Ria Rana

All articles by Ria Rana

 

Breaking: Jury Awards Plaintiff $80 Million in Second Glyphosate Verdict

In the second glyphosate personal injury case to go to a jury trial, a federal jury in the case of Hardeman v. Monsantomatter returned a unanimous verdict of $80 million for the plaintiff against the defendant. The verdict ended a two-part trial over the plaintiff’s allegations that his exposure to glyphosate over a period of approximately 25 years of spraying Roundup on his 56-acre property caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the first phase, which ended last week, the jury
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Environmental Study of Glyphosate Raises Issues Beyond Personal Injury Litigation

Aside from toxic tort litigation pertaining to the use of glyphosate, a recent study has evaluated environmental issues pertaining to the world’s most widely used herbicide. The study, out of McGill University, evaluates whether glyphosate may contribute to environmental phosphorus levels. Phosphorus pollution in U.S. water bodies is a major concern of the EPA, which has stated that nutrient pollution (phosphorus and nitrogen) is one of the country’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems. Phosphorus, although naturally existing, has
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BREAKING: Second Jury Finds That Glyphosate Causes Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Approximately seven months after a California state jury found that DeWayne Johnson’s workplace exposure to glyphosate-containing Roundup and Ranger Pro caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another jury in California, this time in federal court, has arrived at the same conclusion. On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in a trial overseen by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, the jury found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff Ed Hardeman’s Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that it was more than
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Breaking: U.S. Supreme Court Will Weigh in on Clean Water Act Circuit Split, and EPA May Tip the Scale

Big news on the Clean Water Act (CWA). With the backdrop of a major circuit split (previously discussed here), the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Ninth Circuit case of County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The Supreme Court will now have to determine whether discharges of pollutants to surface waters via groundwater are regulated under the CWA. In County of Maui, plaintiff-environmentalists alleged that the wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment facility was seeping through
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Glyphosate Update: Judge Limits Previous Ruling, Allowing More Evidence at Trial Against Monsanto

The next batch of glyphosate-related trials are scheduled to take place over the next two months. As previously reported, Monsanto (which was acquired by Bayer last year) has been mired in toxic tort litigation over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup. The primary allegations center around whether certain exposure to glyphosate is causally related to the plaintiffs’ development of lymphoma. There are more than 9,300 lawsuits currently pending around the country. Early in January, Monsanto scored a victory when U.S. District
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EPA Proposes Rollback of Mercury Regulations

Last week of 2018, during the partial government shutdown and holiday lull, many may have missed a significant development in the environmental law arena – a proposal by the EPA to rollback an Obama-era regulation to reduce mercury pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants. ​The 2011 rule, called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards(MATS), was promulgated by the prior administration and intended to address the negative effects of mercury on human health and the environment by requiring power plants to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxins by more than 90 percent over 5 years. The regulation focused on
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Factory Farms, Emissions, and Nuisance Litigation

U.S. EPA this month proposed a rule that will seek to exempt factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), from reporting emissions from animal waste under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (who President Trump has now officially recommended to head up the EPA) stated that exempting factory farms will provide clarity to farmers and ranchers, who were given an exemption in March of this year from reporting air emissions
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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
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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
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Splitting from Other Circuits, Sixth Circuit Limits the Scope of the Clean Water Act

This week, the Sixth Circuit diverged from the Fourth and Ninth Circuits by limiting the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) as it relates to groundwater. The court held that the CWA cannot regulate pollutants from point sources if they reach navigable waters through groundwater. This decision is a clear split from the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, who have both held this year that groundwater can be regulated under the CWA if it serves as a conduit for pollution
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Glyphosate and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Claims: Different Results In Different Courtrooms Based On The Same Science

We recently reported on a $289 million verdict for plaintiff Dewayne Johnson against Monsanto Company in the state Superior Court of California, an astounding verdict by the jury who found that Mr. Johnson’s use of glyphosate-containing herbicides caused him to develop a type of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monsanto will be appealing the verdict on the grounds that the science does not show that glyphosate causes cancer. While the court in Johnson admitted scientific evidence by plaintiffs that glyphosate causes
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Ninth Circuit Bans Use of Pesticide Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture

On August 9, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ordered that the EPA ban a widely used pesticide called chlorpyrifos within 60 days. The court found that EPA had failed to determine that chlorpyrifos was safe.  The decision marked the end – albeit perhaps only temporarily – to a decade-long battle between the pesticide and agriculture industry on one side and environmental and public health groups on the other. By way of background, EPA, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
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City of Newark – Facing Citizen Suit Over Allegations of Elevated Lead Levels In Drinking Water

On June 26, 2018, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a New Jersey based teachers’ caucus joined forces to file a lawsuit in federal district court alleging, among other things, that the City of Newark’s water system contains dangerous elevated levels of lead that’s putting the health of residents in the community at risk. As many of our readers are aware, NRDC is the nonprofit organization that brought a citizen suit (along with the ACLU) under the SDWA against the City of Flint, MI and other defendants for
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In the Hands of the States: Pesticide Use and Regulation of Marijuana Cultivation

To date, nine states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. Additionally, medical marijuana is legal in another 29 states. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has stated that “With over 60 percent of Americans now supporting the full legalization of marijuana for adults, the momentum behind marijuana law reform will not only continue but increase as we head into 2018.” Despite remaining illegal on the federal level,
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In the Name of Transparency: EPA’s Proposed Rule to Limit Scientific Studies Raises Concern

On April 24, 2018, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a rule to impose limitations on what scientific studies may be used by the agency to promulgate regulations. Mr. Pruitt seeks to exclude from the agency’s consideration any scientific studies that contain confidential data on the grounds that the agency ought to be transparent about the information it relies upon in crafting regulations. The proposed rule has garnered support from certain scientific organizations, like the American Chemistry Council,
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States Sue EPA Over Delay in Setting Methane Emissions Standards

On April 5, 2018, 14 U.S. states filed a lawsuit against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleging that the agency is “unreasonably delaying” the issuance of federal methane emissions standards. The complaint names the EPA and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as the defendants. New York State is taking the lead in this challenge; other states joining the lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Illinois, Iowa, and New Mexico. The District of Columbia and
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Superfund Alert: The Latest Proposed Changes to CERCLA

On February 12, 2018, President Trump’s Administration published its Infrastructure Plan (Plan) aimed at fixing America’s infrastructure. Within the Plan are several proposed changes to the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (also known as Superfund). The first proposed change is to expand funding eligibility for revitalization projects under CERCLA. Currently, CERCLA Sections 101(39)(B) and 101(41)(C) only authorize grants or revolving loans for brownfields — properties that contain hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants that complicate expansion, redevelopment,
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Can Groundwater Be Regulated Under the Clean Water Act?

Recently, we reported on the EPA’s decision to postpone the Clean Water Rule, a controversial rule pertaining to what bodies of water are protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). While the CWA states that it regulates discharge from point sources into surface waters, what constitutes “surface waters” has continued to be an open and debated question, one that appears to have created a Circuit Court split that the U.S. Supreme Court may need to resolve. Specifically, on February 1,
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Not in My Backyard: Coastal States Seek Exemptions to Offshore Drilling

On January 4, 2018, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, a plan to open nearly all U.S. coastal waters to oil and gas exploration and drilling. The program would lease the coastal areas along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and several regions of the Arctic Ocean (i.e., Alaska) for oil and gas exploration and contemplates 47 leases on the outer continental shelf of US waters. Prior
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The Bar Lowered: Lower Causation Standard for Plaintiff Under California’s Polanco Redevelopment Act

The California Court of Appeals rang in the New Year for plaintiffs by handing owners, operators, transporters, and arrangers that work with hazardous materials an adverse decision on the issue of causation. In the City of Modesto v. The Dow Chemical Company (2018 WL 317043 (Cal. Ct. App., Jan. 8, 2018), the court focused on the standard of causation that a plaintiff must meet to support a finding of liability under the Polanco Redevelopment Act (Polanco Act). The court lowered
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