DETROIT — Two employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Nov. 21 filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that the district court should strike allegations of involuntary manslaughter and order sanctions against the class of residents suing them in connection with the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city of Flint, Mich. (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A magistrate judge in New York federal court on Nov. 20 issued a report and recommendation denying remand of a groundwater contamination class action to state court, determining that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that a sufficient number of class members are citizens of the state of New York (Isaac Green, et al. v. The 3M Company, et al., No. 17-2566, E.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192795).
CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Manuel announced Nov. 20 that the city filed a notice of intent to sue U.S. Steel for contamination to drinking water as a result of two spills from the company’s Portage, Ind., facility that reached Lake Michigan earlier this year.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A federal judge in Indiana on Nov. 16 ruled that a group of plaintiffs asserting claims of personal injury from exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride, benzene and other chemicals is not entitled to class certification (Opal Millman v. United Technologies Corporation, et al., No. 16-312, N.D. Ind.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189638).
TRENTON, N.J. — NL Industries Inc. on Nov. 14 sent a letter to the New Jersey federal judge presiding over a groundwater contamination lawsuit, contending that the plaintiffs’ argument that a ruling from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is relevant to the case at hand is “clearly distinguishable from the present case and has little relevance” (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on Nov. 7 remanded a groundwater contamination lawsuit to Alabama state court, ruling that it lacked jurisdiction over the case and finding that the defendants failed to demonstrate that the plaintiff fraudulently joined a local defendant (The Waters Works and Sewer Board of the Town of Centre v. 3M Company, et al., No. 17-1026, N.D. Ala.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184161).
NEW YORK — The New York Department of Investigation (DOI) on Nov. 15 issued a report indicating that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) failed to conduct mandatory safety inspections for lead paint during a four-year period beginning in 2013 but falsified reports to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stating that the NYCHA was in compliance with federal laws pertaining to those inspections.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Nov. 6 ordered a hearing on evidentiary issues in a groundwater contamination lawsuit, as a North Carolina resident and the company he contends dumped toxic chemicals in his water supply continue to debate what evidence is admissible in the case (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Nov. 10 filed a brief in the multidistrict litigation for the herbicide Roundup in California federal court, arguing that the evidence offered by the plaintiffs’ expert concerning the carcinogenic properties of Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate is “unreliable” and constitutes “junk science” (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Monsanto Co. and numerous agricultural trade groups on Nov. 15 filed a lawsuit in California federal court against two state agencies and their directors, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent them from “mandating false, misleading, and highly controversial cancer warnings concerning the herbicide glyphosate” (National Association of Wheat Growers, et al. v. Lauren Zeise, et al., No. 17-at-1224, E.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — The federal judge in New York presiding over litigation stemming from groundwater contamination caused by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on Nov. 13 recommended remanding the Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) lawsuit to California federal court, finding that all consolidated pretrial proceedings in the suit have been completed (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products liability Litigation, MDL 1358, Orange County Water District v. Unocal, et al., No. 04 Civ. 4968, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187458).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on Nov. 14 reversed and remanded a $1.15 billion verdict against the former makers of lead paint in a public nuisance lawsuit brought by the state of California, concluding that “substantial evidences does not support causation as to residences built after 1950.” Upon remand, the panel directed the trial court to recalculate the amount of the award to limit it to the amount necessary to cover the cost of remediating pre-1951 homes (The People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company, et al., No. H040880, Calif. App., 6th Dist.).
DETROIT — Two employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Nov. 10 moved in Michigan federal court to strike portions of an amended complaint filed by residents of the city of Flint, Mich., contending that the plaintiffs “inaccurately allege that Defendants have been charged with involuntary manslaughter” in connection with the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental advocacy groups on Nov. 3 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court seeking summary judgment and a declaration that the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency has violated federal law by failing to perform his “nondiscretionary duty to grant or deny” the groups’ petitions, which challenge approval of a permit for a petrochemical manufacturing facility operated by ExxonMobil (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-1439, D. D.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appellate panel on Nov. 6 vacated a trial court’s decision and ruled that a lawsuit filed by an environmental advocacy organization against Dow Agrosciences LLC related to alleged exposure to chemicals that cause cancer should be moved to a different venue, as requested by the company (Dow Agrosciences LLC v. The Superior Court of Alameda County, No. A150854, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
PITTSBURGH — Glass manufacturer PPG Industries Inc. on Oct. 16 filed a brief in a Pennsylvania federal court, contending that “several of the Plaintiffs’ purported material facts consist of inadmissible speculation” in relation to groundwater contamination claims that environmental groups have brought against the company (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.).
MILWAUKEE — American Cyanamid Co., which is one of the companies being sued by plaintiffs who contend that they are liable for lead-paint poisoning, on Nov. 3 filed a brief in Wisconsin federal court responding to one of the plaintiffs’ statement of facts and arguing that the claims “are barred in whole or in part due to a failure to mitigate his damages” (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Nov. 1 denied ExxonMobil Corp.’s and ExxonMobil Oil Corp.’s motion for partial summary judgment regarding damages associated with remediation costs pertaining to groundwater contamination caused by methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), concluding that the defendants’ proposed alternative burden for determining proper remediation was “not supported by good cause” (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Amerada Hess Corporation, No. 15-6468, D. N.J.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180986).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland appeals panel on Nov. 1 affirmed a trial court’s ruling that awarded damages to a man who contended that he was poisoned by lead paint while living in an apartment, concluding that the evidence indicated a causal relationship between lead exposure and the injuries the plaintiff demonstrated (Stanley Sugarman, et al. v. Chauncey Liles, Jr., No. 1460, Md. Spec. App., Sept. Term 2016; 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 1091).
TORONTO — The Ontario Court of Appeals on Oct. 31 found that in the interests of justice, a group of Ecuadorian claimants, who are attempting to enforce a $9.5 billion environmental damage ruling in their favor, should not be required to post security costs and denied a request by Chevron Corp. and its subsidiary seeking costs (Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, No. 2017 ONCA 827, Ontario App.).