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.).
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.).
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).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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).
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.).
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).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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).
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).
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.).