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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Majority Views on Roundup Toxicity Challenged by Recent Study

As the next bellwether glyphosate case against Roundup producer Monsanto begins a bifurcated trial on February 25 that places science and causation evidence in the forefront, last week, the journal Mutation Research published a study challenging the prevailing opinions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Food Safety Authority, the European Chemicals Agency, Australia, New Zealand, and German BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) which all find that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe and not carcinogenic. Notably, three
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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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PA Supreme Court Enforces “Impact Fees” Against Natural Gas Drillers, Defines Scope

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an opinion providing guidance to the natural gas industry regarding the application of “impact fees” associated with hydraulic fracturing. ​In Snyder Brothers, Inc., v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, et. al., the court decided that natural gas drillers whose production from wells exceeds 90,000 cubic feet per day, for even one month of the year, will be required to pay impact fees. The decision overturns Pennsylvania’s intermediary appellate court’s prior decision that allowed drillers to avoid the impact fee if their vertical wells were classified as “stripper wells,” which, by definition, are not subject to impact fees due
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Federal Court Shoots Down Pipeline Project

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with environmental groups this week, ruling that the U.S. Forest Service violated federal environmental laws by granting permission for the construction of the Atlantic Coastal Pipeline. This 600 mile natural gas pipeline would cut through the mid-Atlantic United States, from West Virginia to North Caroline, and would traverse part of the Appalachian Trail. The project has been met with opposition since its inception, with environmentalists arguing that federal agencies have failed to
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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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Long-Term Environmental Impact of Hurricane Florence Yet to be Seen

As of press time, Hurricane Florence has claimed nearly 40 lives and caused extensive destruction in the hardest-hit areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Environmental analysts will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to measure the environmental impact of the storm. At present, we have detected three current areas of primary environmental concern — risk to nuclear sites, the spread of coal ash waste, and the flooding of industrial farms.  Nuclear Sites: The Carolinas are uniquely situated
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The Costs of Doing Business: 9th Circuit Upholds Oregon Clean Fuels Program

In 2007, the Oregon legislature instituted a program designed to reduce the state’s greenhouse emissions to at least 10 percent lower than 2010 levels by 2025. The Oregon Clean Fuels Program uses a cap-and-trade scheme that attributes a carbon intensity value to transportation fuels produced or imported into Oregon. Regulated parties must keep the average carbon intensity of all transportation fuels used in Oregon below an annual limit. A fuel with a carbon intensity below the limit generates a credit, and one with a
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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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