Mealey's Toxic Torts

  • May 16, 2024

    Seattle PCB Plaintiffs Object To Monsanto’s Bid For Relief From $857M Verdict

    SEATTLE — The plaintiffs who won an $857 million in combined damages against Monsanto Co. for injuries from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a Seattle area school filed a brief on May 15 in response to Monsanto’s motion for relief from the judgment, objecting to Monsanto’s attempt to obtain substantive relief by combining four distinct motions in one pleading.

  • May 16, 2024

    Parties Say Their Roundup Case Was Wrongly Dismissed, Claims Were ‘Misunderstood’

    SAN FRANCISCO — On May 15, four people who contend that the herbicide Roundup causes cancer filed an appeal brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that reversal of a lower court’s decision dismissing the case is needed because the lower court “misunderstood the claims,” which are “fundamentally different” from an exposure case.

  • May 15, 2024

    Parties Debate Amount Of Penalty Owed In Glass Maker’s Water Pollution Case

    PITTSBURGH — A glass manufacturer that is a defendant in a long-running groundwater contamination lawsuit has filed a trial brief in Pennsylvania federal court arguing that, on the record and under the law, it is not appropriate to impose any penalty on the company in excess of the $1.2 million penalty it has already paid.  The same day, the environmental group bringing the case filed its trial brief contending that the court should impose a civil penalty of $50 million in excess of the economic benefit the glass maker has enjoyed as a result of its violations.

  • May 15, 2024

    California City Sues Dow, Shell For TCP Pollution In Drinking Water Wells

    LOS ANGELES — Pomona, Calif., has sued the Dow Chemical Co. and Shell USA Inc. in California federal court arguing that they are liable for groundwater contamination from 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP), which they “knowingly and willfully manufactured” when they knew or should have known that the toxic chemical pollutes drinking water supplies.

  • May 15, 2024

    Judges Say Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs Not Entitled To Appeal Jury Trial Ruling

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Four federal judges in North Carolina have issued a combined order and denied a bid by the plaintiffs in the Camp Lejeune water crisis litigation to certify an appeal of a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina denying immediate appellate review on the issue of whether the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) authorizes jury trials for plaintiffs bringing claims under the statute.

  • May 14, 2024

    Judge Threatens Sanctions Related To Verbal Attacks On Flint Plaintiffs’ Counsel

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on May 13 ruled that she will impose sanctions on an engineering firm that is a party to the $25 million class settlement in the Flint, Mich., lead-contaminated water litigation and will refer its attorney to the State Bar of California for disciplinary reasons if the firm fails to comply with an order the judge issued previously requiring the firm to answer questions about its relationship with a public relations company that has been engaged in verbal attacks against a plaintiff attorney.

  • May 13, 2024

    Jury Awards $725.5M To Couple Suing ExxonMobil For Injuries From Benzene Exposure

    PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania state court jury has awarded a man with cancer and his wife $725.5 million against ExxonMobil Corp. for injuries related to exposure to benzene the husband says occurred while he worked at gas stations in New York and Pennsylvania.

  • May 13, 2024

    Quartz Countertop Defendant Denies Claims, Says Alleged Injury ‘An Act Of God’

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — One of several defendants sued by workers who say they developed pulmonary injuries from exposure to crystalline silica while cutting stone countertops has filed an answer in California state court, denying all allegations on grounds that the plaintiffs fail to state a claim and asserting 97 affirmative defenses, including that “all injuries, losses or damages” were the result of “an unavoidable incident or condition and, as such, were an act of God.”

  • May 10, 2024

    Plaintiffs Seek Rehearing En Banc In Cancer Cluster Case, Raise Daubert Issues

    ATLANTA — Plaintiffs on May 9 filed a petition for rehearing en banc in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that a panel of the 11th Circuit overlooked “express misstatements of law” in the lower court’s verdict form that caused jury confusion, particularly related to the admissibility of expert opinion under the standard set in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., which resulted in a defense verdict in a cancer cluster lawsuit.

  • May 09, 2024

    Harvard University Says 3M’s Bid To Add It To PFAS Case Is ‘Substantively Infirm’

    BOSTON — Harvard University filed a brief in Massachusetts federal court on May 8 arguing that it should not be added as a party to a lawsuit alleging drinking water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), saying that the 3M Co.’s attempt to do so is “procedurally and substantively infirm.”

  • May 09, 2024

    Kimberly-Clark Seeks Dismissal Of ‘Illogical’ Claims It Caused PFAS Contamination

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Kimberly-Clark Corp. has moved in Connecticut federal court to dismiss a putative class action on grounds that the plaintiffs’ allegations that the company is the source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the local groundwater supply are “illogical and contradictory on their face.”

  • May 09, 2024

    11th Circuit Denies Monsanto’s Bid For Rehearing En Banc In Roundup Labeling Case

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 8 issued a one-paragraph order denying Monsanto Co.’s second petition for hearing en banc in a long-running dispute over the labeling of the herbicide Roundup and the preemption provision of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The Circuit Court said no judge in regular active service on the court requested that the court be polled on the petition.

  • May 08, 2024

    Insurers Say Coverage Barred In AFFF PFAS Cases Because Harm Arises Out Of ‘Waste’

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — A group of insurers has filed a sur-reply brief in South Carolina federal court arguing that the majority of lawsuits against a maker of the firefighting agent known as aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), for which the insurers are being asked to provide coverage, allege harm arising out of “waste,” rather than harm associated with a product put to its intended use, and, therefore, coverage is not owed.

  • May 07, 2024

    School Districts: ‘Pending Disaster’ Of Train Derailment Was ‘Willfully Ignored’

    PITTSBURGH — School districts and affiliated parties filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court on May 6 arguing that it should deny a motion to dismiss their lawsuit for damages related to the derailment of a train operated by Norfolk Southern Corp. and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (collectively, Norfolk Southern) that spilled toxic chemicals, contending that Norfolk Southern “willfully ignored the obvious pending disaster about to unfold” before the incident.

  • May 06, 2024

    Receiver’s Asbestos Claims Process Survives Benzene Defendant’s Objection

    MONROE, N.C. — A receiver’s proposal of how to handle thousands of asbestos and benzene claims of the now defunct Radiator Specialty Co. Inc. survived challenges by a sometime co-defendant claiming that the arrangement might leave it holding the bag in Pennsylvania litigation and where joint and several liability applies when a judge in North Carolina turned away the objections and adopted the suggested process.

  • May 03, 2024

    Couple Appeals Dismissal Of Chemical Injury Birth Defects Case To 5th Circuit

    NEW ORLEANS — A husband and wife have appealed to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a ruling by a lower court that dismissed their case against multiple chemical companies and oil refineries for exposure to chemicals that they say result in their son’s birth defects.  The lower court held that the statute of limitations had run on the claim.

  • May 03, 2024

    Counsel Seeks To Resolve Dispute Over Representation In Camp Lejeune Water Case

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The Plaintiffs Leadership Group (PLG) has filed a brief in North Carolina federal court in the lawsuit over drinking water contamination at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune in support of a motion for partial summary judgment to resolve recurring disputes regarding the “requirements, procedure, and timing of identifying legal representatives” pursuing claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA).

  • May 02, 2024

    Appeals Panel Overturns $185M PCB Verdict Against Monsanto In Washington State

    SEATTLE — A divided Washington state appeals court on May 1 overturned a $185 million verdict against Monsanto for injuries from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a Seattle area school and remanded the case to the trial court for an assessment of whether the plaintiffs’ claims are subject to the statute of repose in the Washington Product Liability Act (WPLA).

  • May 02, 2024

    Insurers Seek Dismissal Of BASF’s Coverage Action Tied To AFFF Injury Claims

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Multiple insurers have filed a brief in support of a motion to dismiss an insurance coverage action filed by BASF Corp. in South Carolina federal court related to claims arising from exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), arguing that there is a “more comprehensive” action BASF has already filed in New Jersey state court.

  • May 01, 2024

    Man’s Knowledge Of Railway Toxins Started FELA Clock, Ohio Court Says

    TOLEDO, Ohio — A laryngeal cancer sufferer’s admission that he knew that he worked around potentially hazardous chemicals during his time at a railway and the available information on the hazards of asbestos and other toxins created a duty to investigate the cause of his disease and started the statute of limitations, an Ohio appeals court said in finding a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) claim time-barred.

  • May 01, 2024

    Panel Dismisses Oil Company’s Appeal Of Zoning Ruling For Lack Of Jurisdiction

    LOS ANGELES — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has dismissed for lack of jurisdiction an appeal by an oil company that sought to overturn a California federal judge’s ruling that a decision by municipal authorities that nullified the company’s zoning clearance to conduct drilling operations was valid.  The panel did not elaborate on its reasoning for dismissing the appeal.

  • May 01, 2024

    Homebuilders Group’s Amicus Brief Supports 3M In PFAS Dispute With Michigan Agency

    LANSING, Mich. — The Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBAM) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Michigan Supreme Court in support of 3M Co., arguing that a lower court correctly invalidated the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s (EGLE) new rules changing the permissible levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water because EGLE failed to prepare and publish a Regulatory Impact Statement and Cost Benefit Analysis (RIS) that complied with the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act (MAPA).

  • April 30, 2024

    Plaintiffs Say Claims Against Railcar Owners In Ohio Train Case Are Not Preempted

    PITTSBURGH — School districts and individuals that sued Norfolk Southern Corp. and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (collectively, Norfolk Southern) and railcar owners filed an opposition brief on April 29 in Pennsylvania federal court arguing that a motion to dismiss filed by two railcar owners should be denied because the plaintiffs have properly pleaded each of their claims and the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) does not preempt their claim for negligence.

  • April 30, 2024

    Monsanto’s $336.15M Bond Sets In Motion Appeal Of $549.9M Roundup Punitive Award

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Monsanto Co. has filed a supersedeas bond valued at $336,150,000 in Missouri state court as part of its notice of appeal of a $549.9 million punitive damages award for three plaintiffs for injuries from exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.

  • April 29, 2024

    Plaintiffs Seek Approval Of $600M Settlement Of Train Derailment Lawsuit In Ohio

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The co-lead counsel for plaintiffs filed a brief in Ohio federal court on April 26 supporting a motion for preliminary approval of a $600 million settlement to resolve the class action against Norfolk Southern Railway Co. and Norfolk Southern Corp. (Norfolk Southern, collectively) pertaining to alleged injuries from the release of toxic chemicals at the 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio; a third-party lawsuit among Norfolk Southern and railcar companies continues.