exposure To Glyphosate
PHOENIX - A couple filed a lawsuit in Arizona federal court on July 12 alleging that Monsanto Co. is liable for causing the wife to develop cancer as a result of using the company's herbicide Roundup, which contains glyphosate. The case is one of 41 total cases filed by the same attorney on behalf of Arizona residents asserting the same claims against Monsanto (Robin Brown, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-2272, D. Ariz.).



Judge In DuPont C8 MDL Modifies Amount Of Money Paid Into Settlement Fund
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The federal judge in Ohio presiding over the multidistrict litigation brought against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on July 24 entered a pretrial order approving modifications sought by the plaintiffs that increase the amount of money the company will pay into a qualified settlement fund (QSF) (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).



Man Suing Lead Paint Makers Says Companies Lack Legal Ground To Oppose Expert
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man who contends that the makers of lead-based paint are liable for his lead poisoning injuries on June 2 filed a brief in Wisconsin federal court opposing the companies' motion to strike the plaintiff's expert, contending that the defendants do not have legal grounds to challenge the case-specific opinions they move to exclude (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).



Plastics Company To Pay More Than $4.35M To Remedy Tainted Groundwater In Vermont
BENNINGTON, Vt. - The state of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) on July 24 reached a consent decree with a plastics manufacturer in which the parties have agreed to drop a groundwater contamination lawsuit in exchange for the company's continued remediation efforts, which will involve the company providing $4,357,853.87 for remediation costs (State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources v, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, No. N/A, Vt. Super., Bennington Unit).



Judge Dismisses Some Fracking Companies In Lithium Battery Injury Lawsuit
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal judge in Oklahoma presiding over a lithium battery injury lawsuit brought against hydraulic fracturing companies by former employees on July 20 dismissed two of the defendants on grounds they owed no duty to the injured parties (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., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113098).



New Jersey High Court Reverses And Remands Dismissal Of Chemical Injury Case
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on July 26 reversed and remanded a case in which a couple sued a municipality and companies associated with a dry cleaning business, finding that the complaint for physical injuries had been filed in a timely manner, contrary to the rulings of two lower courts (Edan Ben Elazar, et al. v. Macrietta Cleaners, Inc., et al., No. A-11-16, N.J. Sup., Sept. Term 2016; 2017 N.J. 809).



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).



Michigan Governor, Officials: 11th Amendment Immunity Bars Flint Water Claims
DETROIT - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and a group of state employees on June 29 file a reply brief in Michigan federal court contending that one of the lawsuits filed against them alleging liability for the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., should be dismissed because they have immunity (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).



Flint Water Defendants: Motion To Certify Appeal As 'Frivolous' Should Be Stricken
DETROIT - A group of defendants affiliated with the city of Flint, Mich., on July 18 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that a motion to certify their appeal of a district court ruling as "frivolous," which was filed by city residents in a lead-contaminated drinking water lawsuit, should be stricken because it was improperly filed (Shari Guertin, et al. v. State of Michigan, et al., No. 16-12412, E.D. Mich.).



24 Arizona Residents Sue Monsanto, Allege They Got Cancer From Glyphosate
PHOENIX - An Arizona man filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on July 19 against Monsanto Co., alleging that its herbicide Roundup, which contains the chemical glyphosate, caused him to develop cancer. The case is one of 24 cancer cases filed by the same attorney against the company in the District Court (Dean T. Enomoto v. Monsanto Company, 17-2390, D. Ariz.).



Judge Dismisses Monsanto's Amended Counterclaims Seeking Cost Recovery
SPOKANE, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on July 10 dismissed amended counterclaims asserted by Monsanto Co., Pharmacia Corp. and Solutia Inc. (collectively, Monsanto) seeking cost recovery from the city of Spokane for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Spokane River, finding that the new allegations did not remedy the deficiencies in the original counterclaims (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-CV-00201-SMJ, E.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106136).



2nd Circuit Denies Companies' Motion For Rehearing In MTBE Litigation
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 11 denied a motion filed by oil companies seeking a rehearing regarding a June 12 ruling in which the appeals court reversed a summary judgment ruling in favor of the companies on the ground that a lawsuit brought by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) was not barred by the doctrine of res judicata (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation: Orange County Water District v. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. n/k/a TMR Company, No. 15-3934, 2nd Cir.).



Groups: EPA Should Be Ordered To Respond To Petition Regarding Permit Opposition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A collection of environmental advocacy groups on July 20 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq., contending that the agency should be ordered to reply to the groups' petition concerning Texas refinery permits (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-1439, D. D.C.).



9th Circuit Refuses To Force EPA To Revoke Food Tolerance For Chlorpyifos
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 18 denied a motion for writ of mandamus sought by two environmental groups that want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revoke all food tolerances for, and cancel the registration of, a pesticide chlorpyifos (In re: Pesticide Action Network North America, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-72794, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12871).



Railway Company: Residents' Chemical Injury Case Fails For Lack Of Injury Evidence
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - CSX Transportation Inc. on July 17 filed a brief in Tennessee federal court arguing that a chemical injury lawsuit brought against it by a purported class of residents should be dismissed because the claims are "barred by the economic loss doctrine" and the plaintiffs "have no evidence of physical injury" (Charles Tipton, et al. v. CSX Transportation Inc., et al., No. 15-311, E.D. Tenn.).



Decatur, Ala.: Group Lacks Standing To Bring Groundwater Lawsuit
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The city of Decatur, Ala., on July 7 filed an answer in Alabama federal court arguing that the environmental group that has sued it and 3M Co. lacks standing to bring the lawsuit under the citizen suit provision of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq. (Tennessee Riverkeeper Inc. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-1029, N.D. Ala.).



Judge Denies Approval Of Groundwater Contamination Settlement On Fairness Grounds
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on July 6 denied approval of a proposed settlement agreement in a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by more than 300 residents against a municipal water supplier on grounds that the proposed deal was not fair (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104242).



Man: Groundwater Case Valid; Order Denying Dismissal Should Not Be Reconsidered
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A North Carolina man who sued a company that he contends contaminated his groundwater, causing him to develop cancer, filed a brief on June 20 in North Carolina federal court contending that the court should deny the company's motion to reconsider its ruling denying summary judgment in the man's favor (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).



Judge: Company's Counterclaims Fail In Groundwater Dispute
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on July 11 ruled that a metal electroplating company's counterclaims for fraudulent inducement and breach of contract against the holding company that sued it for groundwater contamination failed because the electroplating company failed to state a claim (Atlantic Holdings Ltd. v. Apollo Metals Ltd., No. 16-6247, E.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106679).



Split Maryland High Court: Plaintiff's Medical Expert May Testify In Lead Case
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A divided Maryland Court of Appeals on July 11 ruled that a plaintiff's medical expert could testify in a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit despite the landlord's argument that the expert lacked the necessary qualifications and a sufficient factual basis for his opinion (Stewart Levitas v. Michael Davon Christian, No. 58, Sept. Term 2016, Md. App.; 2017 Md. LEXIS 464).