SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Unified Port District’s claims for public nuisance and abatement stemming from polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the San Diego Bay survived motions for summary judgment filed by Monsanto Co. and others when a federal judge in California ruled March 26 that the plaintiff had standing to bring the public nuisance claim and that its request for abatement was ripe for adjudication (San Diego Unified Port District v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15-cv-578-WQH-AGS, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. 52723).
TRENTON, N.J. — Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc. (GPMI) and its successors on Feb. 27 agreed to pay $22 million to resolve claims against them brought by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) related to groundwater contamination from the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) that leaked from underground storage tanks (USTs) at various gas stations. The settlement was authorized by a New Jersey federal judge in a joint consent order (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Amerada Hess Corp., et al., No. 15-6468, D. N.J.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Jan. 6 filed a brief in California federal court contending that a cancer victim who sued the company for injuries allegedly caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, should not be permitted to amend his expert witness disclosure (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Chavez v. Monsanto Co.], MDL No. 2741, No. 18-4855, N.D. Calif.).
LEVERKUSEN, Germany — Bayer Corp. on March 25 released a report of an internal audit it performed regarding its decision to purchase the embattled Monsanto Co., which is facing mounting litigation related to claims that its herbicide Roundup causes cancer, and said that an independent auditor determined that Bayer’s due diligence procedures were “appropriate.”
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on March 23 ordered the pool of plaintiffs for the first bellwether trial related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., reduced due to “the circumstances caused by COVID-19,” saying the pool will include only the 14 plaintiffs who have already been deposed (In re Flint Water Cases, No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The state of California on March 23 filed an amicus curiae brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) does not preempt the claims brought against the Monsanto Co. by a cancer victim who won an $80,267,644.10 glyphosate verdict related to the herbicide Roundup (Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, Nos. 19-16636 and 19-16255, 9th Cir.).
ORANGEBURG, S.C. — A woman representing the estate of a deceased man on March 20 sued Monsanto Co. in South Carolina federal court, contending that it is responsible for negligent conduct and wrongful death in connection with the promotion of the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate (Wanda Copeland v. Monsanto Company, No. 20-1122, D. S.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Environmental groups on March 20 filed a petition for review in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals asking that the court hear their appeal of the interim review decision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in which the agency said it did not identify any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate, although there is a “potential ecological risk” to mammals and birds (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 20-70787, 9th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — Numerous plaintiffs sued chrome plating companies in California federal court on March 18, contending that they have violated the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and are responsible for groundwater contamination from hexavalent chromium and various solvents (Arconic Inc., et al. v. Cal-Tron Plating Inc., et al., No. 20-2586, C.D. Calif.).
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).