BALTIMORE — The mayor and City Council of Baltimore on Feb. 19 sued Monsanto Co. and its subsidiaries in Maryland federal court, claiming that the companies are liable for contaminating stormwater and bodies of water in the state with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 19-cv-00483, D. Md.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — 3M Co. and other manufacturers of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances on Feb. 14 moved in Ohio federal court to dismiss a lawsuit in which a man contends that he has been injured as a result of exposure to aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) used to fight chemical fires, contending that the court lacks jurisdiction over the matter (Kevin Hardwick v. 3M Company, et al., No. 18-1185, S.D. Ohio).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Feb. 18 ruled that the plaintiffs in lawsuits against Monsanto Co. alleging that they developed cancer as a result of exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, may not introduce a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as evidence in Phase 1 of their trial, which focuses solely on the issue of causation (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 19 granted in part a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that upheld a summary judgment award to five environmental groups that accused the county of Maui of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) when discharging pollutants from its wells into the Pacific Ocean, but limited its review to whether the act requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater (County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al., No. 18-260, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 14 released an action plan in which it said it would begin the steps to propose designating perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) as “hazardous substances” as it develops groundwater cleanup recommendations for those chemicals at contaminated sites.
BERKELEY, Calif. — A team of researchers led by a scientist at the University of California Berkeley released a study on Feb. 5 that concludes that “the overall meta-relative risk” of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in a person exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) is 41 percent higher than in those who are not exposed to the chemical.
MILWAUKEE — Paint companies sued by people who contend that they have suffered injuries from exposure to lead-based paint filed a brief in a Wisconsin federal court on Feb. 4, asking it to reconsider and/or clarify an order it issued that could be read to exclude the testimony of one of the companies’ experts (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Plaintiffs in the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Jan. 29 filed a supplemental brief in Michigan federal court arguing that they should be allowed to amend their complaint against Michigan state employees because they assert detailed allegations against individuals that “shock the conscience” (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 6 issued a final order indicating that the woman who brought a claim for retaliation under the Michigan Whistleblowers Protection Act (WPA) in the aftermath of the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis will seek $857,000 in damages at trial (Natasha Henderson v. Flint, et al., No. 16-11648, E.D. Mich.).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A putative class on Feb. 13 sued Monsanto Co. in Missouri federal court seeking compensation for money spent on the herbicide Roundup, which the class contends Monsanto falsely advertised as safe for humans when the company knew that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, targets an enzyme used by beneficial gut bacteria that is “critical” to human health (Lisa Jones, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 19-102, W.D. Mo).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Feb. 12 ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency directive that bars recipients of EPA grants from serving on that agency’s federal advisory committees does not violate federal law pertaining to conflicts of interest (Physicians for Social Responsibility, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-2742, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22276).
ST. LOUIS — A Colorado cancer victim on Feb. 11 sued Monsanto Co. in Missouri federal court, alleging that it committed “scientific fraud” and “colluded” with the Environmental Protection Agency in promoting as safe the herbicide Roundup, which contains that active ingredient glyphosate. The attorneys representing the man have filed identical complaints on behalf of multiple plaintiffs (Steven Burchfield v. Monsanto Co., No. 19-205, E.D. Mo.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Feb. 11 ordered Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, to comply with a discovery request Chevron made in which it seeks to seize, “image” and search all of Donziger’s electronic devices and online accounts (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
DETROIT — A group of Flint, Mich., residents, former city employees and state employees who reached an $87 million settlement related to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint on Feb. 12 issued a stipulation and notice that they are modifying the terms of the settlement to prioritize lead service line replacement at 9,036 homes that are most likely to have lead or galvanized steel service lines (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).
GREENVILLE, Miss. — A federal judge in Mississippi on Feb. 11 partially granted and partially denied defendants’ motions to dismiss the testimony of two experts in a groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that their opinions were admissible except with regard to impaired values of properties and the diminution of the value of the properties in question (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-053, N.D. Miss.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal claims court judge on Feb. 8 ruled that the court lacked jurisdiction over a suit brought by the current owner of a Superfund site in Pennsylvania against the federal government under the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the action was barred by the six-year statute of limitations (Whiteland Holdings L.P., et al. v. United States, No. 18-1081L, Fed. Clms., 2019 U.S. Claims LEXIS 56).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Feb. 11 partially dismissed a lead-contaminated drinking water complaint against a school, ruling that the plaintiff may bring a claim for violation of bodily integrity, but he may not assert a private right of action because he is not a student in the school and he did not name a student as one of the plaintiffs (Michael Hootstein v. Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, No. 17-30146, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21793).
SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 6 issued two orders calling for a rehearing of oral arguments en banc regarding a split decision that found that there was no justification for the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to maintain a tolerance for the chemical chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children (League of United Latin American Citizens, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 17-71636, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3715).
NEW YORK — Steven R. Donziger, the attorney who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. in a court in Ecuador for injuries only to have it reversed, on Jan. 29 filed a brief in New York federal court opposing Chevron’s motion for permission to seize, “image” and search all of his electronic devices and online accounts on grounds that it is “entirely unjustified” (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
MILWAUKEE — A federal judge in Wisconsin on Jan. 25 admitted some and excluded other experts for both the plaintiffs and the defendant paint companies being sued for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to lead-based paint (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12286).