Mealey's Toxic Torts

  • December 18, 2020

    Couple Seeks Damages, Says Monsanto Caused Cancer By Making Roundup, PCBs

    HILO, Hawaii — A couple sued Monsanto Co. and some of its affiliates in Hawaii state court on Nov. 3 alleging that it is liable for causing his cancer as a result of its production of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate (Dudley Caravalho, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 3CCV-20-0000411, Hawaii Cir., 3rd Cir.).

  • December 17, 2020

    Home Depot To Pay $20.75M To Settle Lead-Based Paint Remediation Violations

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice on Dec. 17 announced a proposed nationwide settlement with Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. for $20.75 million, resolving alleged violations of federal laws regarding lead-based paint renovations performed by Home Depot’s contractors (United States, et al. v. Home Depot USA Inc., No. 20-99999, N.D. Ga.).

  • December 17, 2020

    Judge Approves $3.5M Deal To Settle TCE Groundwater Contamination Class Claims

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Dec. 15 approved a groundwater contamination settlement in which companies that deny liability will pay $3.5 million for medical consultations and remediation and mitigation of a toxic plume of trichloroethylene (TCE) (Adam Cox, et al. v. Ametek Inc., et al., No. 17-597, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 235651).

  • December 17, 2020

    Donziger Says He Was ‘Impermissibly Charged’ With Criminal Contempt

    NEW YORK — 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 Dec. 16 moved in New York federal court to dismiss criminal contempt claims brought against him by the U.S. government, arguing that he was “impermissibly charged” while he was properly appealing the civil case Chevron brought against him (United States v. Steven Donziger, Nos. 19-cr-561 and 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).

  • December 17, 2020

    Residents:  PFAS Injury Classes Proper Based On Extent Of Contamination

    CONCORD, N.H. — Residents who have sued the makers of per- and polyfluoroalkylsubstances (PFAS), including perfluorooctanoic acid (C8), on Dec. 14 filed a brief in New Hampshire federal court seeking certification of a class for medical monitoring and another class for property damage based on the extent of the contamination and the fact that there are no “uninjured” parties (Kevin Brown, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, et al., No. 16-242, D. N.H.).

  • December 16, 2020

    Residents: Hearing Needed To Assess Fairness Of Flint Lead Water Settlement

    DETROIT — A group of residents suing the city of Flint, Mich., for lead-contaminated water filed a brief on Dec. 10 in Michigan federal court challenging the allocation of settlement proceeds on grounds that the court cannot assess the fairness of the settlement without a full and open hearing about the availability of bone lead testing to individual plaintiffs (In re Flint Water Cases [Helen Chapman, et al. v. City of Flint, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).

  • December 16, 2020

    Judge: Agency Must Provide Documents Under FOIA Related To NEPA Rulemaking

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A federal judge in Virginia on Dec. 14 ruled that a federal environmental agency must provide documents that “in any way relate” to the rulemaking that resulted in the update to the regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as per a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) made by an environmental law group (Southern Environmental Law Center v. Council on Environmental Quality, No. 18-113, W.D. Va.).

  • December 16, 2020

    Aqueous Film Defendants: Plaintiffs Lack Standing To Sue For PFAS Injury

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Two companies that have been sued in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) for the firefighting agent aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) on Dec. 15 filed a general denial of claims, contending that the plaintiffs lack standing to sue them for injuries (In re: Aqueous Film Forming Foam Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 18-2873, D. S.C.).

  • December 15, 2020

    Residents, Pipeline Company Settle Water Contamination Case, Offer No Specifics

    AUSTIN, Texas — The residents and the hydraulic fracturing pipeline company they were suing for contamination of an aquifer filed a joint motion to dismiss the case on Dec. 14 after reaching a settlement that did not disclose the specifics of the agreement (Dr. Teri Albright, et al. v. Permian Highway Pipeline LLC, et al., No. 20-651, W.D. Texas).

  • December 15, 2020

    Delaware High Court Affirms That Chemours Cannot Sue DuPont For PFAS Liability

    WILMINGTON, Del. — The Delaware Supreme Court on Dec. 15 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of DowDuPont Inc. in the lawsuit brought against it by The Chemours Co. related to liability for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  In a one-page order that provided no reasoning, the Supreme Court upheld the decision that Chemours’ claims were “muted” because it signed an amendment to the separation agreement that E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. entered with DowDuPont which spun off Chemours and saddled it with the liability in question (The Chemours Company v. DowDuPont Inc., No. 147, 2020, Del. Sup.).

  • December 14, 2020

    Judge: Government Can Recover $49.8M For Cleanup Of Acid Sludge Contamination

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Dec. 10 awarded summary judgment to the federal government in a cost-recovery suit brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act against companies that manufactured aviation gas (avgas) at a site during World War II, finding that the government can pursue cost recovery under the statute and that there are not triable issues as to whether the costs it incurred were from cleanup activities that are consistent with the National Contingency Plan (NCP).

  • December 10, 2020

    California, Others: EPA Lacks Reasoned Explanation For Rescinding Methane Rule

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of California and others filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7, contending that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cannot offer a reasoned explanation for its decision to rescind the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule, which regulates venting and flaring on hydraulic fracturing operations (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.).

  • December 09, 2020

    Attorneys Spar At 7th Circuit Over Wisconsin Law, Liability For Injuries From Lead

    CHICAGO — Attorneys for the former makers of lead-based paint and those for individuals suing them for injuries debated Dec. 9 before the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals the correct application of Wisconsin’s risk-contribution theory, each side insisting that the ruling in Thomas v. Mallet, 701 N.W.2d 523 (2005), supports its particular position (Glenn Burton, et al. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., et al., No. 20-1774, 7th Cir.).

  • December 07, 2020

    Government:  Interlocutory Appeal Of Flint Ruling Needed; Legal Issues ‘Rare’

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The U.S. government on Nov. 19 filed a reply brief in Michigan federal court contending it should grant a motion for interlocutory appeal of a court order denying the government’s motion to dismiss a Flint water crisis lawsuit. The government says that the legal issues confronted in the order were “rare and with little to no precedent” (Leeanne Walters v. Flint and Aasiyah Meeks v. United States, No. 17-10164 [consolidated], E.D. Mich.).

  • December 07, 2020

    Company:  Judge Should Not Allow Amendment To Expert’s Report In Chemical Case

    NEW ORLEANS — A forestry service company on Nov. 25 filed a brief in Louisiana federal court arguing that a plaintiff couple that is suing it and a timber company for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to chemicals should not be allowed to supplement the report of the couple’s expert because doing so would “unduly delay” the case (Dorothy Gail Collett, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Company, et al., No. 19-11144, E.D. La.).

  • December 04, 2020

    Migrant Workers: Companies’ Spraying Of Toxic Chemicals Caused Injuries

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A group of migrant workers on Dec. 2 sued an agriculture company, a chemical company and a pesticide applicator in Illinois federal court contending that they are liable for injuries from toxic chemicals that were sprayed on the workers while they were detasseling corn in Illinois fields (Hada Garcia, et al. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., et al., No. 20-3322, C.D. Ill.).

  • December 04, 2020

    Plaintiffs:  Certification Of Subclass For Minors Needed In Flint Water Litigation

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The class plaintiffs in the Flint, Mich., lead-contaminated water crisis litigation on Nov. 20 filed a supplemental brief in Michigan federal court contending that a subclass should be certified for minors to ensure that unrepresented children can recover for injuries sustained after having been exposed to hazardous water (In re Flint Water Cases [Elnora Carthan, et al. v. Rick Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).

  • December 04, 2020

    Judge:  Pollution Case Valid; Claims For Negligence, Ultrahazardous Activity Fail

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 20 partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit for groundwater contamination and hazardous waste contamination, ruling that the plaintiff had standing to bring federal claims against Pacific Gas & Electric Co., but state law claims failed because the plaintiff could not show that the company engaged in ultrahazardous activity (Dan Clarke v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 20-4629, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218241).

  • December 04, 2020

    Justice:  Issues Of Fact Exist In Cancer Victim’s Asbestos Injury Lawsuit

    NEW YORK — A New York state justice on Nov. 16 denied a motion to dismiss a lung cancer victim’s asbestos injury lawsuit, ruling that his widow had raised genuine issues of fact and that contrary opinions by medical experts weighed against dismissal of the case (Laura Avakian, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 190036/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 9464).

  • December 03, 2020

    Agency:  PFAS Pollution Came From 3M And DuPont, Which Tried To Avoid Liability

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — The Orange County Water District (OCWD) and other affiliated parties on Dec. 1 sued 3M Co., E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and others in California state court contending that they are liable for contaminating a local aquifer with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and arguing that state laws were violated when DuPont transferred assets to a spinoff company to shield itself from liability (Orange County Water District, et al. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 30-2020-01172419-CU-PL-CXC, Calif. Super., Orange Co.).

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