TYLER, Texas — A group of residents on Nov. 29 filed a putative class action in Texas federal court asserting claims for property damage and seeking medical monitoring for injuries related to toxic emissions from two explosions at a chemical plant (Christopher S. Harms, et al. v. TPC Group Inc., No. 19-606, E.D. Texas).
TAMPA, Fla. — A number of active military personnel and their spouses on Dec. 2 filed a class action in Florida federal court accusing the owners and developers of the MacDill Air Force Base of failing to provide them with sufficient housing due to mold infestations that they claim have caused economic losses and physical injuries (Joshua Lenz, et al. v. Michaels Organization LLC, et al., No. 19-cv-2970-T-30, M.D. Fla.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York appeals court on Nov. 27 reversed a lower court’s ruling and held that a trial court “improvidently granted” a motion to dismiss a groundwater contamination lawsuit because the plaintiffs’ delay in filing their case was not fatal to the petition because there was no prejudice involved (In the Matter of Norma Brooks, et al v. County of Suffolk, Nos. 2017-08563 and 2018-04121, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8594).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on Nov. 19 filed a brief in New York federal court in support of a motion in limine seeking to preclude Steve R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against the company in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, from asserting a defense under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at an evidentiary hearing scheduled for Dec. 12 (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, Nos. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Nov. 20 moved in California federal court for summary judgment dismissal of a glyphosate cancer lawsuit that is part of the Roundup Products Liability multidistrict litigation, contending that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden of causation because he did not identify a specific expert who was willing to testify that Roundup exposure caused the plaintiff’s unique form of leukemia (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Chavez v. Monsanto Co.], MDL No. 2741, No. 18-4855, N.D. Calif.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. on Nov. 15 filed a brief in Ohio federal court objecting to the consolidation of two cases from the multidistrict litigation related to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), which the court has combined for trial purposes. DuPont argues that the consolidation will “create significant risk that the jury’s verdict will be based not on the merits of the individual cases but rather on cumulative, unfair prejudice and confusion” (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Nov. 21 issued an unpublished opinion affirming a trial court’s decision to sustain two separate demurrers filed by defendants in a chemical exposure injury lawsuit on grounds that the claims were precluded by workers' compensation exclusivity principles (Frank Deville v. James R. Bloch, No. B291099, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 5th Div., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7753).
WILMINGTON, Del. — DowDuPont Inc. on Nov. 13 filed a brief in Delaware state court contending that the court should dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Chemours Co., a spinoff company of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., which contends that DowDuPont seeks to “avoid accountability for environmental costs through a campaign of transactional engineering” related to litigation brought against it for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also called C8. DowDuPont argues that the case belongs in arbitration (The Chemours Company v. DowDuPont Inc., No. 2019-0351, Del. Chanc.).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Nov. 26 denied a motion to dismiss a case brought by an environmental advocacy group that sued a beach club for allegedly contaminating local groundwater, concluding that the plaintiffs adequately stated a claim under federal law for contributing to disposal of hazardous waste that “may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health and the environment” (Conservation Law Foundation Inc. v. Longwood Venues & Destinations Inc., et al., No. 19-cv-11672, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205273).
MEXICO CITY — The government of Mexico on Nov. 25 refused to import 1,000 tons of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, stating in a press release that on the basis of scientific evidence, it was applying “the precautionary principle” to ban the chemical entering the country.
LOS ANGELES — A California state court judge on Nov. 21 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a resident against a gas company and its parent company regarding alleged damages from a methane leak in 2015, ruling that if a trier of fact determined that the seriousness of harm from a gas facility outweighed the benefit of the facility to the community, it would clash with a decision from the California Public Utility Commission (PUC), which has been granted jurisdiction over such decisions by the state Legislature (William Gandsey v. Southern California Gas Co., No. BC601844, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York appeals panel on Nov. 21 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that granted class certification to residents who sued a chemical company for injuries related to groundwater contamination caused by the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) as well as perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) (Jay Burdick, et al. v. Tonoga, Inc., No. 527117, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dist., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8498).
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas appeals court on Nov. 20 denied en banc reconsideration of a split decision in which a panel held that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) properly approved a permit for an underground injection control (UIC) well in a shale formation where hydraulic fracturing operations are conducted, despite residents’ concerns about groundwater contamination (Nicky E. Dyer, et al. v. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, et al., No. 03-17-0499, Texas App., 3rd Dist.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Nov. 21 sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator in California federal court, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for alleged failure to comply with federal law when it exempted an aquifer from the protections of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to allow the injection of hydraulic fracturing wastewater and other fluids into the aquifer (Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 19-7664, N.D. Calif.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 20 ruled that a district court has subject matter jurisdiction over a complaint brought by residents who contend that a hydraulic fracturing company is liable for drinking water contamination and other damages as a result of its construction of a pipeline in Susquehanna County, Pa. (Sheila Douglas, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., et al., No. 17-1830, M.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200888).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 19 remanded to state court a glyphosate cancer lawsuit which Monsanto Co. had removed to the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products liability, ruling that a state court could find that the company which hired the victim to use Roundup was negligent for faulty equipment that led to his exposure (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Trosclair v. Monsanto Co.], MDL No. 2741, No. 19-6396, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on Nov. 13 filed a letter in New York federal court contending that Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against the company in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, remains a flight risk and should not be permitted to change the terms of his home detention and electronic monitoring, which were imposed for his being in contempt of court (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, Nos. 11-691, and 19-561, S.D. N.Y.).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Nov. 7 partially granted and partially denied a motion for a protective order sought by three former employees of the city of Flint in the litigation pertaining to the city’s lead-contaminated water crisis, ruling that discovery in the case will proceed and the defendants may not assert their Fifth Amendment rights in advance. The judge granted the defendants’ request to limit attendance at the deposition and to temporarily seal the defendants’ written discovery and depositions (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 4 dismissed a chemical exposure and groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by a cancer victim, ruling that the plaintiff did not raise a genuine issue of material fact that the alleged contamination caused the injury (Marcos Pinares, et al. v. United Technologies Corp d/b/a Pratt & Whitney Group, No. 10-80883, S.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 7 dismissed a veteran’s appeal of the denial of his benefits for alleged exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange on grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction because the matter had been remanded to the U.S. Bureau of Veterans Affairs (Larry J. Wilson v. Robert L. Wilkie, No. 19-3855, Vet. Clms., 2019 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1980).