Mealey's Toxic Torts

  • March 22, 2024

    Attorneys Ask President Biden To Pardon Embattled Attorney Steven Donziger

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A legal collective has sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. seeking a pardon for embattled environmental attorney Steven R. Donziger, who was embroiled in a litigation saga related to an $18.5 billion verdict he obtained against Chevron Corp. for its pollution of indigenous communities in Ecuador, arguing that he was subject to arbitrary detention for 993 days on a Class B misdemeanor contempt charge prosecuted by a private law firm working for Chevron after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to pursue the case.

  • March 21, 2024

    AFFF Maker Seeks Ruling That Pollution Exclusions Do Not Bar Liability Claims

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — A company that makes the firefighting agent known as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has moved in South Carolina federal court for partial summary judgment against a group of insurers asking the court to find that the product liability and common-law causes of action alleging bodily injury and/or property damage that have been asserted against the company in the multidistrict litigation are not excluded from coverage by pollution exclusions.

  • March 21, 2024

    Glyphosate Cancer Plaintiff Appeals Defense Verdict In Missouri State Court

    ST LOUIS — A man who lost his glyphosate cancer lawsuit against Monsanto Co. has filed a notice of appeal in Missouri state court following the trial judge’s denial of his motion for a new trial.

  • March 20, 2024

    Cancer Plaintiff Says New Roundup Trial Needed, Defense Verdict Based On ‘Errors’

    PHILADELPHIA — A man who lost his glyphosate cancer case to Monsanto Co. has filed a motion and brief in Pennsylvania state court arguing that he is entitled to a new trial “on the basis of the Court’s evidentiary errors that prejudiced the outcome of the trial.”

  • March 19, 2024

    In Toxic Landfill Case, N.Y. Federal Judge Partly Grants Summary Judgment Motion

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — Summary judgment is not appropriate for personal injury claims brought by a group of residents of North Tonawanda, N.Y., who allege that they were affected by toxic substances at a landfill in Wheatfield, N.Y., because the residents were not given the opportunity to present expert witness reports regarding their injuries, a New York federal judge found in partly granting a motion for summary judgment filed by Wheatfield and a group of companies that allegedly contributed to pollution at the landfill.

  • March 19, 2024

    L’Oreal: Mascara Plaintiffs Fail To Plead Plausible Basis For PFAS Claims

    NEW YORK — L’Oreal USA Inc. has filed a reply brief in New York federal court contending that it should dismiss a lawsuit brought by plaintiffs who argue that the cosmetics company is liable for making and selling mascara that contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) because the plaintiffs fail to plead a plausible basis for the assumption that L’Oreal’s mascaras were “certain to be free from any trace of PFAS.”

  • March 19, 2024

    Water District Seeks To Intervene To Object To $1.18B AFFF PFAS Settlement

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Class counsel in the multidistrict litigation for the firefighting agent aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), which contains per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), filed a brief in South Carolina federal court on March 18, arguing that a California water district’s motion to intervene for the purpose of filing an appeal of a $1.18 billion class settlement that recently received final approval should be denied because the motion is untimely due to the fact that the water district waived its ability to challenge the settlement because it opted out of the deal.

  • March 18, 2024

    Judge Cuts Roundup Punitive Damages Award By More Than $950M, Denies New Trial

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A state judge in Missouri on March 15 reduced the punitive damages awards for three plaintiffs from $1.5 billion to $549.9 million against Monsanto Co. for injuries from exposure to the herbicide Roundup but denied Monsanto’s motion for a new trial and its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV).  The judge also issued orders for each of the plaintiffs amending their respective awards.

  • March 18, 2024

    Judge: Norfolk Southern’s Bid To Dismiss Train Case Fails; Third-Party Claims Valid

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio has granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss filed by Norfolk Southern and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (collectively, Norfolk Southern) in litigation pertaining to alleged injuries and the release of toxic chemicals from the derailment of a train in East Palestine, Ohio, ruling that the plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to overcome Norfolk Southern’s preemption argument.  The judge also issued two other rulings: one on railcar owners’ motions to dismiss the master complaint and one on the owners’ motions to dismiss Norfolk Southern’s third-party complaint.

  • March 15, 2024

    Magistrate: Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs Are Entitled To ‘Exotic’ Files Of Water Tests

    RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal magistrate judge in North Carolina has ruled that plaintiffs in the lawsuit over drinking water contamination at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune are entitled to “exotic” modeling files in their native format that pertain to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) testing at the site.

  • March 15, 2024

    Monsanto Again Seeks To Exclude Witness In Roundup Case, This Time Under Daubert

    SAN FRANCISCO — Monsanto Co. has filed a motion in California federal court seeking to exclude a plaintiffs’ expert witness in a glyphosate cancer lawsuit for a second time, arguing that under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the witness’ testimony does not “fit” the facts of the case and is based on debunked science.

  • March 15, 2024

    Plaintiffs: Stone Countertop Companies Are Liable For Pulmonary Injuries

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Three toxic injury lawsuits were filed by workers in California state court against the makers of stone countertops, arguing that the defendants are liable for pulmonary injuries because the workers were exposed to crystalline silica while cutting the stone slabs.  In one case, which is indicative of all of the cases, a man with silicosis contends that the defendants fraudulently concealed the toxic hazards of their stone products.

  • March 14, 2024

    Judge Finds Flint In Contempt For Failure To Replace Water Services Lines

    DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan has held Flint, Mich., in contempt for its failure to replace all of the city’s drinking water service lines that contain lead, ruling that “it has no good reason for its failures,” which are a violation of a settlement reached in 2017.

  • March 14, 2024

    Flint Engineering Firm Defends Actions In Row Over Attacks On Plaintiffs’ Attorney

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The attorney for an engineering firm that is a defendant and party to a $25 million class settlement in the Flint, Mich., lead-contaminated water litigation has filed a letter brief in Michigan federal court related to the dispute that has arisen over what actions the firm took in connection with an incident in which the plaintiffs’ counsel was the subject of verbal attacks, supposedly in response to public comments he had made about Flint.  The attorney says he is “confident” that any activities the firm took in response to those public comments are “truthful, appropriate, and fully within its First Amendment right to comment on a matter of public significance.”

  • March 13, 2024

    Hair Relaxer Plaintiffs Say Claims Against Revlon Are Proper Despite Bankruptcy

    CHICAGO — On March 12, plaintiffs in a suit against cosmetics companies over alleged injuries related to hair relaxer products filed a brief in Illinois federal court arguing that it should deny a motion by Revlon Inc., Revlon Consumer Products Corp. and Revlon Group Holdings LLC (collectively, Revlon) to strike class allegations from the lawsuit because Revlon is in bankruptcy.  The plaintiffs say certain claimants may have proper claims against Revlon despite the bankruptcy.

  • March 13, 2024

    New York Housing Court Issues Warrant To Arrest ‘Notoriously Bad’ Landlord

    NEW YORK — A justice in the New York County Housing Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of a man referred to by authorities as “one of New York City’s most notoriously bad landlords” because of dangerous conditions such as peeling lead-based paint and rodent infestations at his properties in Washington Heights.

  • March 13, 2024

    Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs Seek Immediate Appeal Of Order Denying Them A Jury Trial

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group (PLG) in the litigation pertaining to the drinking water crisis at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune has filed a reply brief in North Carolina federal court arguing that immediate appellate review is needed on whether the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) authorizes jury trials for plaintiffs bringing claims under the statute.

  • March 12, 2024

    Chamber Of Commerce: 11th Circuit Should Rehear, Again, Roundup Labeling Dispute

    ATLANTA — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on March 12 filed an amicus curiae brief in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that the court should hear Monsanto Co.’s second petition for rehearing en banc in a long-running dispute over the labeling of the herbicide Roundup because the panel misinterpreted the preemption provision in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) when it ruled that state law failure-to-warn claims related to the herbicide are not preempted.

  • March 12, 2024

    Notice Of Appeal Filed After CAFA Exceptions Ruling In Floride Case

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo residents who brought a putative class complaint against the city and others seeking damages due after the practice of adding fluoride to the drinking water was stopped filed a notice of appeal nearly a month after a federal judge in New York denied the residents’ motion to send their complaint back to state court.

  • March 12, 2024

    New York Federal Judge Says PFAS Cosmetics Case Fails To Allege Injury In Fact

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York has dismissed a class action brought against a cosmetics company related to the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in mascara, finding that the plaintiffs failed to allege that they each suffered an injury in fact and, therefore, they lack standing.

  • March 12, 2024

    Judge Denies New Trial For Man Who Lost Glyphosate Case Against Monsanto

    ST. LOUIS — A state court judge in Missouri has denied a motion for new trial sought by a man who lost his glyphosate cancer case against Monsanto Co. when the presiding judge granted Monsanto’s motion for a directed verdict.  The one-paragraph order simply stated that the motion for new trial was “without merit.”

  • March 12, 2024

    Government: Expert In Water Case Warrants Exclusion, Fails To Explain Methodology

    HONOLULU — The U.S. government has filed a reply brief in Hawaii federal court arguing that it should strike one of the plaintiffs’ experts in a groundwater contamination case because it is “impossible to verify” whether he applied what is called “grounded theory” appropriately in light of the fact that he refuses to provide details about the methodology he uses to reach his opinions.

  • March 11, 2024

    Water Authority Will Settle Class Claims Over Industrial Waste Charges For $11.5M

    DETROIT — A Michigan judge granted final approval of an $11.5 million settlement to be paid by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) to end a class suit by property owners who are not significant industrial users (SIUs) but have paid industrial waste control (IWC) charges imposed by Detroit and GLWA; the property owners sued alleging the charges were wrongfully imposed taxes rather than proper user fees and violated the Prohibited Taxes by Cities and Villages Act.

  • March 11, 2024

    S.C. Appeals Court Says Coverage Is Owed For Only Some Remediation Costs

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — An insured is owed coverage only for cleaning structures at its wastewater facilities that were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) because the contamination of the affected structures constitutes direct physical loss or damage under the policy at issue, the South Carolina Court of Appeals said in partially affirming and partially reversing and remanding a master’s order.

  • March 11, 2024

    Jury Finds Monsanto Not Liable For Negligence In Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. — A state court jury in Arkansas has ruled in favor of Monsanto Co. in a lawsuit in which a couple argued that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, caused the wife to develop cancer.  The jury found that Monsanto was not negligent and did not sell a defective product that caused the wife’s injury.

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