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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®



 



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).



Company Says It Should Be Permitted To Amend Motion To Dismiss Flint Water Case
DETROIT - A company that was sued by Michigan residents who contend that it shares liability for the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., on June 15 filed a brief in Michigan federal court, contending that it should be permitted leave to file an amended motion to dismiss the residents' class action (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).



Companies Seek Rehearing Of MTBE Ruling In 2nd Circuit, Say Reversal Was Incorrect
NEW YORK - A group of oil and gasoline companies on June 26 filed a petition in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking rehearing of a case in the multidistrict litigation for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), arguing that a lower court's res judicata ruling was appropriate and that privity had been established between two California state agencies (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.).



California High Court Refuses Review; State May List Glyphosate As A Carcinogen
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Supreme Court on June 22 denied review of a case in which Monsanto Co. sought to prevent the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) from adding glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, to the state's list of chemicals that cause cancer (Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, No. S242595, Calif. Sup.; 2017 Cal. LEXIS 4696).



Monsanto Denies Glyphosate Exposure Could Have Caused Man's Cancer
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on June 16 filed its answer to one of the complaints in the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products, in which it denied that exposure to its product, which contains glyphosate, could have caused the plaintiff's alleged non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).



3rd Circuit Approves Class Settlement In Chrome 6 Contamination Case
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed a lower court's approval of a $10,017,000 class action settlement involving property contamination by hexavalent chromium from two industrial sites in New Jersey, but it remanded the case for a reconsideration of litigation costs pursuant to federal rules of procedure (Mattie Halley, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 16-2712, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App LEXIS 11594).



9th Circuit: Japanese Nuclear Reactor Radiation Case May Proceed In U.S. Court
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22 ruled that a radiation exposure lawsuit brought by U.S. Navy sailors who assisted in relief efforts when the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) melted down in Japan could proceed in a U.S. court, despite the company's argument to the contrary (Lindsay R. Cooper, et al. v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, et al., No. 15-56424, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11075).



Groups: Trump Executive Order Rescinding Federal Regulations Violates Constitution
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Organizations that oppose President Donald J. Trump's executive order that a government agency may issue a new regulation only if it rescinds at least two existing regulations on June 26 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that the order - which would affect rules governing exposure to toxic substances - "offends the separation of powers by usurping the constitutional lawmaking power assigned to Congress and violates the president's unambiguous duty to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,'" pursuant to the Constitution (Public Citizen, Inc. v. Donald Trump, No. 17-253, D. D.C.).



States Seek To Intervene To Override EPA Stay Of Methane Emissions Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general for 14 states and the attorney for the city of Chicago on June 20 moved in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to intervene in a lawsuit brought by environmental advocacy groups against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the EPA's announcement that it is reconsidering rules on the fugitive emissions of methane (Clean Air Council, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1145. D.C. Cir.).



EPA Inspector General's Office Says It Will Begin Research On Methane Emissions
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 21 issued a memorandum indicating that it plans to begin preliminary research to assess how the EPA estimates methane emissions from the oil and natural gas production industry.



Man Sues Fracking Companies Alleging Fraud, Liability For Chemical Injuries
DENVER - A Colorado man on May 25 filed an amended complaint in Colorado federal court alleging that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) is liable for chemical injuries he sustained while working on a hydraulic fracturing site (Jeylan Abdulkadir v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., et al., No. 16-281, D. Colo.).



Companies Say They Owe No Duty To Workers In Lithium Battery Injury Lawsuit
OKLAHOMA CITY - A hydraulic fracturing company and a drilling company sued in connection with injuries suffered by two workers when a lithium battery exploded during a fracking operation filed a brief on June 5 in which they argue that the case against them should be dismissed because they owe no duty to the plaintiffs for the failure of the fracking tool that allegedly caused their injuries (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.).



Expert 'Unreliable,' Should Be Excluded From Groundwater Case, NL Industries Says
TRENTON, N.J. - NL Industries Inc. on June 20 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court seeking to exclude an expert for the plaintiffs who sued the company for allegedly contaminating the local groundwater, contending that the expert's opinion is "unreliable" (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).



Group: Company's Plan To Store Coal Ash Will Continue Groundwater Contamination
DURHAM, N.C. - An environmental advocacy group on June 20 filed a lawsuit in North Carolina federal court against Duke Energy Progress LLC, alleging that the company's plan to permanently store coal ash and "toxic pollutants" in unlined pits will lead to further contamination of local groundwater (Roanoke River Basin Association v. Duke Energy Progress LLC, No. 17-561, M.D. N.C.).



Federal, State Agencies Sue Company For Emissions Of Volatile Organic Compounds
DENVER - The U.S. government and the state of Colorado filed a lawsuit in Colorado federal court on June 26, alleging that a power company is in violation the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401, and other statutes with regard to the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (United States of America, et al. v. PDC Energy, Inc., No. 17-1552, D. Colo.).



U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Lago Agrio $18.5 Billion Fraud Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 refused to hear the appeal of a group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney, who challenged a fraud ruling with regard to an $18.5 billion judgment they previously won against Chevron Corp. for injuries they had alleged were caused by the company's oil field operations in Ecuador (Steven Donziger, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16-1178, U.S. Sup.).



U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Flint Water Crisis Appeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 12 refused to hear a case brought by engineering firms that appealed a lower court's decision that residents of Flint, Mich., could obtain remand of their lead-contaminated water claims under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Lockwood Andrews & Newnam P.C. v. Jennifer Mason, et al., No. 16-1092, U.S. Sup.).



Attorney General Charges 5 Officials With Manslaughter For Flint Water Crisis
LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on June 14 charged Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Director Nick Lyon and four other state and local officials with involuntary manslaughter in connection with their failure to act in response to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., which resulted in an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease and lead contamination.



Judge: Flint, Mich., Residents' Case May Proceed Against City, Other Defendants
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on June 5 ruled that a group of Flint, Mich., residents who sued the city of Flint and the State of Michigan for damages related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city could proceed with their claims for violation of bodily integrity against the city, its workers and employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The judge also said the plaintiffs' negligence claims were viable against two firms that were consultants on the decision to use the Flint River as a source of drinking water (Shari Guertin, et al. v. State of Michigan, et al., No. 16-12412, E.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85544).



EPA Inspector General Opens Probe Into Possible Collusion On Glyphosate Review
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on May 31 sent a letter to a member of Congress indicating that he is directing an investigation in response to the congressman's request for a probe concerning reports that an EPA employee may have colluded with Monsanto Co. to conduct a biased review of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.



Judge Approves Administrator, Settlement Fund In DuPont C8 Contamination MDL
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio federal 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 May 25 issued an order appointing a lien resolution administrator (LRA) and establishing 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).



Panel Reverses, Remands MTBE Case; Requirements Of Res Judicata Not Met
NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 12 vacated and remanded a summary judgment ruling in a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by a California water district against oil and gasoline companies on grounds that a district court's res judicata ruling was not appropriate because privity was not established (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., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10412).



Firms: Stay Needed In Groundwater Case; Settlement May Adversely Affect Interests
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A group of law firms representing more than 300 plaintiffs in a groundwater contamination lawsuit on June 12 filed a brief in West Virginia federal court seeking to intervene and stay the case pending the approval of a tentative settlement on grounds it may adversely affect their interests (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va.).



3M Denies Groundwater Claims, Even As It Maintains That No Response Is Needed
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - 3M Co. on June 14 filed a brief in Alabama federal court denying liability for groundwater contamination and contending that the claims brought against it under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. 6901et seq., for "imminent and substantial endangerment" do not require a response, but if it were to respond, the company denies the allegations (Tennessee Riverkeeper Inc. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-1029, N.D. Ala.).



Residents Voluntarily Dismiss Tainted-Groundwater Case Against Fertilizer Company
TAMPA, Fla. - The plaintiffs who brought a groundwater contamination lawsuit against a fertilizer manufacturer in Florida, contending that their private wells had been tainted, voluntarily dismissed the case June 12, with no explanation provided (Nicholas Bohn, et al. v. The Mosaic Company, et al., No. 16-02724, M.D. Fla.).



Woman Voluntarily Dismisses Lead Drinking Water Case Against School District
PITTSBURGH - A mother who sued her daughter's elementary school contending that she was poisoned by lead and copper drinking water on June 14 voluntarily dismissed her lawsuit against the school district (Jennifer Tait, et al. v. Butler Area School District, et al., No. 17-182, W.D. Pa.).



New Hampshire High Court: No Error Shown In Eviction Related To Lead Paint Hazards
CONCORD, N.H. - The New Hampshire Supreme Court on May 11 ruled that a trial court did not err when it held that a couple that was renting a premises was properly evicted in connection with lead-paint hazards because they continued to work on the premises despite not being trained to deal with lead paint (Deborah Cutler v. Daniel Knight, No. 2016-0409, N.H. Sup.; 2017 N.H. LEXIS 114).



Landlords Seek More Than $1.59M From Verizon For Alleged Property Contamination
HACKENSACK, N.J. - Property owners filed a complaint in the Bergen County Superior Court on June 12 contending that Verizon New Jersey Inc. is liable for $1,591,435 in damages because it failed to remediate contamination on property it leased from the plaintiffs in breach of its rental contract (Joan Rudnick, et al. v. Verizon New Jersey Inc., No. L-4023-17, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.).