News Recap for 12-11-20
Bloomberg Law: PFAS Litigation ‘Second Wave’ Ahead if Biden Delivers New Rules — The incoming Biden administration’s pledge to take quick action to address PFAS—specifically his vow to use the federal Superfund law and the Safe Drinking Water Act to tighten oversight—will have ripple effects in high-stakes lawsuits playing out across the country. These changes could create a liability web even wider than the one that already entangles dozens of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and users of the chemicals. At the same time, the change could make PFAS liability more straightforward forwater utilities and companies dealing with cleanups—providing a clear process for pulling in anyone who might be responsible for a site’s contamination and then divvying up the costs.
Legal Newsline: Monsanto fights lawsuit of healthy man who wants warning label on Roundup — A man who sued Monsanto because it doesn’t include a may-cause-cancer warning label on Roundup weedkiller has no standing to bring suit because he has suffered no health effects, the company says. The case, filed in Delaware federal court, claims a warning label was required even though a California judge has ruled it was wrong to place on of the state’s infamous Prop 65 warnings on it and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has determined the product doesn’t cause cancer.
Reuters: France to help farmers to abandon glyphosate weedkiller — France will give financial aid to farmers who agree to halt use of glyphosate, the farm ministry said on Monday after President Macron said he had failed with efforts to ban use of the weedkiller by 2021. While regulators worldwide have determined glyphosate to be safe, Bayer agreed in June to settle nearly 100,000 U.S. lawsuits for $10.9 billion, denying claims that Roundup caused cancer. France will grant a temporary tax credit of 2,500 euros ($3,030) to farmers who declare in 2021 and/or in 2022 to have stopped use of glyphosate in the sectors most affected by a halt in the use of the weedkiller, such as wine, orchards and grain crops. Stopping the use of glyphosate on a grain farm leads to a loss in gross operating profit of up to 16%, which amounts to an extra cost of up to 80 euros per hectare, or up to 7,000 euros for an average farm of 87 hectares.
National Law Review: Enforcement Risk to Ethylene Oxide Emitters Could Increase Under Biden Administration — The Biden Administration’s environmental platform makes community focus and environmental justice a marquis issue, and ethylene oxide (EtO) may provide an early opportunity for the new Administration. The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded last March that EPA should inform residents living near EtO facilities about exposures. An official EPA warning to a community could well set the stage for collective community concerns and further embolden plaintiffs’ lawyers to reach out for potential class members.
Insurance Journal: Tort Reformers Proclaim Top 10 ‘Judicial Hellholes’ for 2020 — The latest edition of an annual report of the nation’s worst local courts and states was released this week, marked by “judges who allow junk science into evidence in trials.” The 2019-20 Judicial Hellholes report ranks Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas as the No. 1 Judicial Hellhole in the country, due to the large number of mass torts cases inundating this court system and the high-dollar judgments and settlements that result. The report also identifies what it sees as several worrisome areas emerging in civil litigation including an increase in local governments filing local lawsuits to address national public policy issues, legislation seeking to ban arbitration and new data privacy liability concerns.