Herbicide Imprelis Tree Deaths. DuPont waited too long to take responsibility for tree deaths blamed on its now-banned Imprelis herbicide, according to a partner with Parker Waichman LLP. The firm is currently representing plaintiffs in about a dozen Imprelis lawsuits, and plans to file more in the near future.
“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,” Jordan Chaikin of Parker Waichman LLP told Biocycle. “That’s nonsense. Manufacturers are always shifting blame and looking to point a finger.”
Chaikin also denied DuPont’s assertion that its August 4 decision to pull Imprelis from the market was voluntary, pointing out that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had already threatened to issue an Imprelis stop-sale order in a letter to DuPont dated August 3.
Parker Waichman LLP has filed Imprelis lawsuits on behalf of client groups in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota and plans to file additional actions in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas and South Dakota. According to Chaikin, the epicenter of the catastrophe appears to be the state of Ohio.
“We have one Ohio homeowner who planted a tree 50 years ago when her daughter was born. It sits in middle of her property and is dying because of Imprelis,” he said.
Investigation By DuPont And EPA Starts
DuPont and the EPA had both begun Imprelis investigations earlier this summer, after receiving reports that evergreen trees had been damaged, and in some cases killed, after Imprelis was applied to nearby lawns. Imprelis, which DuPont began marketing last year, was supposed to be an environmentally safe solution for controlling broad-leaf weeds. It was not sold over the counter, but was only available to licensed landscapers.
Reported Imprelis side effects include twisting and curling, possibly followed by browning of needles, shoots and branch tips. While most damage reports involve coniferous trees, such as white pine and Norway spruce, injury has also been seen on other ornamental plants and deciduous trees, according to one alert issued by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
At least 18 Imprelis lawsuits are pending in federal courts in Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced earlier this week that it will convene a hearing on September to consider consolidation of Imprelis lawsuits to a single case.
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