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 found that the plaintiff’s …

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WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke – How Shoud GHG Emissions be Estimated?

On March 19, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling blocking, at least temporarily, approved oil and gas drilling on approximately 300,000 acres in Wyoming.

The case, WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke, et al., 16-1724 (D.C. Cir.), was brought by two advocacy groups, Wildlife Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, which alleged that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated federal law by not sufficiently considering climate change when authorizing oil and gas leasing on federal land in Wyoming, …

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Senate Follows House’s Lead: Legislation Introduced by the Upper Chamber Aims to Classify PFAS as “Hazardous Substances” Under CERCLA

On March 1, 2019, new legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to classify per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under Superfund.  A similar bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019.

PFAS are a class of fluorinated chemicals that are found in consumer products such as non-stick pans, food packaging, and rain gear, as well as commercial products including firefighting foam. The chemicals do not break down once released into the environment and persist in …

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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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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 under the Comprehensive …

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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 instruction on how to prepare …

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First Climate Change Trial Now on the Horizon

On October 15, 2018, Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S.D.C. for the District of Oregon denied the federal government’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion for summary judgment in the Juliana lawsuit filed by 21 minors. As previously explained in this blog, the minors allege that the government has violated their constitutional rights with regard to decisions that have led to climate change. Further, the minors seek to compel the federal government to prepare a consumption-based inventory of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and …

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A $289 Million Dollar Roundup Verdict is at Risk of Reversal

Last week, a San Francisco judge issued a tentative ruling on the defendant Monsanto Company’s Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, and their Motion for a New Trial.  This ruling threatens to gut the $289 million dollar verdict ($39M compensatory and $250M punitives) that the plaintiff Dewayne Johnson secured this summer over the company that manufactures Roundup and Ranger Pro, the glyphosate-containing herbicides used by the plaintiff in his work as a school district groundskeeper and that were alleged to have caused his lymphoma.  In …

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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 in that …

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Environmental Due Diligence: What’s The Latest On Federal Environmental Review?

Just a few days ago, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee — in a tight split — voted to support a bill that seeks to target the slow pace of the permitting process for infrastructure and development projects that require review by federal agencies. The bill, named the “Permitting Litigation Efficiency Act,” is expected to impose limits on federal review of projects, i.e., an apparent two-year deadline for federal agencies to determine whether a project can go forward. Other points of the act …

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