Imprelis Lawyers File Motion to Preserve Tree Damage Evidence

A group of law firms has gone to court seeking to force DuPont to notify property owners and lawn care professionals of the steps they should take to preserve evidence of damage caused by the tree-killing herbicide, <"">Imprelis. A hearing is scheduled on the motion for September 20 in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

Imprelis was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month, after data provided by DuPont confirmed that certain coniferous trees, including Norway spruce, white pine and balsam fir, were susceptible to being damaged or killed by the application of Imprelis. The herbicide, which was only approved by the EPA last October, was supposed be an environmentally safe solution for controlling broadleaf weeds.

Since then, a number Imprelis lawsuits have been filed in federal courts in Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced earlier this month that it will convene a hearing on September 27 to consider consolidation of Imprelis lawsuits in a single federal court. The national law firm of Parker Waichman Alonso LLP has filed around a dozen Imprelis lawsuits in several Midwestern states. According to Jordan Chaikin, a partner with the firm, DuPont could be facing more than a billion dollars in liability.

You are talking about a lot of people who have dead trees 40 to 50 feet tall, 30 or 50 years old that each cost $20,000 or $25,000 to replace,” he recently told the Times.

In a separate interview with BioScience, Chaikin also chided DuPont or trying to deflect blame for the Imprelis catastrophe earlier this summer.

“They tried to shift the blame and said ‘It’s not us.’ The landscapers didn’t follow directions or they mixed it with other herbicides, or they tried to blame it on the weather,” Chaikin said. “That’s nonsense. Manufacturers are always shifting blame and looking to point a finger.”

According to The Miami Herald, the motion scheduled to be heard in Delaware next month was filed representing by attorneys plaintiffs in six combined cases on August 22. It states that “evidence that may be necessary to prove which trees it injured and killed, and the amount of damages that resulted, is dissipating with each passing day and may be unwittingly destroyed as trees are replaced.”

DuPont sent a letter to customers last week stating that that the company would be emailing details about the claims process yesterday. According to the Herald, recipients were directed to submit “information about any possible Imprelis-related damage on your or your customers’ properties.” The letter further stated that DuPont has established partnerships with several tree companies contracted to help customers with tree removal and disposal procedures.

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