DOVER, Del. — The Delaware Supreme Court on March 15 ruled that a longstanding class action over alleged injuries from chemical exposure on banana plantations was not still active because class action tolling was ended when the Texas state court denied class action certification in 2010 in a case related to the one at hand, which involved some of the same plaintiffs (Luis Antonio Aguilar Marquinez, et al. v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 231, 2017, Del. Sup.; 2018 Del. LEXIS 108).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on March 16 stating that its investigation concluded that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not use allegedly flawed studies to estimate methane emissions or set new source performance standards for oil and natural gas production.
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on March 13 filed nine answers to individual cases in the multidistrict litigation for the herbicide Roundup, arguing that claims that glyphosate, the herbicide’s active ingredient, causes cancer are barred and that the plaintiffs cannot show “any scientifically reliable evidence” that Roundup is “defective or unreasonably dangerous” (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Gwendolyn Wilson, et al. v. Monsanto Co.], MDL No. 2741, No. 18-00992, N.D. Calif.).
LIBERTY, Texas — The state of Texas and the county in which a chemical plant that was damaged in Hurricane Harvey was located filed a lawsuit in state court on March 8, seeking more than $1 million in damages from the company that operated the plant due to chemical contamination of the air and local water supply (Liberty County, Texas, et al. v. Arkema Inc., No. CV1813081, Texas Dist., 253rd Jud. Dist., Liberty Co.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 9 denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and the appointment of an independent monitor in a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), ruling that the plaintiffs failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their disparate impact claim (Sherron Paige, et al. v. New York City Housing Authority, No. 17-7481, S.D. N.Y.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39168).
DENVER — A man who was injured in a car accident has asked the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a district court ruling and find that “an ambiguous disclosure” in an automobile policy was misleading despite the fact that it was accompanied by a disclaimer (Jeffrey Allen v. United Services Automobile Association, No. 17-1282, 10th Cir.).
LANCASTER, Pa. — A Pennsylvania couple filed a brief in state court on March 4 contending that their complaint against a chemical company asserts material facts that the husband was exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE) and methylene chloride (MC), which caused him to develop a form of cancer known as multiple myeloma (Paul Rogers, et al. v. Brenntag Northeast Inc., et al., No. 16-05583, Pa. Comm. Pls., Lancaster Co.).
DETROIT — A woman on March 2 sued Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his administration and a local hospital in Michigan federal court, seeking declaratory relief and monetary damages for causing “a catastrophic public health crisis” that led to the death of her mother, by exposing her and all of the residents of the city of Flint, Mich., to drinking water that was contaminated with Legionella bacteria (Cholyonda Brown v. Governor Rick Snyder, et al., No. 18-10726, E.D. Mich.).
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal on March 12 announced that three petroleum companies that are defendants in a lawsuit brought by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will pay a combined $196.5 million to settle claims that they are liable for contaminating the state’s groundwater with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 08-0312, S.D. N.Y.).
By Laura A. Frase
PHILADELPHIA — A group of Pennsylvania residents on March 2 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court arguing that “in order to prevent manifest injustice,” the district court should reconsider a previous ruling in the plaintiffs’ groundwater contamination lawsuit against a group of chemical companies because “the Plaintiffs are the victims of an indefinite stay . . . for which there is no basis” (Hanah Bates, et al. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-4961, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 2 affirmed a district court ruling that a municipal water district’s claims of nuisance, trespass and negligence arising from water contamination caused by Northrop Grumman Corp. were barred by the statute of limitations (Bethpage Water District v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, et al., No. 16-2592, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 5349).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association Inc. (WVHTA) on Feb. 28 filed a brief in West Virginia federal court contending that two restaurants that seek inclusions in a $151 million class settlement regarding groundwater contamination make allegations that they were not properly represented by counsel without “any evidentiary support” (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va.).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Four states filed a joint motion in Wyoming federal court on Feb. 26 asking the court to lift the stay in a case challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) methane flaring rule and requesting that the court expedite merits briefing (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Feb. 23 signed a final rule governing the emission standards for methane related to what are known as “fugitive emissions” from oil and gas operations, removing a requirement for completion of repairs in certain emergency situations and establishing a separate monitoring requirement for well sites on the Alaskan North Slope.
RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia power company filed a supplemental authority in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 27, contending that the Environmental Protection Agency should be permitted to comment in the Sierra Club’s groundwater contamination lawsuit against the company with regard to allegations that penalties are warranted for violations of federal law (Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric & Power Company f/k/a Dominion Virginia Power, No. 17-1895, 4th Cir.).
BRONX, N.Y. — In a verdict that was released for publication Feb. 20, a jury in New York awarded a mother and her daughter $58 million for injuries stemming from lead-based paint injuries while living in a premises operated by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The verdict was handed down Jan. 26 (Dakota Jade Taylor, by her mother and natural guardian Tiesha Jones, v. NYCHA, No. 350150/11, N.Y. Sup., Bronx Co., 2018 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 129).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The city of Flint, Mich., on Feb. 16 filed a reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court contending that the original claims brought by residents pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city are preempted by Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the city’s petition before the Supreme Court “raised questions of national importance warranting certiorari” (Daniel Wyant, et al. v. Melissa Mays, et al., No. 17-901, Jeff Wright, et al. v. Melissa Mays, et al., No. 17-666, and City of Flint, et al. v. Beatrice Boler, et al., No. 17-989, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Feb. 16 set aside and remanded a ruling of the Board of Veterans Appeals that denied a veteran’s claim for benefits related to Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), concluding that the board’s conclusion was “clearly erroneous” (Tammy Chambers v. David J. Shulkin, No. 17-242. U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2018 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 174).
DETROIT — A new group of residents from the city of Flint, Mich., on Feb. 27 joined the ongoing lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against state and local officials related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city by filing a complaint seeking an unspecified amount of punitive damages (In re Flint Water Cases [Helen Chapman, et al. v. Gov. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).