Magistrate Judge Finds Groups Properly Asserted Privilege Over Documents

PITTSBURGH - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania overseeing discovery in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) lawsuit on Nov. 22 denied a renewed motion to compel filed by a defendant company, finding that it was unable to show that the plaintiff groups waived privilege over documents...

Michigan Appeals Court Reverses $3.8M Sanction Against Environmental Agency

LANSING, Mich. - A Michigan Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 26 reversed a trial court's order requiring the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment to pay $3.8 million in attorney fees and expert witness costs as a sanction for egregious conduct by its counsel, finding that it is...

N.C. Court Affirms Admission Of Experts Testifying On Their Area Of Expertise

RALEIGH, N.C. - A workers' compensation commission properly admitted the testimony of a veterinarian on the issue of animal studies in an asbestos-related esophageal cancer case, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held Dec. 3 (Paulette Smith Wise, executor of the estate of Harvey Smith v. Alcoa...

Federal Judge Allows Testimony On Motor Home Purchaser's Mold Injuries

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A New York federal judge denied a motor home maker's motion to preclude a purchaser's expert testimony in relation to her alleged mold exposure and injuries but found that her failure-to-warn claim should be dismissed (Karen L. Burnett v. Damon Corp., et. al., No. 5:10-CV-1336...

Pennsylvania Appeals Panel Affirms Exclusion Of Expert In Chemical Exposure Suit

HARRISBURG - A unanimous Pennsylvania Superior Court panel issued an opinion Dec. 6 affirming summary judgment against the widow of a contractor employee who alleges that her late husband contracted cancer as a result of chemical exposure at a Rohm & Haas Co. facility in suburban Philadelphia; the...

Judge: 'Identified Exposure' Testimony Differs From 'Each And Every Exposure'

SEATTLE - An expert's testimony that each "identified exposure" to asbestos substantially contributes to mesothelioma differs from the type of "each and every" exposure challenged by a defendant, a Washington federal judge held Dec. 13 in allowing trial testimony from three experts...

Dog Treat Third-Party Claims Ordered Into Arbitration In Pennsylvania Federal Court

PITTSBURGH - The third-party defendant joined Sept. 6 in the chicken jerky dog treat litigation consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania was granted a stay on Dec. 17, and the parties were compelled to submit the third-party claims to arbitration (In re Milo's...

11th Circuit Affirms Document Discovery Ruling For Ecuador

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 18 affirmed a decision requiring an expert to produce certain documents for use in foreign proceedings, finding that the materials did not contain any core opinion work product of Chevron Corp.'s attorneys (Republic of Ecuador, et al. v. Chevron...

New York City Housing Authority Settles Tenant's Mold-Related Claims

NEW YORK - The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on Dec. 17 announced that it has reached an agreement with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to settle a class action filed by tenants who claim that their apartments contain mold, resulting in a plan to resolve the widespread mold issues...

Jury Deadlocks In Marine-Parts Asbestos Exposure Case

SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge declared a mistrial in an asbestos action after the jury reported Dec. 16 that it was deadlocked and that additional deliberation was unlikely to change the result (Joanne K. Lipson, et al. v. ON Marine Services Co. LLC, Ferro Engineering Division, No. 13-1747, W...

11th Circuit Panel Affirms Chevron Must Produce Notes Of Lago Agrio Lawsuit Expert

ATLANTA - A unanimous 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed the issuance of an order compelling Chevron Corp. and one of its experts to produce some 1,200 documents to the Republic of Ecuador to permit the country to defend the $9 billion judgment against Chevron in the Lago Agrio litigation...

Ohio Water Utility Denied Motion For Sanctions In PFOA Contamination Suit

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A southern Ohio water utility seeking declaratory judgment and indemnification from DuPont for perfluorooctanoic acid contamination of its water well field in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio failed to meet its burden for the imposition of sanctions for the conduct...

Judge Denies Motions To Compel Filed By Federal Government, State Agency

ORANGEBURG, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on Dec. 23 denied motions to compel filed by the federal government and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), ruling that a deposition notice did not require a company's representative to produce information about...

Sophisticated Purchaser Defense Requires Affirmative Steps, Judge Says

HONOLULU - The sophisticated user doctrine applies in both negligence and strict liability contexts under maritime law, but a manufacturer does not prevail because it cannot show that it considered whether the U.S. Navy would provide the necessary warnings about the hazards of asbestos, a Hawaii federal...

Florida Appeals Court: Engle Opt Out Does Not Enjoy Class Tolling

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An estate whose representative opted out of Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) and failed to file her wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations may not take advantage of claim tolling offered by class membership, Florida's First District Court...

Florida Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Engle Opt Out

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An estate whose representative opted out of Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 $(Fla. 2006$)) and failed to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations may not take advantage of claim tolling offered by class membership, the First District Florida Court...

Motions To Dismiss Claims Against Coal, Gas, Electricity Defendants Granted In Part

MUSKOGEE, Okla. - Defense motions to dismiss a first amended class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Oklahoma alleging air, soil and water contamination from the disposal of oil and natural gas well completion waste and coal combustion waste were dismissed in part...

New York Justice Bars Asbestos Expert From Testifying On Talc Contamination

NEW YORK - A plaintiffs' expert modified a widely accepted testing criteria before concluding that a defendant's talc contained asbestos, a New York justice held Jan. 9 in precluding James Millette's testimony under Frye (Lawrence Bernard and Marilyn Bernard, et al. v. Brookfield Properties...

Divided 5th Circuit Panel Affirms Approval Of Gulf Oil Spill Settlement

NEW ORLEANS - A 2-1 panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 affirmed a decision by the federal judge in Louisiana overseeing claims stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to approve a $9.2 billion settlement agreement...

Judge: EPA Need Not Produce Records For In Camera Review

DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Jan. 8 granted in part an environmental group's motion for summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, finding that some information withheld by the agency was not protected by the work product...

West Virginia Class Action Alleges Business Losses, Personal Injuries For 300,000

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The owners of two Charleston-area restaurants, along with a resident, filed a class action suit on Jan. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to represent some 300,000 customers of a Charleston water utility who were placed under a declaration of...

9th Circuit Finds Judge Failed To Properly Vet Asbestos Experts, Testimony

SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge impermissibly delegated his role as gatekeeper under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 $(1993$)) to the jury when he admitted two experts and "each and every" exposure testimony in an asbestos case that produced a $10.2 million verdict, a...

Rhode Island Judge Allows Replacement Naval Expert's Trial Testimony

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - An asbestos plaintiff's quick disclosure of a replacement naval expert and the long time before trial warrants allowing the expert's trial testimony, a Rhode Island judge held Jan. 15 (Rosie K. Sweredoski, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 2011-1544, R.I. Super., Providence...

Class Certification Vacated For Residents Near Refinery Leak

CHICAGO - Certification of a class of southern Illinois residents who claim that the value of their properties was affected by an underground plume from the leak of benzene-contaminated petroleum products from a nearby refinery was vacated Jan. 17 by the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which said...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - In Water Rights Case, Justice Breyer Asks States: 'Can You Work This Out?'

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Listening to arguments by Kansas about Nebraska's violation of a 2006 Republican River water rights settlement, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer on Oct. 14 asked Nebraska's lawyer: "Is there any chance that you all could work this out?" (State of Kansas...