Mealey's Toxic Torts

  • December 15, 2017

    EPA Seeks Input On Revisions To Drinking Water Rule Regarding Lead And Copper

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 14 sent a letter to local and state officials seeking input as the agency looks to make revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)m which applies to all community public water systems.

  • December 15, 2017

    Insurer’s Failure To Exclude Parties Was A Mistake, 3rd Circuit Says In Affirming

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed a New Jersey federal judge’s ruling in favor of an insurer in an environmental contamination dispute after determining that the insurer’s failure to exclude coverage to certain parties involved in the contamination dispute clearly was a mistake or scrivener’s error (Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. NL Environmental Management Services Inc., et al., Nos. 16-3262, 16-3293, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 25277).

  • December 14, 2017

    Proximity To Fracking Sites Linked To Damage To Fetuses, Researchers Find

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A study published in the journal “Science Advances” on Dec. 13 concludes that there is evidence that there are negative effects of in utero exposure to hydraulic fracturing sites when they are located within 1.86 miles of a mother’s residence based on the detection of nonmethane hydrocarbons, which cause personal injury — especially to fetuses.

  • December 13, 2017

    Man Dismisses Benzene Case Despite Recent Attempt To Reopen Discovery

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina man who had recently sought to reopen discovery in his lawsuit against a company that he said was liable for contaminating his groundwater with benzene on Dec. 4 voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit with prejudice in a one-paragraph document filed in federal court.  The stipulation of dismissal did not provide a reason for the man’s decision to drop the case (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).

  • December 13, 2017

    Parties In Groundwater Case Jointly Move For Appointment Of Guardian Ad Litem

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The settlement class and the defendants in a lawsuit over contaminated groundwater on Dec. 4 filed a brief in support of a joint motion to appoint a guardian ad litem because the settlement reached in the lawsuit will “affect the interests of minors and incompetents” (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va.).

  • December 13, 2017

    Defendant In Flint Water Case: Safe Drinking Water Is Not A Right, Claims Fail

    DETROIT — One of the defendants in the lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., alleging injuries from exposure to lead-contaminated drinking water on Dec. 8 filed a brief opposing the plaintiffs’ amended complaint on grounds that there is no constitutional right to safe drinking water and she is entitled to immunity (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).

  • December 13, 2017

    Flint Water Crisis Defendants: ‘Preservation Subpoenas’ Should Be Denied

    DETROIT — Engineering consultants who have been named as defendants in the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Dec. 12 filed a brief in Michigan federal court, arguing that the plaintiffs’ request for “preservation subpoenas” to preserve evidence should be denied (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).

  • December 12, 2017

    Sierra Club, Company Briefs Dispute Liability For Groundwater Contamination

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Sierra Club and a Virginia power company filed competing briefs on Dec. 7 in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that a lower court erred in its ruling on the environmental group’s groundwater contamination claim. The Sierra Club contends that the company should pay penalties and is liable for violations of federal law, while the company says it is not liable for any pollution (Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric & Power Company f/k/a Dominion Virginia Power, No. 17-1895, 4th Cir.).

  • December 11, 2017

    1st Circuit: Company Could Not Foresee Risk Of PCB-Containing Caulk

    BOSTON — Pharmacia Corp. could not have foreseen that an additive it manufactured containing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) that was used in caulk would have posed a risk to human health at the time the product was used in a Massachusetts middle school in 1969, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 8 in affirming a federal judge’s dismissal of a town’s claims for breach of warranty and negligent marketing (Town of Westport, et al. v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 17-1461, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24827).

  • December 7, 2017

    Halliburton Must Provide Information In Groundwater Case, Plaintiffs Say

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Residents who argue that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) is liable for contaminating their drinking water supply with perchlorate on Dec. 6 filed a brief in an Oklahoma federal court contending that HESI should be compelled to produce documents and other information (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).

  • December 6, 2017

    Panel Denies Rehearing Sought By Companies In California Lead-Based Paint Lawsuit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California appellate panel on Dec. 6 denied a petition for rehearing filed by former makers of lead-based paint that contended that the panel previously “misstated and omitted material facts” when it found that there was “substantial evidence” that the companies promoted paints containing white lead pigments for interior residential use (The People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company, et al., No. H040880, Calif. App., 6th Dist.).

  • December 4, 2017

    Michigan Residents Sue GM In State Court For Fraud Related To Tainted Groundwater

    HOWELL, Mich. — Michigan residents sued General Motors LLC in state court on Nov. 30, alleging that the company contaminated their drinking water by releasing hazardous materials into the groundwater at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds (MPG) facility (Terry Moore, et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. N/A, Mich. Cir., Livingston Co.).

  • December 4, 2017

    Glass Maker: Trial Not Warranted On Groundwater Contamination Allegations

    PITTSBURGH — Glass manufacturer PPG Industries Inc. on Nov. 21 filed a pretrial statement in Pennsylvania federal court, arguing that a trial is not needed in a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by environmental groups (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al. v. AS America Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.).

  • December 4, 2017

    Flint Water Crisis Defendant Says Case Against It Fails For Lack Of Jurisdiction

    DETROIT — One of the defendants sued in connection with the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Dec. 1 filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that it should be dismissed from the lawsuit brought by a class of residents for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).

  • December 1, 2017

    Discovery In Benzene Case Should Be Reopened, Man Says; More Witnesses Exist

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina man who contends that a company is liable for contaminating his groundwater with benzene on Nov. 27 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court seeking to reopen discovery on grounds that there is evidence that was “in large part” available during discovery in the form of witness testimony the defendants failed to pursue (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).

  • November 30, 2017

    Companies Seek Rehearing Of Lead Paint Ruling, Say They Lacked Knowledge Of Harm

    SAN FRANCISCO — Three companies that formerly made lead-based paint on Nov. 29 filed separate briefs in a California appeals court seeking rehearing of a ruling that reversed and remanded a $1.15 billion verdict against them but that also called for the trial court to recalculate the amount of the award.  The companies contend that rehearing is needed because the court actually misstated or omitted material facts when it found that there was “substantial evidence” that the companies promoted paints containing white lead pigments for interior residential use (The People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company, et al., No. H040880, Calif. App., 6th Dist.).

  • November 29, 2017

    Groups: Pipeline For Drinking Water ‘Illegal’; Drinking Water Contains Carcinogens

    LOS ANGELES — Two environmental advocacy groups on Nov. 28 sued the Trump administration in California federal court, alleging that it has illegally enabled a private company to construct a pipeline through a national monument and other public land, which will deplete a desert aquifer and harm human health by providing water to urban areas that contains hexavalent chromium (Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, et al., No. 17-08587, C.D. Calif.).

  • November 29, 2017

    COMMENTARY: When Strategies Go Awry: Part 2 in a Series on Cognitive Biases and Their Impact

    By Laura A. Frase

  • November 28, 2017

    Roundup MDL Plaintiffs: Monsanto’s Experts Not Using ‘Sound Science’

    SAN FRANCISCO — The plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation for the herbicide Roundup on Nov. 20 filed a brief in California federal court contending that “the methodology applied by Monsanto’s experts turns not on sound science but rather on whether the evidence at issue is favorable or unfavorable to Monsanto’s position” (In re:  Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).

  • November 28, 2017

    City Sufficiently States Public Nuisance Claim For PCB Contamination, Judge Says

    SAN DIEGO — The city of San Diego has standing to bring a nonrepresentative public nuisance claim against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 22, holding that the city sufficiently alleged that its municipal storm water system has been adversely affected by the presence of the chemical (City of San Diego, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15cv578, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193570).