Bal­ti­more County, City, an­nounce class ac­tion law­suit against Mon­santo

The Dundalk Eagle - - OBITUARIES -

Bal­ti­more City and Bal­ti­more County an­nounced on June 24, along with eleven other govern­men­tal en­ti­ties across the coun­try, a pro­posed na­tion­wide class ac­tion set­tle­ment with Mon­santo Com­pany, Phar­ma­cia, LLC, and So­lu­tia, Inc., for $550 mil­lion, re­solv­ing PCB wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion claims for a pro­posed class of 2,528 govern­men­tal en­ti­ties na­tion­wide.

“This na­tional res­o­lu­tion will em­power nearly 2,000 cities, towns, coun­ties, and in­de­pen­dent port dis­tricts to bet­ter mon­i­tor, mit­i­gate, and re­me­di­ate th­ese man-made car­cino­gens that im­pair the wa­ter qual­ity in stormwa­ter, sewer sys­tems, sed­i­ments, and wa­ter bod­ies,” Bal­ti­more Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive John A. Ol­szewski, Jr. said in a joint state­ment.

“Our re­gion is home to hun­dreds of miles of water­front, in­clud­ing rivers, creeks, and crit­i­cal es­tu­ar­ies like the Bal­ti­more Har­bor, which are a pre­cious com­po­nent of our cul­ture. We’re proud to lead ef­forts to pro­tect th­ese nat­u­ral re­sources and to pro­tect waters through­out the state and na­tion.”

Poly­chlo­ri­nated biphenyls, or PCBs, im­pair the wa­ter qual­ity of Back River, Bear Creek, Cur­tis Creek, and the Bal­ti­more Har­bor, which are im­por­tant es­tu­ar­ies, as well as tidal por­tions of Bird River and Gun­pow­der River, and the Lake Roland im­pound­ment.Le­gal mo­tions to ap­prove the pro­posed set­tle­ment class have been filed in fed­eral court in the Cen­tral District of Cal­i­for­nia, in a case be­fore Judge Fer­nando M. Ol­guin.

More than a dozen law­suits have been filed by govern­men­tal en­ti­ties since March 2015, seek­ing to re­cover the costs as­so­ci­ated with clean­ing up stormwa­ter and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­tam­i­na­tion caused by PCBs, which Mon­santo man­u­fac­tured be­tween the 1930s and 1977.

The City of Bal­ti­more and Bal­ti­more County were the first East Coast gov­ern­ments to sue.

The named plain­tiffs lead­ing the na­tion­wide res­o­lu­tion in­clude the City of Bal­ti­more, Bal­ti­more County, City of Spokane, City of Ta­coma, City of Port­land, Port of Port­land, City of Berke­ley, City of Oak­land, City of San Jose, County of Los An­ge­les, City of Long Beach, City of San Diego, and City of Chula Vista, Cal­i­for­nia.

The cases were col­lec­tively lit­i­gated for over 5 years and were me­di­ated and re­solved through JAMS Me­di­a­tor Judge (Ret.) Jay Gandhi.

The pro­posed class ac­tion must be approved by Judge Ol­guin prior to pro­vid­ing pay­ments to the govern­men­tal en­tity class mem­bers. The pro­posed class ac­tion will pro­vide all class mem­bers with a mon­e­tary ben­e­fit and will ad­di­tion­ally pro­vide funds for those govern­men­tal en­ti­ties that have in­curred or will in­cur sig­nif­i­cant ex­penses to pro­tect and re­me­di­ate Amer­ica’s wa­ter­ways.

The City of Bal­ti­more is rep­re­sented by Act­ing City So­lic­i­tor Dana P. Moore, and Di­rec­tor of Af­fir­ma­tive Lit­i­ga­tion Suzanne San­gree. Bal­ti­more County is rep­re­sented by County At­tor­ney James R. Ben­jamin, Jr. and Deputy County At­tor­ney Gregory E. Gask­ins.

The City of Bal­ti­more and Bal­ti­more County are also rep­re­sented by out­side coun­sel Martin Wolf, Richard Gor­don and Ben Car­ney of Gor­don, Wolf & Car­ney, as well as Kyle McGee of Grant & Eisen­hofer, and John Fiske of Baron & Budd, P.C. one of the pro­posed Lead Class Coun­sel.

For more in­for­ma­tion or avail­abil­ity, please con­tact for Bal­ti­more City: James Bent­ley at 443257-9794, or for Bal­ti­more County, Sean Naron at 443-613-3221.

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