GEORGETOWN, Del. — A state court judge in Delaware on July 14 denied a petition filed by the state of Delaware and its Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) that sought to certify an interlocutory appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court regarding the issue of privilege as it pertains to the agency’s investigatory files pursuant to a groundwater contamination lawsuit involving a chicken processing plant (Gary and Anna-Marie Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. S18C-06-009 ESB, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).
MILWAUKEE — The plaintiffs in a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit on July 10 filed a brief in Wisconsin federal court contending that Sherwin-Williams Co.’s attempt to disqualify the presiding judge “omits or ignores” the finding by the Judicial Council of the Seventh Circuit, which issued a report calling for the judge’s admonition but not his removal (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
ST. LOUIS — A federal judge in Missouri on July 14 ordered a company to show cause as to why it should not be held in contempt for violating a consent judgment to remediate and vacate a property contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), ruling that the company has failed to show that its purported inability to comply with the judgment “is not self-induced or that they have in good faith made all reasonable efforts to comply” (Spectrum Brands Inc. v. Compton’s LLC, No. 16-30, E.D. Mo., 202 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131499).
HOUSTON — E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on July 9 entered into an agreement with the federal government and state of Texas in federal court in Texas that would require it to pay a $3.1 million civil penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) at a former pesticide manufacturing facility where a leak killed four workers in 2014 and that closed in 2016 (United States v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co., No. 20-cv-2423, S.D. Texas).
SAN FRANCISCO — Attorneys representing a proposed class exposed to the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, on July 8 announced that they are withdrawing a motion for preliminary approval of a proposed $1.1 billion settlement with Monsanto Co. in light of a ruling issued by the judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation in California federal court (In re Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Ramirez v. Monsanto], MDL 2741, N.D. Calif.).
DENVER — Protesters and the Denver police department reached an agreement in a putative class action to limit police use of crowd-control weapons including tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets, which a Colorado federal judge approved June 26. He noted that the stipulation complies with new state legislation enacted in the wake of protests against police brutality (Agazi Abay, et al. v. Denver, No. 20-1616, D. Colo.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on June 22 ruled that the state of California is permanently enjoined from placing warning labels on products containing glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, because without an injunction, Monsanto, the maker of glyphosate, was likely to suffer irreparable harm (National Association of Wheat Growers, et al. v. Lauren Zeise, et al., No. 17-2401, E.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 19 announced that two attorneys had pleaded guilty to orchestrating a scheme to extort $200 million from a company in connection with a purported “consulting agreement” they offered Monsanto Co. related to litigation involving the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate (United States of America v. Timothy Litzenburg, No. 19-69, W.D. Va.).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on June 19 dismissed a widow’s wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. government related to groundwater contamination and other chemical exposures her husband suffered while stationed at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, ruling that the widow’s case failed under the Feres doctrine (Carol V. Clendening v. United States, No. 19-137, E.D. N.C.).
NEW YORK — A New York appellate panel on June 25 affirmed a trial court ruling that denied lead paint poisoning plaintiffs summary judgment on their claims for liability against their landlord, ruling that the defendants’ medical expert raised an issue of fact as to whether the landlords’ negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries (S.T. v 1727-29 LLC, et al., No. 350020/08, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3698).
NEW YORK — A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 24 denied a petition for mandamus to stay a civil contempt hearing against Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, ruling that Donziger failed to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances warrant the requested relief (In re: Steven Robert Donziger [Steven Robert Donziger] v. Chevron Corporation, No. 20-464, 2nd Cir.).
MIAMI — Residents filed an amended complaint in Florida federal court on June 22, contending that sugar cane growers are liable for releasing toxins into the air as a result of an agricultural practice known as sugar cane burning, which makes residents and field workers sick (William Armstrong, et al. v. United States Sugar Corporation, et al., No. 19-80730, S.D. Fla.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on June 26 filed a notice of supplemental authority in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals pertaining to the appeal of a glyphosate cancer verdict, asking the court to consider a recent ruling in California federal court that permanently enjoined the state of California from requiring cancer warnings on products containing glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup (Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, Nos. 19-16636 and 19-16708, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 denied a petition for rehearing, and the full court also denied a petition for rehearing en banc, sought by U.S. Navy sailors who wanted the court to reconsider its dismissal of a radiation exposure lawsuit related to the sailors’ involvement with relief efforts when the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) melted down in Japan. The panel did not elaborate on its reason for denying the petition (Lindsay R. Cooper, et al. v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, et al., No. 19-55295, 9th Cir.).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Gerald Ambrose, a former emergency manager for the city of Flint, Mich., on July 1 filed an answer in Michigan federal court denying that he created an emergency that resulted in the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city and arguing that any claims are barred by qualified immunity (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A Texas man on June 30 sued 3M Co. and other makers of the firefighting agent known as aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) in South Carolina federal court contending that he has been injured by per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are toxic chemicals in AFFF. He also says the companies knew the danger that PFAS pose to human health (Patrick Kelly McDaniel v. 3M Company, et al., No. 20-2489, MDL 2873, D. S.C.).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A divided New York Court of Appeals on June 25 reversed a lower court and ruled that a company right to seize property by eminent domain to build a pipeline was not conditioned on obtaining a certificate ensuring water quality pursuant to federal law protecting groundwater (In the Matter of National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation v. Joseph A. Schueckler, et al., No. 29, N.Y. App.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on June 30 remanded a decision by the Board of Veterans Appeals and said it had provided an inadequate basis for denying a veteran’s requests for benefits due to chemical exposure that involved Agent Orange, radioactive materials and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (Paul Chisholm v. Robert L. Wilkie, No. 19-498, Vet. Clms.; 2020 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1249).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — The state of Delaware and its Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) on June 29 filed a notice of appeal in the Delaware Supreme Court contending that it should grant interlocutory review on whether DNREC’s investigatory files are privileged in a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by residents against a chicken processing plant (Delaware, et al. v. Gary Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. N/A, Del. Sup.).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A Delaware state court judge on June 29 sanctioned attorneys representing a chicken processing plant $28,320.25 for “inappropriate conduct” regarding violations of discovery protocol in a groundwater contamination case brought by a class of residents who allege that the plant’s disposal of wastewater has damaged their health (Gary and Anna-Marie Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. S18C-06-009 ESB, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).