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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).
DuPont Says It Should Not Be Forced To Disclose Documents In C8 Injury Litigation
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Nov. 21 filed a brief in the perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) injury multidistrict litigation, arguing that the MDL court should deny the plaintiffs' motion to compel the production of underlying data the company used to create witness summaries for a cancer registry used in the first bellwether trial (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
Federal Judge: Officials Must Deliver Bottled Water To Flint Residents; Stay Denied
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 2 denied a motion filed by Michigan state officials and refused to stay a district court ruling that the defendants provide bottled water to every house in Flint, Mich., in response to the lead-contaminated water crisis (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).
Divided 6th Circuit Remands Flint Lead Water Crisis Class Action To State Court
CINCINNATI - A divided panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 16 remanded to state court a class action lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., against engineering firms that were involved in making the decision to switch the city's drinking water source to the Flint River, resulting in lead-contaminated drinking water, finding that the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) requires the case to be tried in state court (Jennifer Mason, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam PC, et al., No. 16-2313, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20554).
Flint Water Crisis Plaintiffs: Defense Motion To Change Venue Should Be Denied
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Michigan residents who allege that state employees are liable for the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Nov. 22 filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that the court should deny the defendants' motion to stay proceedings pending a final decision on their motion to change venue because the defendants' "purported concerns" do not justify a stay (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).
State Employees: Flint Water Crisis Venue Decision Needed Before Dismissal Ruling
DETROIT - Employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Nov. 28 filed a brief asking a Michigan federal court to rule on their motion to change venue before it rules on pending motions to dismiss a lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., who allege that the employees are liable for the city's lead-contaminated water crisis (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).
Illinois Wrongful Death Case Sent To Roundup MDL In Northern California
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Nov. 28 issued an order transferring another case to the multidistrict litigation for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to the weed killer Roundup, stating that the wrongful death lawsuit brought against Monsanto Co. by an Illinois man involves questions of fact common to other actions already sent to the MDL (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).
3 Cities Say Their Cases Against Monsanto Sufficiently Demonstrate Standing
SAN FRANCISCO - Three California cities that are suing Monsanto Co. and its affiliates seeking to recover the costs of removing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination from storm water on Nov. 14 filed a joint brief in California federal court, arguing that the defendants' motion to dismiss should be denied because they allege a property interest sufficient to demonstrate standing to bring a public nuisance claim (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.).
Monsanto: City Of Spokane's PCB Contamination Case Fails To State A Claim
SPOKANE, Wash. - Monsanto Co. and its affiliates on Nov. 23 filed an answer against the city of Spokane, contending that the city's attempt to collect remediation costs for alleged contamination of its groundwater with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) should be denied because the plaintiff fails to state a claim (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-00201, E.D. Wash.).
Plaintiff: Good Cause Exists For Expert Substitution In Oil Rig Explosion Case
SAN FRANCISCO - Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion on Nov. 30 filed a brief in California federal court, contending that their motion to substitute a fisheries expert in place of the expert they originally scheduled is based on good cause under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 16 (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
Judge: New Hampshire C8 Contamination Case Belongs In Federal Court
CONCORD, N.H. - A federal judge in New Hampshire on Nov. 30 ruled that residents who contend that a company contaminated their drinking water with perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) did not satisfy the local-exception requirement to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) and therefore were not entitled to have the case remanded to state court (Kevin Brown, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al., Nos. 16-242 and 16-243, D. N.H.).
Fertilizer Maker: Tainted Groundwater Case Fails; Jurisdiction Lacking
TAMPA, Fla. - Fertilizer manufacturers who are being sued for groundwater contamination allegedly connected to an incident at their plant moved in federal court in Florida on Nov. 21, contending that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs' complaint "does not contain a single allegation that" contaminants have been detected beyond the borders of the property where the plant is located and because jurisdiction is lacking (Nicholas Bohn, et al. v. The Mosaic Company, et al., No. 16-02724, M.D. Fla.).
EPA Drinking Water Plan Seeks Equity In Infrastructure, Reduction Of Lead Risks
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 30 released its drinking water action plan, which the agency refers to as "a national call to action" that urges all levels of government to work to promote equity for drinking water infrastructure and reduce lead contamination risks, along with other priorities.
2nd Circuit Hears Arguments On Injunction Relating To Creosote Injury Claims
NEW YORK - Attorneys for the parties in a creosote-injury lawsuit on Nov. 16 presented oral arguments before the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals debating whether the plaintiffs are prohibited from amending their complaint to assert certain toxic tort claims that the defendants argue are barred by an injunction and are claims that belong in the bankruptcy estate for the chemical company responsible for the plaintiffs' exposure (Avoca Plaintiffs v. Kerr-McGee Corporation; In Re: Tronox Inc., No. 16-343, 2nd Cir.).
3rd Circuit Hears Arguments On Radiation Exposure At Pennsylvania Power Plant
PHILADELPHIA - Attorneys for a group of Pennsylvania residents and a power plant presented oral arguments before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 10, debating the causation of the residents' injuries, including cancer, which the residents allege stem from exposure to radioactive materials emitted from the power plant. The plaintiffs' attorney argued that qualitative differential diagnosis was a valid means of showing that the residents had been exposed to radiation, while attorneys for the company argued that the plaintiffs had failed to establish exposure (Michelle McMunn, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., et al, No. 15-3506 [consolidated], 3rd Cir.).
Judge Remands Agent Orange Benefits Case, Says Claim May Be Substantiated
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 30 vacated and remanded a ruling that denied benefits to a veteran's widow for his cancer and subsequent death in connection with exposure to Agent Orange, finding that the Board of Veterans Appeals failed to determine if the veteran's cancer could substantiate a claim for benefits (Anita Gauldock v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-2893, Vet. Clms.; 2016 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1846).