Firefighting foam.

Doomed from the Start: Sixth Circuit Extinguishes Hardwick Class-Action PFAS Litigation

“Seldom is so ambitious a case filed on so slight a basis.”

That was the first sentence of Judge RaymondKethledge’s opinion vacating a district court order that certified a class of over 11 million Ohio residents who alleged various companies put their health at risk by manufacturing and selling products containing PFAS.  The panel of three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit— Kethledge, Thapar, and Mathis — instructed the district court to dismiss this much-talked-about case for lack of jurisdiction. …

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Oil Workers at Dusk

Oil Giant’s Directors Sued Personally for “Flawed” Climate Strategy in One-of-a-Kind Lawsuit

Lawyers at the environmental law firm ClientEarth earlier this month personally sued the directors of one of the largest oil producers in a derivative action for their alleged failure to manage material and foreseeable climate risks. 

ClientEarth filed the action at the High Court of Justice in England and Wales, alleging breach of UK company law. In total, 11 of the company’s directors are named. At issue is whether the 11 board members breached their duty to shareholders by not properly managing climate risk.

If you’re …

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Detail of a man shopping in supermarket

States Increasing Regulation of PFAS Products Heralds Increased Litigation

More and more state legislatures are looking to PFAS exposure as one of the main focuses of their new environmental regulations. As of this month, Maine banned the sale of residential carpets containing PFAS and became the first state to require companies to report products containing the chemicals. Maine’s law will ban all non-essential PFAS products by 2030. In November, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce told the state Department of Environmental Protection that the new laws would affect nearly every sector of the state …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

Federal Lawsuit claims the US EPA has become ‘inert’ when it comes to judging pesticide ingredients

Last week, four environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing  to assess the hard-data consequences of pesticides in its approval process. 

 Back in 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) created lists of pesticides, dividing inert ingredients into four categories based on their toxicological concern; List 1-Inerts of toxicological concern, List 2-Potentially toxic inerts/high priority for testing, List 3-Inerts of unknown toxicity, and List 4-Inerts of minimal concern. 

 Despite this list clearly demonstrating that the EPA has been aware—for decades—of the potential for …

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EPA’S Chlorpyrifos Ban Likely to Increase Pesticide Litigation

As we previously reported, the U.S. EPA recently issued its ban on the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos has been widely used in food crop agriculture since the late 1960s. Unlike for the glyphosate-based pesticide commonly sold under the brand name Roundup®, most residential uses of chlorpyrifos were banned in 2001. However, it was not until on August 18, 2021 that the EPA took more aggressive action and banned the use of chlorpyrifos for all agricultural purposes.

Unlike for the weed …

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Ethylene Oxide—Back in the Spotlight with 150 New Lawsuits

Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a chemical long used to sterilize products that cannot be sterilized with steam, such as medical equipment and surgical devices. One of 187 hazardous air pollutants that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates, EtO has been shown to cause various cancers when inhaled over time. In December 2016, the EPA concluded that EtO gas, a human carcinogen, was more dangerous than previously thought, and updated its risk value. Although the EPA subsequently moved to update rules under the Clean Air Act …

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NY Navigation Law Alert: Appellate Division Reaffirms “Method of Delivery” is Key for Strict Liability in Oil Spill Case

In the recently-decided Scott v. Triborough Energy Corp., NY Slip Op 03126 (May 13, 2021), the First Department considered a case where the defendant—the plaintiff’s residential heating oil supplier—allegedly caused oil to leak into the plaintiff’s basement while delivering to their home. The plaintiffs sued under Navigation Law § 181(5) (NL), which permits private causes of action in strict liability against a petroleum discharger, as long as the plaintiffs have “not caused or contributed to (and thus are not ‘responsible for’) the discharge. See

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Another Former Potomac River Paper Mill Strikes Costly Settlement Deal to Avoid Lengthy Pollution Litigation

Verso Corporation and Verso Luke LLC, owners of the now closed Luke Paper Mill, became the latest potentially responsible parties (PRP) to resolve claims against them for discharging waste into the North Branch Potomac River. The mill manufactured paper products along the river, which straddles the Maryland-West Virginia border. 

On April 6, 2019, a fisherman reported to Maryland that “pure black waste” was entering the river near the mill. Subsequent investigations revealed black liquid seeping from several locations along approximately 500 feet of riverbank located on the mill’s property …

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Second Circuit Holds Climate Change Litigation Belongs in Federal Court

On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit—in a unanimous decision—affirmed the dismissal of the City of New York’s climate change lawsuit filed against a number of global oil manufacturers that sought climate change-related infrastructure damages. The issue resolved by the federal appellate court was whether municipalities could seek to hold multinational companies liable for damages caused by global greenhouse emissions under state common law. Given the nature of the harm and the existence of a complex web of federal …

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Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Kids Climate Suit—Headed to the Supreme Court?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has declined to rehear the high-profile Juliana v. United States case, which has been followed by Environmental Law Monitor here, here, and here. Last January, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the case for lack of Article III standing, and last week, a little over a year after its decision ordering dismissal of the case, the court declined the plaintiffs’ motion for a rehearing.

The Juliana plaintiffs, a group of 21 then-minors, filed suit in …

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