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.



Issue #166, October 2018

N.Y. Court Extends Expert Discovery Deadline in Chemical Exposure Suit Over Plaintiff Objections

A New York federal court has extended expert discovery in a chemical exposure lawsuit, days after the parties exchanged letters regarding the scheduling of plaintiff expert depositions, with the plaintiff arguing that the defendants have “failed to exercise any diligence in scheduling the depositions of the Plaintiffs’ experts.”

Butter Flavorings Manufacturer Seeks Dismissal of Personal Injury Suits on Jurisdiction Grounds

A butter flavorings manufacturer has filed motions to dismiss personal injury lawsuits, arguing that its “episodic” sales to a plant in South Carolina is not enough to confer jurisdiction over the defendant.

Calif. Judge Denies Monsanto’s Motion for JNOV, Proposes Remittitur of $250 Million Punitive Damage Award

A California judge has denied Monsanto’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in a Roundup case that ended in a $289 million verdict, opining that there is “no legal basis to disturb” the jury’s finding that the plaintiff’s exposure to a glyphosate-based herbicide was a substantial factor in his illness, and departing from a prior tentative order in which it proposed that the $250 million punitive damage award should be tossed entirely.

La. Federal Court Remands Benzene Action, Says Defendant Failed to Establish OCSLA Jurisdiction

A Louisiana federal court has remanded a benzene action, finding that while the plaintiff admitted that he used the product in question for three months on an OCSLA site, that time is “inconsequential” when balanced against the seven years he was exposed to benzene-containing products while working as a seaman.

JPML Places Petition for PFOA/PFOS Foam MDL on November Hearing Docket

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has scheduled a petition seeking the creation of a nationwide docket for PFOA and PFOS foam lawsuits on its November hearing session.

Calif. Judge Issues Tentative Order Granting Motion to Toss $250 Punitive Damage Verdict in Roundup Case

A California judge has issued a tentative order granting Monsanto’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict with regard to punitive damages, opining in the tentative ruling that the plaintiff “presented no clear and convincing evidence of malice or oppression to support an award of punitive damages” in the Roundup personal injury suit.

Issue #165, September 2018

Consolidated Nationwide Docket Sought for PFOA and PFOS Foam Lawsuits

Tyco Fire Products and Chemguard have moved for transfer and consolidation of all federal lawsuits alleging injury and environmental contamination caused by PFOS- and PFOA-containing foams.

Pa. Court Denies Motion to Reconsider Order Tossing Claims Against 3 Benzene Defendants on Jurisdiction Grounds

A Pennsylvania state court has denied a motion for reconsideration filed by benzene plaintiffs, standing by its original decision that the court did not have jurisdiction over Genuine Parts Co., Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., and Univar USA Inc.

Benzene Defendants Seek Final Order from Court in Wake of Defense Verdict, Denial of Post-Trial Motions

A defendant in Pennsylvania has asked a trial court to enter judgment in favor of Berryman Products Inc. and U.S. Steel Corp., months after a jury reached a defense verdict at the conclusion of a benzene trial.

Monsanto Contests $289 Million Roundup Verdict, Says Evidence is Insufficient to Support Verdict

Monsanto has filed notice of post-trial briefs contesting a $289 million Roundup verdict, saying that the evidence presented by the plaintiff was “insubstantial” and “insufficient.”

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