DuPont Imprelis Tree Damage Lawsuits Centralized in MDL

All DuPont Imprelis lawsuits filed in federal district courts throughout the United States by consumers who lost trees and property value after using the weed killer, will be consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order establishing the Imprelis MDL on October 20, which will result in the transfer of more than 40 lawsuits from 17 districts. In addition, as DuPont Imprelis lawyers continue to file new cases in federal courts across the country, they will be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for coordinated handling before U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter.

A petition to centralize the Imprelis litigation was originally filed by three different plaintiffs who disagreed on where the cases should be centralized.

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All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that the weed killer actually killed otherwise healthy trees on golf courses, parks or other property, leaving unattractive dead husks in its wake and lowering property values and owners’ ability to enjoy their property.

While DuPont promoted Imprellis as a herbicide to target broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion, clover, plantains, wild violet and ground ivy, the company advised consumers in June 2011 not to use Imprellis near Norway spruce and white pines.

Since Memorial Day, Imprelis is suspected of causing the death of thousands of shallow-rooted trees on lawns, golf courses, parks and cemeteries throughout the U.S., including willows, poplars and conifers. Lawsuits over Imprelis allege that tens of thousands of additional trees are likely to be killed as a result of the weedkiller.

In August, the EPA ordered a halt of sales and distribution of Imprelis, saying that the herbicide violated federal regulations by failing to warn on the label about the risk to non-target species, like conifer trees.

Centralization of the DuPont Imprellis tree damage litigation as part of an MDL will allow one judge to rule on all pre-trial motions, preventing duplicative or contradictory rulings. Centralized management is also designed to help avoid duplicative discovery and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the court.

Although the cases will be consolidated during pretrial proceedings, if a DePont Imprelis settlement agreement is not reached, each case may be remanded back to it’s originating federal district court for trial.

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