WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental advocacy groups on March 18 sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator in District of Columbia federal court, contending that they are liable for violations of federal law because the EPA continues to approve the manufacture of new variants of chemicals knowns as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (Environmental Defense Fund, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 20-762, D. D.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The cancer victim who won an $80,267,644.10 glyphosate verdict related to the herbicide Roundup on March 16 filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that Monsanto Co.’s argument that the jury’s decision was flawed and it was “infected with serious legal errors” that warrant reversal is “incorrect” (Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, Nos. 19-16636 and 19-16255, 9th Cir.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A panel of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, in a Feb. 24 unreported opinion affirmed a lower court’s ruling that awarded $1.8 million to a woman who was poisoned as a result of exposure to lead-based paint on grounds that her expert was properly allowed to testify at trial (Ronald Fishkind v. Lea Gardner, No. 3493, Md. Spec. App., 2020, Md. App. LEXIS 186).
TRENTON, N.J. — A cancer victim on Feb. 11 sued Monsanto Co. in New Jersey federal court, contending that he was injured by exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, and that the marketing and sale of glyphosate is based on scientific fraud (Anastasio Diakogiannakis v. Monsanto Co., No. 20-1669, D. N.J.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A defendant in the multidistrict litigation for the firefighting agent known as aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) on Feb. 27 filed a general denial and affirmative defenses in South Carolina federal court contending that the plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged grounds upon which any relief could be granted (In re: Aqueous Film Forming Foam, MDL 18-2873, D. S.C.).
MILWAUKEE — A federal judge in Wisconsin on Feb. 28 ruled that a former maker of lead-based paint was not entitled to a new trial on grounds that the jury could reasonably have found that white lead carbonate (WLC) in paint was dangerously defective because the ordinary customer would not have contemplated the risk that as paint deteriorated, the WLC would be released and it would mix with household dust where it might by ingested by children (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34315).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A New York resident on Feb. 11 sued two different landlords in state court contending that they are liable for damages related to poisoning from deteriorating lead-based paint in two separate premises where the plaintiff was exposed to the toxin (Demerius Bagby v. Pasquale R. Lucci, et al., No.801947/2020 N.Y. Sup., Erie Co.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 11 denied a motion by Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron in a court in Ecuador for residents’ injuries only to have it reversed, who sought to have the judge disqualified from hearing his case on grounds that he was not impartial. The judge said Donziger cited “nothing whatsoever” in support of his contention that the judge had an allegiance with Chevron (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on March 10 filed a brief in Ohio federal court arguing that, despite the fact that its medical expert was excluded from testifying at trial in a cancer lawsuit related to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), the expert should be permitted to testify in a joint trial for six cases that assert similar allegations and are included in same multidistrict litigation (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, S.D. Ohio).
BALTIMORE — An insurer’s lawsuit seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying lead paint exposure suit filed against its insureds will be stayed because a stay will allow the state court to answer essential factual questions necessary to make a coverage determination, a Maryland federal judge said March 10 (Allstate Insurance Co. v. William Baker, et al., No. 19-696, D. Md., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42301).
BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge on March 10 stayed an insurer’s lawsuit seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying lead paint exposure suit filed against its insureds after determining that a stay is appropriate to allow the state court to answer essential factual questions (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Asia Powe, et al., No. 19-1376, D. Md., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42296).
CONCORD, N.H. — The Supreme Court of New Hampshire on March 6 remanded a lead paint poisoning case to a trial court, determining that for an expert opinion on causation in a toxic tort case to be admissible, the expert is not required to base his or her opinion on the dose-response relationship (Sandra Moscicki v. Charles Leno, et al.; Charles Leno, et al. v. Sandra Moscicki, No. 2019-009, N.H. Sup., 2020 N.H. LEXIS 38).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Some of the defendants in the litigation pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on March 9 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the objections of state and city employees who seek a protective order to prevent production of certain materials obtained through investigative subpoenas are “baseless” (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A Delaware judge on March 9 approved a couple’s request for an inspection of a chicken processing plant which they say has contaminated the local groundwater with wastewater, as discovery continues in the case (Gary and Anna-Marie Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. S18C-06-009 ESB, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — No coverage is owed for an underlying consolidated suit alleging bodily injuries as a result of exposure to lead and lead dust in a shooting range because the policies’ lead contamination exclusion and pollution exclusion bar coverage, an insurer asserts in a March 6 complaint filed in California federal court (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London v. United Revolver Club of Sacramento Inc., No. 20-237, E.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A shareholder of Bayer AG, the parent of Monsanto Co., on March 6 filed a derivative complaint against Bayer’s chairman and other officials in New York state court seeking damages in connection with Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto, which the plaintiff says is “a disaster” because the company’s market capitalization has fallen by more than $60 billion following the negative effects of litigation related to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup (Rebecca R. Haussmann, derivatively on behalf of Bayer AG v. Werner Baumann, et al., No. 651500/2020, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A judge in California on Feb. 26 ruled that insurers owed no duty to provide coverage to the successor of a former maker of lead-based paint in relation to a $101.67 million settlement payment the company owes. The judge said that the California Insurance Code states that “an insurer is not liable for a loss caused by the willful act of the insured” (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, et al. v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company, et al., No. CGC-14-536731, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The general counsel for Bayer US LLC, the parent company of Monsanto Co., which estimates that it faces litigation from at least 42,700 plaintiffs related to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, joined corporate officers from other companies in signing a letter sent to the Office of the U.S. Courts, urging it to amend the federal rules of evidence regarding the admissibility of expert testimony.
CHICAGO — Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) and other former makers of lead-based paint on Feb. 27 filed a letter containing supplemental authority with the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asking it to consider a decision in another circuit court in support of ARCO’s motion to remand a lead-paint poisoning case to a lower court (Sherrie Baker, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 19-3159, 7th Cir.).
DETROIT — The U.S. government on March 4 filed in Michigan federal court a notice of nonparties at fault in a lawsuit brought by residents of the city of Flint, Mich., who seek $722.4 million under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for the Environmental Protection Agency’s alleged mishandling of the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city. The government insists that city and state officials in Michigan are to blame for the crisis (In re FTCA Flint Water Cases, No. 17-11218, E.D. Mich.).