No Straw for You!

On January 1, 2019, the District of Columbia and the State of California became the latest jurisdictions to ban restaurants from offering their customers a plastic straw and other single-use plastics, including coffee stirrers.  Seattle and Vancouver have similar straw bans in place and regulations are now proposed or pending in New York City, Miami Beach, Fort Myers, and Monmouth Beach, among others. The straw ban movement has expanded beyond the U.S. and Canada; the United Kingdom proposed a ban on selling plastic straws, stirrers …

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Pincer Move? State AGs Employ Two-Pronged Attack on U.S. EPA Over Landfill Emissions

A multistate coalition of Attorneys General, including California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont; and the California Air Resources Board, joined to file comments demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw its proposed rule delaying by four years implementation of a regulation that would reduce emissions from landfills.

The regulation at issue, known formally as the 2016 Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, was designed to reduce landfill emissions of carbon dioxide, methane …

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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, the president criticized forest management …

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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 the reduced award or seek …

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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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California Leading the Charge In Renewable Energy

Recently, the Assembly of the State of California approved the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 or “SB100” which will require all energy used in the state to come from renewable sources by December 31, 2045. The bill, authored by State Senator Kevin de León, passed the California Senate last year, the Assembly on August 28, 2018, and was reconciled by the Senate on August 29, 2018. All that remains before the bill becomes law, is Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. According to the bill’s …

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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 cancer, it is not …

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$289 Million Verdict for Plaintiff In Roundup Litigation

Well, it finally happened: in the first glyphosate exposure case to go to a jury trial, a San Francisco, California jury awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million dollars.

Back in June, we reported that DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, a groundskeeper for the school district in Benicia, California, had filed suit alleging that workplace exposure to glyphosate-containing products Roundup and Ranger Pro had led him to develop lymphoma. His case went to trial in late June, and last Friday, the jury reached a verdict. They awarded …

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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 (FFDCA) and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, …

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Battles over Lead Paint Rage On in California

Three paint manufacturers who have been in a tug-of-war with several California counties regarding potential liability for lead paint resorted to a state balloting process to shift the potential exposure. The battle started to intensify earlier this year when the California Supreme Court declined to review a 2014 state appeals court ruling that held manufacturers Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. liable for $1.15 billion dollars in costs associated with remediation of lead paint in housing built before 1951 in California, …

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