Today, the City of Baltimore and Baltimore County, along with eleven other governmental entities across the country, announced 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. PCBs are man-made carcinogens that persist in the environment and bioaccumulate, resulting in fish consumption advisories in these water bodies.
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 five 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 443-257-9794, or for Baltimore County, Sean Naron at 443-613-3221.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski has assembled a panel of economic thought leaders to discuss the changing regional business landscape in the wake of COVID-19 business shutdowns, and explore potential long-term shifts that may alter our local economy for years and decades to come.??
“Exploring Economic Impacts and Opportunities in the Baltimore Region” is the fifth session in the “Baltimore County Business Forum—COVID-19 and Beyond” webinar series.
Baltimore County Director of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) Director Will Anderson will moderate this 60-minute session, where an expert panel will discuss the pandemic’s impact on businesses, recovery forecast trends and the unique opportunities emerging in business sectors like technology, logistics, domestic manufacturing, retail distribution and others.?
“It’s important for government to partner with our business community to provide a data-informed analysis of where we are now and to offer insights into emerging trends and areas for potential economic expansion in the coming months and years,” said County Executive Olszewski, who will offer his perspective on the role of local government in supporting business resilience.?
The webinar will be presented live via Cisco Webex on Wednesday, July 1, at 1 p.m., and webinar access information is posted on the County website at baltimorecountybusiness.com. Recorded video of the completed webinar will be posted there shortly afterwards. People are invited to submit questions during the webinar via the live Webex questions feature, or in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) provides a comprehensive overview of resources and assistance available to help affected individuals and businesses. This information is available on the Department’s website.
Baltimore County today announced a new supply agreement with Sparks-based BD Integrated Diagnostic Solutions (IDS), part of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX), a leading global medical technology company, to directly purchase COVID-19 testing collection and transport kits to enhance Baltimore County’s ability to provide more robust testing capacity over the coming weeks and months.
Baltimore County is the first state or local government in Maryland to purchase these testing collection and transport kits directly from BD IDS.
“Ensuring consistent access to testing is a critical component of our long-term fight against this deadly virus,” County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “We’re thankful that Baltimore County is able to partner with BD IDS, a business right here in our backyard, to secure testing materials that can be used immediately to enhance our response to COVID-19.”
Under this new agreement, Baltimore County will purchase up to 2,000 BD Universal Viral Transport (UVT) System kits per week. The system includes the swabs and vials needed to collect and transport samples. These samples will be processed through existing County agreements with LabCorp and Quest. Baltimore County will begin using these kits immediately. Baltimore County has already purchased, and BD has already delivered, the first shipment of 2,000 kits.
“BD IDS has remained open and operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to supply crucial diagnostic tools for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases to health care institutions all over the world,” said Dave Hickey, president of Integrated Diagnostic Solutions at BD. “We are glad to see our work benefit our friends and neighbors in Baltimore County.”
BD has been part of the Maryland community since 1954 and strengthened its local presence in 2019 by making its Sparks campus the worldwide headquarters of its IDS business, with nearly 1,900 local associates in roles ranging from manufacturing and distribution to research and development and from global sales to business leadership and support.
These new kits will supplement Baltimore County’s existing testing supplies and is the latest effort from Baltimore County to expand testing capacity for residents.
Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch has issued a standing order enabling any County resident wishing to receive a test to do so without an order from their healthcare provider. Baltimore County also recently introduced an online tool so that anyone can quickly and easily book a free COVID-19 testing appointment at one of Baltimore County’s five testing locations.
“With the recent addition of our walk-up testing clinic in the Lansdowne area, we are now providing testing at five locations across the County,” said Dr. Branch. “Multiple testing locations and ample testing kits are key to containing the transmission of this virus.”
Individuals interested in getting a free test from a Baltimore County location can visit the?Coronavirus Updates and Guidance page to make an appointment. Additionally, residents can check with their local pharmacies about testing availability or call Baltimore County’s COVID-19 hotline at 410-887-3816 for other coronavirus-related questions. The hotline is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
BD is one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world and is advancing the world of health by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the delivery of care. The company supports the heroes on the frontlines of health care by developing innovative technology, services and solutions that help advance both clinical therapy for patients and clinical process for health care providers. BD and its 65,000 employees have a passion and commitment to help enhance the safety and efficiency of clinicians' care delivery process, enable laboratory scientists to accurately detect disease and advance researchers' capabilities to develop the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics. BD has a presence in virtually every country and partners with organizations around the world to address some of the most challenging global health issues. By working in close collaboration with customers, BD can help enhance outcomes, lower costs, increase efficiencies, improve safety and expand access to health care.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today issued the following proclamation honoring June 19, 2020 as “Juneteenth Commemoration Day” in Baltimore County.?
WHEREAS, on June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and presented General Order No. 3, announcing that all enslaved people were now free—more than two years after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation; and
WHEREAS, the date of June 19 has become known as Juneteenth, the oldest known observance commemorating the emancipation of African Americans; and
WHEREAS, Juneteenth honors not only the end of the cruelty of bondage; but the resolve of the human spirit over generations of adversity; and
WHEREAS, in Baltimore County and across the country, Americans must honestly confront the legacy of racial injustice experienced by communities of color and how the menace of systemic racism has shaped our current realties; and?
WHEREAS, we welcome the commemoration of Juneteenth as a day of truthful reflection to honor the progress we have made, acknowledge how far we still have to go, and renew our commitment to building a shared community vision for advancing justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion for all people in Baltimore County and beyond:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, John A. Olszewski, Jr., as County Executive of Baltimore County, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2020—Juneteenth—as “JUNETEENTH COMMEMORATION DAY” in Baltimore County, and do commend this observance to all residents. ?