California Wildfires Provide Another Forum for Climate Change Debate

In 2018, California has seen a spate of devastating wildfires that has already consumed more than 1,000,000 acres, caused scores of deaths, rampant property destruction, and millions of dollars in economic loss.  Following a 2017 fire season that was nearly equally as tragic, a public debate has emerged regarding the origin of the increased frequency and intensity of these disasters. In August, following fires in Redding, California, and in the last week during blazes outside of Sacramento and Los Angeles,
Continue reading...

City of Newark Distributing Water Filters Following Ineffective Lead Treatment Program

The City of Newark, NJ has been battling an aging and decaying infrastructure for years. More specifically, Newark’s aging water supply and service line infrastructure is one of many challenges it, and other similarly situated cities face. The issue of lead in drinking water captured the nation’s attention several years ago with the heath crisis that impacted (and is still impacting) Flint, Michigan. The concern involving drinking water quality and excessive lead levels is, however, far from limited to that region.
Continue reading...

Di-can’t-a Part 3: Revenge of the Dicamba

Last year, we noted the commencement of several class action lawsuits involving dicamba, a widely-used herbicide that has come under fire recently based on allegations that its use has resulted in collateral damage to crops and other plant life on neighboring properties that have not been genetically modified to resist dicamba. Dicamba Updates Yesterday, Monsanto Co. and BASF Corp. asked a Missouri federal judge to toss a proposed class action by farmers alleging the companies purposely distributed dicamba and withheld
Continue reading...

ATSDR PFAS Update: No Final Report Yet, But Further Guidance on Minimal Risk Levels and Drinking Water Concentrations

As most of our readers know, our firm has written extensively on PFAS, and we recently gave a 30 minute, free webinar on the important findings of the ATSDR’s toxicological profile on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The webinar discussed the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s role in setting minimal risk levels (MRLs) for toxic substances, including comprehensive analyses of selected contaminants that are deemed most harmful to human health. Because the PFAS profile is perhaps the most
Continue reading...

George Buermann to speak at CLM Southeast Conference on Mitigation Tools for Environmental Crisis Management

Join Goldberg Segalla’s George Buermann on November 9 at the 2018 CLM Southeast Conference in Atlanta, GA. George will be part of a panel discussion titled, “Weathering the Storm: Effective Mitigation Tools for Environmental Crisis Management.” The panel will discuss the actions insurers and businesses can take to shift their posture from being reactive to a preplanning and preventative stance as well as ways to minimize and mitigate damages that arise from environmental disasters and emergencies.  The panel will offer
Continue reading...

Breaking News / Glyphosate Update: Plaintiff Accepts Significantly Reduced Award in First of Its Kind Glyphosate Verdict

Last week, we reported that the judge who presided over the first trial related to alleged personal injuries from exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing herbicides slashed $211 million off of the $250 million awarded to the plaintiff in punitive damages. The reduction effectively brought the jury’s prior total award of $289 million down to $78.5 million – $39.25 million in punitive damages and $39.25 million in compensatory damages. The court had ruled that the plaintiff had to decide whether to accept
Continue reading...

Common Ground Found in Attempt to Limit Release of Ethylene Oxide Used for Sterilization

In a rare showing of bipartisanship before the mid-term elections, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, and Robert Berlin, a Republican State’s Attorney for DuPage County, filed a lawsuit seeking to place limits on emissions of ethylene oxide from a plant owned by Sterigenics U.S., LLC. The lawsuit alleges that the plant has released dangerous levels of the gas for over a decade. Ethylene oxide is a potent gas used to sterilize medical instruments, pharmaceutical drugs and food. “We
Continue reading...

What’s at Stake? Two Different Approaches to Climate Change – Part I: The IPCC Summary for Policymakers

Two recently released documents – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Global Warming of 1.5°Summary for Policymakers (IPCC Summary), issued last week, and the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule for Model Year 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks Draft Environmental Impact Statement (NHTSA EIS), issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in July 2018 – provide a stark contrast in how to respond to the threat posed by climate change. The first document, and subject of this post – the IPCC Summary – issues a drastic call to action to the world
Continue reading...

Landmark Glyphosate Verdict Reduced by $211 Million

We previously reported on the first glyphosate exposure case to go to a jury trial where a California jury awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million. Of the $289 million award, $250 million were for punitive damages against Monsanto. On Monday, the judge who presided over the trial slashed $211 million off of the punitive damages award, bringing the total award down to $78 million. The $211 million reduction was based on the judge’s finding that the jury’s punitive damages award had to be reduced
Continue reading...

Pennsylvania Legislators in Favor of Fracking, Seek to Join Opposition Against Delaware River Basin Commission’s Moratorium

Earlier in 2017, we reported the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to reinstate a landowner’s challenge to the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the 24 county region, spanning across parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey. In that decision (Wayne Land & Mineral Group LLC v. Del. River Basin Comm’n), the court held that the definition of the word “project,” as set forth in the DRBC’s governing document, the “Compact,” was ambiguous, and therefore remanded the case for the trial court to engage in fact-finding
Continue reading...