WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. solicitor general on Jan. 3 filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that review is needed in a consolidated groundwater contamination lawsuit to resolve a split among federal appellate courts concerning application of the Clean Water Act (CWA) regarding the discharge of pollutants into navigable water as well as into soil and groundwater (Kinder Morgan Energy, et al. v. Upstate Forever, et al., No. 18-268; County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al., No. 18-260, U.S. Sup.).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 27 dismissed a private nuisance case brought by residents against a hydraulic fracturing company for contaminating their groundwater, ruling that the statute of limitations had run on the claim (Sheila Russell, et al. v. Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, et al., No. 14-148, M.D. Pa.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 7 ordered defendants in a putative groundwater contamination class action to respond to the amended complaint that was filed more than six months ago even as the parties are engaged in settlement discussions related to some of the claims (Deretha Miller, et al. v. Fort Myers, et al., No. 18-195, M.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children on Dec. 19 released a federal action plan to reduce childhood lead exposure that calls on federal agencies to “make achieving environmental justice” part of their missions.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Dec. 20 ordered the tax accountant for Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, to produce Donziger’s tax records, ruling that despite repeated efforts by Chevron to obtain compliance, the accountant has refused (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The plaintiffs in the litigation related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Dec. 17 filed a brief in Michigan federal court, contending that it should deny a motion filed by one of the defendants, who seeks certification of the order that vacated a previous opinion that would allow him to file an interlocutory appeal (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Plaintiffs who allege that the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PGE) has contaminated local groundwater filed a brief in California federal court on Dec. 12 contending that PGE has not met its burden to show that the plaintiffs’ claims are moot and, therefore, the case should not be dismissed (San Francisco Herring Association, et al. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 14-04393, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Dec. 14 remanded a ruling by the Board of Veterans Appeals that denied a veteran’s claim for benefits related to his Agent Orange exposure, concluding that the board’s decision “appears to conflate” some requirements needed to prove the claim is valid and the decision “appears to run afoul” of precedent (John A. Herrera v. Robert L. Wilkie, No. 17-4087, U.S. App., Vet. Clms., 2018 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1659).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A putative class of residents on Dec. 10 filed an amended master consolidated class action complaint in New York federal court to add E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. to the list of companies the plaintiffs allege have contaminated local groundwater supplies with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (Michele Baker, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al., No. 16-917, N.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. on Dec. 3 moved in New York federal court to compel the tax accountant for Steven Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, to produce Donziger’s tax records (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Dec. 13 filed a brief in California federal court opposing a motion by plaintiffs who sought to vacate a transfer order that sent a man’s glyphosate cancer case to the multidistrict litigation for Roundup Products Liability, contending that the plaintiffs cannot dispute that the case in question shares common issues of fact with the cases that have already been included in the MDL (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Dec. 11 affirmed a decision by the Board of Veterans Appeals that denied a claim for benefits made by the widow of a veteran who contended that he was injured by exposure to Agent Orange (Sandra Huffines v. Robert L. Wilkie, No. 17-2848, U.S. App., Vet. Clms., 2018 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1643).
GREENVILLE, Miss. — The companies being sued for groundwater contamination as a result of chemicals released from their manufacturing plants on Nov. 28 filed a brief in Mississippi federal court contending that the court should deny the plaintiffs’ motion to disqualify the defendants’ counsel because the plaintiffs make “misleading and irrelevant allegations” (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).
MILWAUKEE — E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. on Dec. 4 filed a brief in Wisconsin federal court contending that the expert relied upon by plaintiffs who have sued the former makers of lead-based paint alleging injuries provides opinions that are “unreliable and irrelevant, and should therefore be excluded” (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A federal judge in Rhode Island on Dec. 11 partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state of Rhode Island against oil and chemical companies it contends are liable for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), ruling that the state had plausibly pleaded the majority of its claims (State of Rhode Island v. Atlantic Richfield Co., No. 17-204, D. R.I., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208452).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Dec. 7 issued a transfer order that sends some cases alleging injuries from aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina but leaves some cases in the federal courts where they were originally filed (In re: Aqueous Film Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation, No. 2873, JPMDL).
SAN DIEGO — A man who contends that two of Kellogg Co.’s cereal products are contaminated with glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, on Dec. 7 filed a putative class action complaint against the company in California federal court, arguing that the company engages in “false, deceptive, or, at a minimum, misleading half-truths” when it promotes the health benefits of these products (Mason Kein v. Kellogg Co., No. 18-2759, S.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 3 invited the U.S. solicitor general to file a brief in a groundwater contamination lawsuit in which a pipeline company argues that a lower court wrongly ruled that the Clean Water Act (CWA) applies not only to the discharge of pollutants into navigable water but also to the discharge of pollutants into soil and groundwater. The court has not yet granted certiorari (Kinder Morgan Energy, et al. v. Upstate Forever, et al., No. 18-268, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Nov. 30 filed a brief in California federal court, contending that a man who claims that his cancer prognosis gives him only six months to live should not be granted an expedited trial in his lawsuit claiming that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, caused his illness (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Nov. 29 ordered Chevron Corp. and Steven Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, to appear in district court for conference on what is called a forensic protocol in an effort to resolve discovery disputes between the parties (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).