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.
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).
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.
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
By Laura A. Frase
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.).
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).