WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business industry groups on Sept. 28 moved in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking leave to file an amicus curiae brief in support of a manufacturer that is asking the high court to review a groundwater contamination ruling against it. The groups insist that they should be permitted to file their brief because the decision below "embraces a theory of personal jurisdiction that is directly at odds with this Court's controlling precedent" (Aladdin Manufacturing Corporation, et al. v. The Water Works and Sewer Board of the Town of Centre, et al., No. 20-231, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 21 issued a risk assessment for the pesticide chlorpyrifos, concluding that there are no acute or steady state dietary risks nor are there residential post-application concerns for children or adults, even as the agency admits that "the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved."
NEW YORK — A man who contends that E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. caused his cancer on Sept. 18 appealed to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a district court's decision that granted the company summary judgment dismissal of the case. The plaintiff did not file a brief with the notice of appeal (James H. Sarkees, et al. v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, et al., No. 20-3170, 2nd Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Sept. 18 partially dismissed a glyphosate lawsuit against Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., but ruled that the plaintiff could amend his complaint because Home Depot is asking the court to rely on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's factual "determination" that glyphosate is not a carcinogen (James Weeks v. Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., No. 19-6780, C.D. Calif.).
DETROIT — The city of Flint, Mich., on Sept. 21 filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that it should deny as "unwarranted" a motion filed by residents, the American Civil Liberties Union and local clergy who seek expedited consideration to ensure that the city complies with its obligations under an $87 million settlement agreement the parties reached related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A defendant in the multidistrict litigation for liability related to the firefighting agent aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) on Sept. 30 filed a statement of affirmative defenses in which it denies all liability and contends that the allegations in the complaint are "overly broad, vague, ambiguous, or conclusory, and include undefined terms that are susceptible of different meanings" (In re: Aqueous Film Forming Foam Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 18-2873, D. S.C.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hydraulic fracturing industry groups on Sept. 28 filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opposing a motion for emergency stay of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to rescind the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule that pertains to pollution caused by the flaring of methane during oil and gas operations, arguing that the stay is "unwarranted" because environmental groups will not suffer irreparable harm during the pendency of the litigation (State of California, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, No. 20-1357, Environmental Defense Fund, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 20-1359, [consolidated] D.C. Cir.).
NEW YORK — New Chapter 11 debtor Garrett Motion Inc. on Sept. 24 had its adversary action challenging the corporate restructuring that sent it into bankruptcy holding the historic asbestos liabilities of Honeywell International Inc. transferred to New York federal bankruptcy court after removing the action from state court (In re Garrett Motion Inc., et al. [Garrett Motion Inc., et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al.], Chapter 11 No. 20-bk-12212, Adv. Proc. No. 20-ap-1223, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court on Sept. 24 reversed an appellate court's decision and held that a proposed class of residents had not established that they were injured by the city of Chicago's unannounced replacement of lead pipes used as service lines for drinking water, which the plaintiffs said exposed them to the risk of lead exposure (Gordon Berry, et al. v. Chicago, No. 2020-124999, Ill. Sup., 2020 IL LEXIS 124999).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Sept. 14 transferred 13 more glyphosate cancer lawsuits to the In re: Roundup Products Liability multidistrict litigation in California federal court, bringing to 3,043 the total number of cases in the MDL that allege that Monsanto is liable for concealing the carcinogenicty of the herbicide Roundup (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, JPMDL).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on Sept. 21 granted an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment on an insured's bad faith failure to defend counterclaim after determining that the counterclaim is duplicative of the insured's breach of the duty to defend counterclaim asserted in a coverage dispute over liability for injuries sustained as the result of the insured's lead-smelting operations (Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Fluor Corp., et al., No. 16-429, E.D. Mo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173070).
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 21 ruled that plaintiffs in a personal injury/wrongful death lawsuit against the designer of a power plant sufficiently alleged liability and could proceed with their claims because the power plant was specifically designed and constructed to handle and process substances that are hazardous to the environment and human health (Alisa M. Gorchock v. URS Corporation – Ohio, No. 19-1323, Kerri Ann Bachner v. URS Corporation – Ohio, No. 19-1324, Thomas Cantwell v. URS Corporation -Ohio, No. 19-1325, Michael Gorchock v. URS Corporation -Ohio, No. 19-1329, W.D. Pa.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal judge in Delaware on Sept. 18 ruled that other than claims of negligence, the allegations brought by banana plantation workers in their injury class action against Dole Food Co. Inc. are governed by Ecuadorean law (Luis Antonio Aguilar Marquinez, et al. v. Dole Food Company Inc., et al., No. 12-695, D. Del.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice on Sept. 18 announced that Timothy Litzenburg, one of two attorneys who 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, was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Litzenburg's partner was sentenced to 12 months in prison (United States v. Timothy Litzenburg, No. 20-cr-13, W.D. Va.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York Attorney General Letitia James on Sept. 18 sued a landlord and his various rental companies in New York state court alleging that he has violated state and federal laws by failing to maintain his rental properties in a "lead-safe condition" and that he has allowed existing lead-based paint to deteriorate while at the same time he has "routinely" provided "deficient and false" disclosures to his tenants about the condition of the properties (The People of the State of New York v. Angel E. Dalfin, et al., No. 810362/2020, N.Y. Sup., Erie Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental groups on Sept. 15 moved in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an emergency stay of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to rescind the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule, arguing that the EPA administrator engaged in a "transparent effort to manufacture reasons to rescind protections" designed to reduce pollution caused by the flaring of methane during oil and gas operations (Environmental Defense Fund, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 20-1359, D.C. Cir.).
CHICAGO — A trial court correctly determined that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured for allegedly concealing information about its knowledge of toxic chemicals in a well used to supply a village's drinking water because the underlying lawsuits filed against the insured allege intentional acts for which no coverage is afforded, the majority of the First District Illinois Appellate Court said Sept. 14 (General Casualty Company of Wisconsin v. Burke Engineering Corp., et al., No. 1-19-1648, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 614).
NEW YORK — One of the attorneys on the defense team for 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, on Sept. 14 sent a letter to the New York federal judge presiding over Donziger's criminal contempt trial calling on her to recuse herself for "flagrant bias" and violations of judicial ethics (United States v. Donziger, Nos. 19-561 and 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An attorney for some of the plaintiffs who are part of the Roundup Products Liability multidistrict litigation against Monsanto Co. in California federal court sent a letter to the MDL judge on Sept. 14 to address issues pending related to the proposed settlement with Monsanto's parent company Bayer Corp., indicating that he intends to file numerous motions to advance the litigation because "the only thing that motivates Monsanto to settle is trial" (In re: Roundup Production Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A chicken processing plant in a Sept. 15 motion asked a Delaware state court to order plaintiffs who are suing the company for groundwater contamination to show cause why a "prejudicial" video published to the internet platform YouTube does not violate a gag order issued by the judge in 2018 (Gary and Anna-Marie Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. S18C-06-009, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).