SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 issued a mandate officially dismissing a couple’s groundwater contamination case against Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE). The plaintiffs had argued that their aquifer was tainted with arsenic and uranium (Barbara A. Vinson v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 18-56382, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Sept. 22 filed a brief in a California appeals court contending that it should reverse a damages judgment in favor of a couple who won $86,742,310 for cancer injuries from glyphosate against Monsanto after it was reduced from the original verdict of $2,055,206,172.77. The company insists that two briefs filed by amici show that punitive damages should be prohibited in the case (Alva Pilliod, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. A158228, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The co-lead counsel for the defendants in the multidistrict litigation for liability related to the firefighting agent aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) on Oct. 5 filed a brief in South Carolina federal court contending that its discovery requests served on the U.S. government are “entirely proper” (In re: Aqueous Film Forming Foam Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 18-2873, D. S.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The glyphosate cancer victim who won $78,506,418.35 against the company, only to have it reduced on appeal to $20,506,418.64, on Sept. 28 filed a reply brief in the California Supreme Court supporting review of his petition on cross-appeal on grounds that the appellate court erred when it reduced the punitive damages award. Specifically, he argues that he should be compensated for the loss of enjoyment of life that was caused by Monsanto Co.’s shortening of his life expectancy (DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Co., No. S264158, Calif. Sup.).
LAS VEGAS — Monsanto Co. on Oct. 15 filed an answer in Nevada federal court denying allegations against it brought by a woman who contends that she developed cancer as a result of using the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate. Monsanto maintains that the claims are barred because the plaintiffs cannot proffer any scientifically reliable evidence that the Roundup she used was defective or “unreasonably dangerous” (Alyne Griffiths v. Monsanto Company, No. 1917, D. Nev.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should deny a petition for writ of mandamus filed by the 3M Co. and certain of its current and former executive officers in an investor class action claiming that the defendants concealed the truth about the company’s exposure to liability associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in violation of federal securities laws because a federal district court committed no clear error in denying the petitioners’ request to transfer the action to Minnesota federal court, shareholders argue in an Oct. 13 response brief (In re 3M Co., et al., No. 20-2864, 3rd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental groups on Oct. 13 filed a petition in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule pertaining to national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (Rise St. James, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 20-1417, D.C. Cir.).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The U.S. government on Oct. 13 moved in Michigan federal court seeking certification of an interlocutory appeal of that court’s ruling that denied the government’s motion to dismiss a complaint brought by a resident of Flint, Mich., related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city. The government says the interlocutory appeal should be certified because the ruling “involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and  an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation” (Leeanne Walters v. City of Flint and Aasiyah Meeks v. United States of America, No. 17-10164, [consolidated] E.D. Mich.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. on Oct. 14 filed an answer in a glyphosate cancer case that has been transferred to the multidistrict litigation for the herbicide Roundup in California federal court, denying allegations that it is liable for a woman’s wrongful death and contending that the claim against it is barred because the plaintiff cannot provide any scientifically reliable evidence that Roundup was defective or unreasonably dangerous (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Bowen v. Monsanto], MDL 2741, No. 20-6773, N.D. Calif.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Oct. 8 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a customer who sued Costco Wholesale Corp. alleging unfair business practices in connection with its sale of the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate. The judge ruled that the plaintiff failed to “plausibly allege Costco personally participated in and exercised unbridled control over an unfair practice” (Paul Taylor v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, No. 20-655, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187348).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Oct. 13 granted a motion by residents of Flint, Mich., and enforced an $87 million settlement agreement that residents, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and local clergy reached with the city related to the lead-contaminated water crisis there. The judge said the plaintiffs showed that they were entitled to relief (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A couple on Oct. 9 sued Monsanto Co. in Tennessee federal court contending that the company is liable for the husband’s cancer as a result of manufacturing the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate and the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA). The plaintiffs argue that Monsanto has falsely represented that Roundup is safe (Earl Redmond, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 20-875, M.D. Tenn.).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A chicken processing plant on Oct. 9 filed a renewed motion to dismiss a groundwater contamination complaint against it in Delaware state court, arguing that in light of new evidence the plaintiffs lack subject matter jurisdiction because the claims they bring are “overwhelmingly equitable,” and can be heard only by a chancellor in a different court (Gary and Anna-Marie Cuppels, et al. v. Mountaire Corporation, et al., No. S18C-06-009, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).
ST. LOUIS — A couple sued Monsanto Co. on Oct. 12 in Missouri federal court, contending that the company is liable for causing the husband’s cancer as a result of his exposure to the herbicide Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate. The couple maintains that Monsanto misrepresented the safety of glyphosate and the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA) through “active fraudulent concealment” (Larry L. Cudaback, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 20-1467, E.D. Mo.).
NEW ORLEANS — A lack of reliable expert testimony showing that a man was injured by exposure to oil and chemical dispersants while helping clean up the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion dooms his claims against the rig operators, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed in affirming exclusion of an expert’s opinions and summary judgment for the operators on Oct. 12 (Blaine McGill v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 19-60849, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32208).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge in Wyoming on Oct. 8 vacated the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule that requires oil and gas producers to use currently available technologies and processes to cut flaring in half at oil wells on public and tribal lands in an effort to reduce methane pollution on grounds that it is “arbitrary and capricious” (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).
CHICAGO — A man who won a $700,000 jury award against the former makers of lead-based paint filed a response brief in the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 7, arguing that there is no legal or factual basis either to reverse the judgment or to order a new trial (Glenn Burton, et al. v. Armstrong Containers Inc., et al., No. 20-1774, 7th Cir.).
DETROIT — A group of Flint, Mich., residents on Oct. 7 filed a complaint in Michigan federal court in the ongoing litigation related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city, naming as defendants J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo Bank National Association and a brokerage investment firm for their roles in underwriting a municipal bond sale related to the city’s move to change its water supply, which resulted in the contamination at issue (LeeAnne Walters v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., et al., No. 20-12726, E.D. Mich.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of California, along with other states and municipalities, on Oct. 5 filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not provided reasoned explanations for its decision to rescind the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule that pertains to pollution caused by the flaring of methane during oil and gas operations and that without the rule "irreparable harm" will be caused (State of 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.).
WARREN, Ohio — A divided Ohio appeals panel on Sept. 30 affirmed a trial court's decision to issue a default judgment against a church and its pastor for violating drinking water regulations related to a private well that is owned and operated by the church, concluding that there is no statutory exemption from monitoring requirements when the public water system involves a church (State of Ohio ex rel. Dave Yost v. Church of Troy, et al., No. 2019-G-0203, Ohio App., 11th Dist., 2020 Ohio App. LEXIS 3559).