NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on Feb. 21 partially granted and partially denied motions to dismiss claims brought by a class of residents who contend that Chevron USA Inc. and related companies are liable for contaminating their groundwater with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), ruling that the plaintiffs have a valid strict liability claim but do not have a claim for punitive damages against all defendants (Joseph Robertson, et al. v. Chevron USA Inc., et al., No. 15-00874, E.D. La.).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 17 issued an order canceling oral arguments in a case brought by residents of the city of Flint, Mich., who seek damages for injuries from exposure to lead-contaminated drinking water, ruling that the court is “obligated to examine” the subject matter jurisdiction of the case (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Feb. 21 filed an answer in California federal court, arguing that the personal injury case brought against it related to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, contending that the allegations against the company are “vague and conclusory and comprise attorney characterizations” about a product that “repeatedly has been found to be safe to humans and the environment by regulators in the United States and around the world” (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
DETROIT — The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) on Feb. 17 issued a report in which it said the “disparate response” to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., was the result of “systemic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and the suburban area surrounding it” and said the state should establish a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to deal with racial discrimination.
MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge in Minnesota on Feb. 15 dismissed one cause of action but sustained the majority of a city’s groundwater contamination lawsuit against 3M Co., finding that the company’s argument that the city has not been deprived of its ability to use the groundwater is “unavailing” (City of Lake Elmo v. 3M Company, No. 16-2557, D. Minn.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22202).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on Feb. 6 partially dismissed some groundwater contamination claims brought by a class of residents against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. for allegedly contaminating their drinking water with perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), ruling that the plaintiffs’ trespass and nuisance claims were valid (Michelle Baker, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al., No. 16-917, N.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California couple on Feb. 9 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in California federal court, alleging that the husband of the couple has contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to the company’s herbicide Roundup, which contains that active ingredient glyphosate (Joseph E. Shipley, et al. v. Monsanto Co., No. 17-651, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan on Jan. 18 granted the application for an extension of time for an engineering firm to file a petition for writ of certiorari to appeal a decision by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) requires a lawsuit brought by a class of residents in Flint, Mich., pertaining to its lead-contaminated water crisis to be tried in state court (Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam PC v. Jennifer Mason, et al., No. 16A701, U.S. Sup.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A panel of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Feb. 9 reversed a trial court ruling and found that a real estate management company and its officials that were sued by a woman who contends that she was poisoned by lead-based paint while living in an apartment managed by the company were not entitled to summary judgment dismissing the claim (Shanece Coley v. 23rd Street Realty Company, et al., No. 2203, Sept. Term 2015, Md. Spec. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 160.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Feb. 15 transferred to the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California the case of a man who contends that his exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, caused him to develop NK/T-cell lymphoma (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The federal judge in Ohio 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 Feb. 14 issued an order vacating all current scheduling orders because the parties have informed the court that they have reached a global resolution of all cases comprising the MDL (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
TRENTON, N.J. — Environmental advocacy groups on Feb. 14 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court contending that the court should stay their groundwater contamination case against NL Industries Inc. pending appeal (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Some of the defendants sued by residents of Flint, Mich., in connection with that city’s lead-contaminated drinking water crisis on Feb. 15 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the court should consider decisions issued in other cases pertaining to the Flint water crisis (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).
SPOKANE, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 14 dismissed a counterclaim brought by Monsanto Co. and its affiliates against the city of Spokane, ruling that the company failed to state a claim for recovering costs from the city for remediating its groundwater, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-00201, E.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20846).
DENVER —A federal judge in Colorado on Feb. 14 ordered a third-party claims-processing company to cease communications with members of a settlement class in connection with a $375 million deal between residents and Dow Chemical Co. related to injuries suffered from exposure to nuclear waste (Merilyn Cook, et al. v. Rockwell International Corp., et al., No. 90-181, D. Colo.).
NEW YORK — A New York appellate court on Feb. 10 reversed a trial court ruling and concluded that a realty management company was entitled to summary judgment on a lead-poisoning claim on grounds that the plaintiff failed to show that his cognitive deficits were caused by exposure to lead-based paint (Adrian T., by his mother and natural guardian Filiberta T. v. Millshan Realty Co. LLC, No. 2751, 22004/06, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1047).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Multiple California residents, in separate lawsuits based on a boilerplate complaint, on Feb. 13 filed their third amended complaints against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PGE) alleging that they had suffered “irreparable harm health injuries as a direct result of being poisoned with chemicals” from PGE’s operations (Barbara A. Vinson v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 16-514, C.D. Calif.).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 7 dismissed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, its governor, various state employees and the city of Flint, Mich., for the lead-contaminated water crisis on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to comply with the notice requirements of a federal law pertaining to safe drinking water (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Feb. 3 dismissed many claims against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and two companies alleged to have contaminated local groundwater, but the judge said that two causes of action remained against Hercules Inc. (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Jan. 31 issued a conditional transfer order sending four glyphosate injury cases to the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, adding still more cases in which the plaintiffs allege that their exposure to the Roundup herbicide caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).