These cases focus on the importance of stormwater and the waterbodies that stormwater drains into. ELG represents multiple public entities that have sued Monsanto for the effects of legacy contamination from PCBs. Municipal public entities are being required to expend monies to lower the levels of PCBs from their stormwater systems. States are dealing with the effects of PCBs to precious natural resources including all forms of sea life, including fish and whales. These natural resources are being impacted by PCBs in part due to contaminated stormwater being released into some of the country’s most precious waterbodies and impacting the sea life that lives there. Monsanto knew about the toxic effects of PCBs decades ago. It also acknowledged that its product had reached the status of “global contaminant”. These lawsuits are based in tort in multiple jurisdictions and are the first product liability tort cases in America dealing with stormwater.
Mr. Summy helped negotiate a landmark $648M nationwide class settlement with Monsanto on behalf of permitted stormwater operators who discharge into PCB impaired waterbodies. The settlement was approved by Judge Olguin in the Central District of California. This is believed to be the first case in U.S. history to hold the manufacturer of a product responsible for stormwater contamination. The Court overseeing the settlement has appointed Scott Summy, John Fiske and Carla Pickrel, all of ELG, as Lead Class Counsel. Separate settlements totaling $167.6M have also been reached on behalf of the States of Washington, the District of Columbia and New Mexico.
Many of ELG’s clients filed the individual lawsuits that resulted in the class settlement and these clients are serving as proposed Named Class Representatives. They include the Cities of Baltimore, Berkeley, Chula Vista, Long Beach, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma; the Port of Portland; Counties of Baltimore and Los Angeles; District of Columbia and the States of Washington and New Mexico due to PCB contamination.
Mr. Summy represented more than 200 public water providers (e.g., municipalities, water districts, utilities, and school districts) and private well owners whose water was contaminated by MTBE and/or TBA. Many of these cases were consolidated in an MDL where Mr. Summy was appointed Co-Lead Counsel and a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. On behalf of these clients, Mr. Summy sought cost recovery for treatment facilities, operation and maintenance costs, out-of-pocket expenses, and administrative costs. Settlements in these cases totaled over $1 billion dollars. A settlement of particular note was for the City of Santa Monica, which was valued by the Court at $315.5 million. Mr. Summy currently represents the State of Rhode Island in MTBE litigation.
Mr. Summy also represented all public water providers in the United States whose water was contaminated with atrazine, a common agricultural chemical used on corn and other crops. On behalf of these water providers, the Group brought claims against Syngenta, the company that makes atrazine and was aware that its normal use caused drinking water contamination. Mr. Summy negotiated a settlement awarding $105 million to more than 2,000 water providers. Mr. Summy served as Co-Lead/Class Counsel appointed by the Court on behalf of all class members.
Mr. Summy and ELG currently represent more than 20 public entities in litigation resulting from the devastating 2015, 2017 and 2018 California wildfires. The firm also represents hundreds of individuals and businesses. These fires were caused by the electrical utilities’ failure to recognize permanent alterations in weather patterns caused by climate change. The utilities also failed to maintain their equipment and to adequately trim foliage surrounding their equipment. The cases are pending in four consolidated pieces of litigation – two in the North: Northern California Fires, JCCP 4955 and Camp Fire Cases, JCCP 4995; and two others in the South: Southern California Fires, JCCP 4965 and Woolsey Fires, JCCP 5000. Mr. Summy currently serves, along with Baron & Budd shareholder John Fiske, as Co-Lead Counsel for the public entities in Southern California and Woolsey Fire JCCPs. He was also appointed as Co-Lead Counsel for the public entities in the Northern California JCCP prior to PG&E filing bankruptcy. Those cases are now pending in the bankruptcy court.
Mr. Summy recently reached a tentative settlement for the Northern California Public Entities for $1 billion. The clients include Butte County, Butte-Glenn Community College District, City of Chico, City of Clearlake, City of Cloverdale, Lake County, Mendocino County, City of Napa, Napa County, Nevada County, City of Santa Rosa, Paradise Recreation & Park District, Sonoma County, Thermalito Water and Sewer District, Town of Paradise, Town of Windsor and Yuba County.
He previously settled cases on behalf of several public entities for damages suffered as a result of the Butte Fire. Those entities include Calaveras County, Calaveras County Water District, Ebbetts Pass Fire District, San Andreas Fire District and West Point Fire District.
Mr. Summy also secured a $360 million settlement from Southern California Edison on behalf of 23 public entities for taxpayer losses caused by the 2017 Thomas Fire, the 2018 Montecito Debris Flows, and the 2018 Woolsey Fire. These clients include Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, City of Agoura Hills, City of Calabasas, City of Hidden Hills, City of Malibu, City of Santa Barbara, City of Thousand Oaks, City of Ventura, City of Westlake Village, Conejo Valley Recreation and Park District, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles County Consolidated Fire Protection District, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, Montecito Water Protection District, Montecito Fire Protection District, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, Santa Barbara County and several related agencies and Ventura County and several related agencies.
In addition to public entities, Mr. Summy represents thousands of families and businesses who lost everything due to the negligent maintenance, inspection, and operations of these investor-owned utilities.
AFFF MDL – Mr. Summy was recently appointed as Co-Lead Counsel by the court in AFFF MDL No. 2873 pending in federal district court in South Carolina. This litigation focuses on PFAS contamination to the environment by its use in fire foam. The litigation focuses on the manufacturers of AFFF and PFAS and seeks damages for extensive contamination. This is the hottest environmental issue in the United States presently. Mr. Summy represents numerous public entities in the MDL. They include Bakman Water Company, California Water Service Company, City of Lauderhill, City of Pensacola, City of San Jose, City of Sioux Falls, Coraopolis Water & Sewer Authority, Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, England Economic and Industrial Development, Lakefront Management Authority, Sioux Falls Airport Authority, South Adams County Water and Sanitation District, Town of Ayer, Town of Barnstable, Town of Danvers and Town of Maysville.
Mr. Summy is also serving as Co-Chair of the General Liability Discovery Committee and the Science Committee. Baron & Budd Shareholder Carla Burke Pickrel is also serving as Co-Chair of the Law and Briefing Committee.
GEN-X – Mr. Summy and the Group are currently seeking relief on behalf of public water providers and individuals against E. I. du Pont de Nemours and The Chemours Company for decades-long contamination of the Cape Fear River, along with the air and groundwater near the Fayetteville, North Carolina plant from Gen-X compounds and dozens of other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the PFAS chemical family. For 35 years, DuPont and Chemours have contaminated the river and more than a hundred private wells around their plant. Mr. Summy and the Group represent Brunswick County, the Town of Wrightsville Beach, and the Lower Cape Fear Water & Sewer Authority as they seek to recover the costs of removing all PFAS chemicals before the water is distributed to the public. The Group also represents the owners of most of the private wells around the plant that have been contaminated, and is seeking damages for well filtration, all costs associated with filtration, and property damage. This case is of national significance as focus has shifted to the prevalence of PFAS chemicals across the country.
Gulf Oil Spill
Mr. Summy’s experience with environmental litigation led to a leadership role in the litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, he was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Gulf Oil Spill Multi-District Litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana. In that capacity, he played a critical role in negotiating a settlement and claim procedure for the tens of thousands of individuals, businesses, and governmental entities injured by the oil spill. To date, the value of this settlement is estimated to exceed $14 billion. Mr. Summy and the Group also represented hundreds of businesses with claims against BP and have recovered in excess of $100 million on behalf of these clients.
Mr. Summy also represented a number of public entities who sustained loss of tax revenue due to the oil spill and assisted in the recovery of their significant damages. These entities include City of Anna Maria, City of Bristol, City of Holmes Beach, City of Marathon, City of Monticello, City of Niceville, City of Palmetto, City of Pensacola, City of St. Marks, City of Tallahassee, Collier County, Escambia County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Lee County, Leon County, Manatee County, Monroe County, Okaloosa Gas District, Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board, Santa Rosa County, School Board of Calhoun County, School Board of Escambia County, School Board of Jefferson County, School Board of Leon County, School Board of Martin County, School Board of Miami-Dade County, School Board of Monroe County, School Board of Palm Beach County, School Board of Polk County, School Board of Santa Rosa County, School Board of Volusia County, School Board of Wakulla County, Town of White Springs, Village of Islamorada, and Wakulla County.
Mr. Summy and the Group were involved in developing successful product liability theories against the makers of nematicides applied to crops in California. These nematicides contained the scavenger chemical 1,2,3TCP. Over the last decade, Mr. Summy and the Group have represented many California public entities whose public drinking water wells were impacted by TCP. The public entities represented include California Water Services, City of Bakersfield, City of Delano, City of Livingston, City of Oceanside, City of Shafter, City of Wasco, Lamont Public Utility District and Montara Water & Sanitary District. Results to date exceed $200 million. The group currently represents San Joaquin County in their litigation.
Santa Barbara Oil Spill
Mr. Summy represented the City of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County against Plains All-American Pipeline. The company’s pipeline ruptured, spilling oil in the vicinity of Santa Barbara residents and the Pacific Ocean. These cases were successfully resolved.
Coal Ash – Duke Energy
Mr. Summy and the Group were part of the team that successfully resolved litigation for residents living nearby Duke Energy Coal Ash ponds. Chemicals have leaked from these ponds and contaminated drinking water wells with hexavalent chromium and other dangerous chemicals.