Category Archives: Toxic Torts

Parts Per Trillion, We Hardly Knew Ye; Sell Hello to Parts Per Quadrillion

Just when we environmental old-timers were just getting used to talk about PFAS concentrations in the low parts per trillion range, EPA has moved us squarely into uncharted territory.  EPA has released new, interim, lifetime drinking water health advisories of 4 parts per quadrillion for PFOA and 20 parts per quadrillion for PFOS.  I’ll just note a couple of points: 

  • I think it sort of charming that EPA still states the health advisories in the units of parts per trillion (0.004 ppt for PFOA and 0.020 ppt for PFOS,…
  • More

The Drumbeat of PFAS Litigation Is Getting Louder

On May 25th, Massachusetts filed suit against a number of companies alleged to have manufactured PFAS and/or aqueous film-forming foam.  Massachusetts joins a number of other states which have already brought similar claims.  Indeed, Massachusetts filed the case in South Carolina, where an existing multi-district litigation concerning PFAS is already in progress.

The complaint asserts a number of different claims, including trespass and nuisance,… More

More Action By EPA on PFAS; The Bad News Keeps Piling Up.

The news about PFAS keeps piling up, and the trend is pretty clear – none of it is good for manufacturers and significant users.  There were two important items this week.

First, EPA published its human health toxicity assessment for “GenX chemicals,” also known as hexafluoropropylene oxide (“HFPO”) dimer acid (and don’t forget its ammonium salt!).  EPA has pegged HFPO’s toxicity at 7-100 times higher than that of other PFAS compounds for which assessments already exist,… More

Environmental Nuisance Claims — It Helps To Have Experts

The old warning that “past performance is no guarantee of future results” apparently applies not only to investments but also to environmental nuisance suits in Tennessee.  In Freeman v. Blue Ridge Paper Products, a class of 300 residents living 26 miles downriver from a paper mill plant had obtained a $2 million jury verdict in state court on the ground that the paper mill had interfered with the use and enjoyment of their property from 1999 to 2005 by putting chemicals into the river that caused odors,… More

Why Trial Courts Are Reluctant To Exclude Scientific Evidence in Toxic Tort Cases

Environmental litigation, particularly toxic tort litigation, inevitably turns on scientific evidence about causation.  Beginning with the Supreme Court’s Daubert decision in 1993, trial courts have repeatedly been admonished to take seriously their role as gatekeepers who are required to keep from juries and other fact-finders “junk science” and other expert evidence that is not sufficiently reliable to be considered.

Although no one would disagree that one key responsibility of any judge is to protect against the admission of unreliable evidence,  … More