Mealey's Toxic Torts

  • April 23, 2024

    Judge Allows Emotional Distress Evidence, Nixes Negligence Testimony In Water Case

    HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii on April 22 issued two orders on motions in limine filed by the U.S. government in a groundwater contamination case, ruling that evidence related to medical negligence is excluded but that evidence of the plaintiffs’ emotional distress and purported hearsay evidence about a plaintiffs’ alleged lost wages is not excluded, as residents attempt to hold the government liable for injuries from exposure to jet fuel that was released from a U.S. Navy base.

  • April 23, 2024

    Magistrate Orders Engineering Firm To Produce Documents In Flint Water Crisis Case

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A federal magistrate judge in Michigan ruled April 22 that an engineering firm that is a defendant in litigation stemming from the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint must provide 40 documents in response to a motion to compel compliance with a discovery order, saying that the judge presiding over the case has already determined that the work product doctrine does not protect the documents in question.

  • April 22, 2024

    New EPA Final Rule Will List 2 PFAS As Hazardous Substances Under CERCLA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Environmental Protection Agency announced April 19 that it will soon finalize a rule that will add two widely used per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of hazardous substances covered by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

  • April 22, 2024

    DuPont Affiliate Seeks Seal Of ‘Private And Confidential’ Material In PFAS Case

    WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Chemours Co. on April 19 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court arguing that it should seal non-public information, including information about business operations and strategies that “might reasonably be expected to be kept private and confidential” in the long-running lawsuit brought by residents against E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and its affiliates related to claims that they dumped per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Cape Fear River, resulting in groundwater contamination.

  • April 22, 2024

    Parties Who Won $275M Against Monsanto For PCB Exposure Say Appeal Lacks Merit

    SEATTLE — Students and parents who won a $275 million judgment against Monsanto Co. for injuries from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a Seattle area school have filed a response brief in a Washington appeals court arguing that Monsanto “largely reprises the same attacks” on the verdict that it has made before and that none of Monsanto’s new arguments on appeal has merit.

  • April 19, 2024

    Multiple Appeals Of PCB Verdicts Against Monsanto Pending In Washington State

    SEATTLE — The family of a student who won an $82 million judgment against Monsanto Co. for injuries from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a Seattle area school on April 18 filed a brief in a Washington appeals court responding to Monsanto’s appeal of the verdict, arguing that the company asks the appeals court to set aside the jury’s verdict on “every conceivable ground, advancing arguments it has unsuccessfully raised time and again.”  The appeal is one of several in which Monsanto challenges verdicts for other plaintiffs who were exposed to PCBS at the school.

  • April 18, 2024

    School Districts Plan To Fight Vermont’s Expected Move To Stay Monsanto PCB Case

    BURLINGTON, Vt. — The 95 school districts that have sued Monsanto Co. in Vermont federal court alleging contamination from the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in school buildings have filed a response to Vermont’s motion to intervene in the case, arguing that while they do not oppose the state’s intervention, they intend to oppose its expected motion to stay the case.

  • April 18, 2024

    Bill Would Exempt Public Water Providers From PFAS Liability

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill that would exempt certain entities from liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act with respect to releases of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been referred to two committees of the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • April 17, 2024

    Panel Partially Affirms, Reverses Damages Ruling In Water Contamination Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s damages award, holding that it did not abuse its discretion when it permitted a water agency to assert restoration costs as a measure of damages related to contamination from various chemicals, but it remanded the case to amend the judgment regarding recovery of damages under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), ruling that the trial court wrongly held that the water agency received a double recovery.

  • April 17, 2024

    Engineering Firm Says It Owes Flint Bellwether III Plaintiffs No Duty Of Care

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — An engineering firm that is a defendant in the litigation over the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., has filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that the court should grant the firm summary judgment on the professional negligence claims brought by a group known as the Bellwether III plaintiffs because the firm says it did not owe them a duty of care as a matter of law.

  • April 17, 2024

    Government Can’t ‘Escape Responsibility’ For AFFF Pollution, Plaintiffs Say

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — The plaintiffs in five cases pending in the multidistrict litigation for the firefighting agent aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) filed a combined brief in South Carolina federal court on April 16 in opposition to a motion to dismiss, arguing that the U.S. government, as the owner of the land on which the “heavily contaminated” Cannon Air Force Base (CAFB) sits, “cannot be permitted to escape responsibility on jurisdictional grounds when the conduct of its employees, on its land, pollutes or otherwise harms its neighbors.”

  • April 16, 2024

    Judge Remands Vermont’s PFAS Case To State Court, Says Removal Was Untimely

    BURLINGTON, Vt. — A federal judge in Vermont has remanded to state court a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) lawsuit brought by the state against 3M Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. and DuPont’s affiliates, ruling that 3M’s removal of the case to federal court was untimely.

  • April 16, 2024

    Agency’s New Standard Cuts Miners’ Silica Exposure Limit In Half

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor, through the Mine Safety and Health Administration, on April 16 announced an amendment to existing standards for miners establishing a uniform permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica at 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) for a full-shift exposure, calculated as an eight-hour time weighted average (TWA) for all mines. The new standard reduces by half the current exposure limit.

  • April 15, 2024

    AFFF Maker To Pay $750M To Settle PFAS Claims Brought By Public Water Providers

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Tyco Fire Products LP said April 12 that it has reached a $750 million settlement to resolve claims related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) litigation in South Carolina federal court brought by public water systems (PWS) alleging contamination of their water supplies from the presence of PFAS, which is an ingredient in the firefighting substance aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).

  • April 15, 2024

    Man Says Stone Countertop Makers Concealed Dangers, Caused His Silicosis

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A man who has silicosis has sued numerous stone countertop companies in California federal court alleging that they are liable for his injury because they fraudulently concealed the fact that their products contain minerals that, when cut, produce large amounts of respirable crystalline silica dust.

  • April 12, 2024

    Quartz Countertop Defendants: Complaint Fails To State Facts Sufficient For Claims

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Multiple defendants sued by workers who say they developed pulmonary injuries from exposure to crystalline silica while cutting stone countertops have filed answers to the complaint in California state court.  One defendant, Arizona Tile LLC, denies all allegations and asserts affirmative defenses contending that the plaintiffs fail to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against it.

  • April 11, 2024

    EPA Sets 1st Standard For Levels Of 6 PFAS In Drinking Water

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on April 10 that it has published a final rule regulating six types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water under the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR).  The rule sets maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) at zero.

  • April 10, 2024

    Judge: Experts Can Testify On How Jet Fuel Spill Caused Psychological Injuries

    HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii largely rejected efforts by the U.S. government to exclude three experts retained by the plaintiffs to opine on the psychological impacts of a groundwater contamination case after finding that many of its arguments can be addressed through cross-examination.

  • April 10, 2024

    Railcar Company: Court Should Deny Norfolk Southern’s Partial Final Judgment Bid

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — One of the railcar companies being sued by Norfolk Southern Corp. and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (collectively, Norfolk Southern) over the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that resulted in the release of toxic chemicals filed a brief on April 9 opposing Norfolk Southern’s motion for partial final judgment in its third-party lawsuit, arguing that the third-party claims that have been dismissed are closely related to unadjudicated first-party claims that remain.

  • April 10, 2024

    Flint Federal Tort Case Plaintiffs Say Government Has Waived Sovereign Immunity

    DETROIT — The plaintiffs in litigation seeking $722.4 million under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) related to the Flint water crisis on April 9 filed an opposition brief in Michigan federal court arguing that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s renewed motion to dismiss the lawsuit should be denied on grounds that granting it would “completely eviscerate the goals of the FTCA” and because the United States has waived its sovereign immunity from suit for injury caused by negligent or wrongful acts of government employees if a private person would be liable for those actions.

  • April 10, 2024

    Monsanto Says 4 Roundup Cases Fail For Lack Of Causation Experts

    SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. has filed multiple motions for summary judgment in California federal court in glyphosate cancer lawsuits pending in the multidistrict litigation for the herbicide Roundup, contending that they all fail on causation grounds because in each case the plaintiffs failed to submit an expert report on specific causation prior to the deadline.  In a case brought by Edilia Gonzalez and others, Monsanto says Gonzalez did not provide an expert report containing case-specific evidence of a causal link between Roundup exposure and the cancer that killed plaintiff Manuel Balbuena.

  • April 09, 2024

    Jackson Water Crisis Plaintiffs Say Their Claims Are ‘Plausibly Pleaded’

    JACKSON, Miss. — The plaintiffs suing Jackson, Miss., over the drinking water crisis in the city have filed a brief in Mississippi federal court arguing that it should deny the city’s motion to dismiss their class action on grounds that they have “plausibly pleaded” a claim for the violation of their bodily integrity and that their second amended complaint includes facts showing that they relied on the city’s misrepresentations about the water crisis in making their decision to continue drinking tap water.

  • April 09, 2024

    Michigan Residents: 3M, DuPont Liable For Knowingly Polluting Water With PFAS

    DETROIT — Michigan residents sued 3M Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DuPont) and other chemical manufacturers on April 8 in Michigan federal court contending that they are liable for contaminating local drinking water with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) during the defendants’ “decade-long calculated, fraudulent, and knowing concealment of their polluting activities.”

  • April 09, 2024

    Norfolk Southern To Pay $600M To Settle Ohio Train Derailment Litigation

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Norfolk Southern Railway Co. and Norfolk Southern Corp. (Norfolk Southern collectively) and the plaintiffs suing them filed notice in Ohio federal court on April 9 indicating that they have reached a $600 million agreement in principle to resolve the class action pertaining to alleged injuries from the release of toxic chemicals in the 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio; a third-party lawsuit among Norfolk Southern and railcar companies continues.

  • April 08, 2024

    Judge Seals Portions Of Flint Experts’ Opinions, Guarding Minors’ Personal Data

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on April 5 issued an order granting a motion to seal certain portions of the opinions of plaintiffs’ experts in the litigation over the water crisis in Flint, Mich., ruling that some aspects of their opinions include medical and personal information of minor children.

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