Benzene & Emerging Toxic Torts Litigation
HarrisMartin's Benzene & Emerging Toxic Torts Litigation Report will track recent developments in litigation stemming from exposure to benzene, as well as a number of other emerging areas of toxic tort litigation, such as talc, silica, pesticides and other chemical exposures.
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Issue #169, January 2019
Monsanto has moved for summary judgment in the three bellwether cases slated to begin trial next month in the federal multidistrict litigation docket for Roundup personal injury claims, attacking the plaintiffs’ claims on a number of grounds, including FIFRA preemption and timeliness.
Monsanto has filed a motion to exclude the testimony of an economist proffered on behalf of the plaintiffs in upcoming bellwether Roundup trials, arguing that the expert “lacks any identifiable expertise that he could bring to bear on Monsanto’s ability to pay punitive damages.”
The federal court overseeing the national multidistrict litigation docket for Roundup personal injury claims has ruled that it will bifurcate three bellwether trials, concluding that, while this type of bifurcation is unusual and should be done with caution, it is warranted in the underlying circumstances.
A Maryland federal court has retained jurisdiction over a benzene case, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that he had a viable suit against an in-state defendant in light of the fact that the underlying claims do not relate to the company’s winding up of its affairs.
Issue #168, December 2018
Ala. Federal Court Orders Benzene Parties to Conduct Jurisdictional Discovery, Denies Motion to Dismiss Without Prejudice
An Alabama federal court has ordered parties in a benzene action to conduct a period of limited jurisdictional discovery, responding to a dismissal motion in which the defendant maintained that the complaint had failed to allege that defendant Prisco Inc. is at home in Alabama since it is a New Jersey corporation.
Plaintiffs in Benzene Case File Emergency Motion to Remand, Says In-State Defendant Not Fraudulently Joined
Plaintiffs asserting benzene claims in Maryland have filed an emergency motion to remand the action, saying that the removing defendants wrongfully removed the case on the incorrect premises that there is no legitimate Maryland defendant.
Plaintiffs involved in the national multidistrict litigation docket for Roundup personal injury claims have opposed reverse bifurcation in the upcoming bellwether trial, saying that Monsanto cannot possibly cite any MDL implementing the approach because it “is simply never done, and for good reason.”
The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has rejected challenges to an award of benefits to a coal miner under the Black Lung Benefits Act, finding that the ALJ’s determination was based on “substantial evidence.”
An Arizona appellate court has set aside a ruling denying a firefighter’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, saying that it is unable to determine from the evidence on record whether the Administrative Law Judge erred when finding that the claimant had failed to show exposure to at least one particular carcinogen.
A Louisiana federal court has dismissed non-pecuniary and punitive damages claims with prejudice against Halliburton in a benzene case, finding that the plaintiff is precluded from pursuing those claims under the Jones Act or general maritime law.