Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - California Appeals Court Orders Trial Preference For Mesothelioma Sufferer

OAKLAND, Calif. - A 71-year-old mesothelioma sufferer doing "reasonably well" is nonetheless entitled to trial preference based on age and resulting prejudice if he dies, a California appellate panel held Nov. 26 (Gerald Boyd, et al. v. The Superior Court of Alameda County, 3M Co., et al.,...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Approves Addendum To $27.5M Settlement Of Clean Water Act Suit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Nov. 26 approved an addendum to a consent decree that would require Alpha Natural Resources Inc. to pay $27.5 million in civil penalties for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), after finding that the agreement was the result of five years of investigation...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Oil Spill MDL Judge: Individuals With Some Medical Conditions Must Sue

NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 26 refused to reconsider his decision affirming the interpretation of the administrator of the Medical Benefits Class Action...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendants Urge Continued Severance Of Punitive Damages In Asbestos MDL

PHILADELPHIA - The policy reasons behind the severance of punitive damages in the federal asbestos litigation remain, various defendants argue in Nov. 26 briefs urging the judge overseeing the litigation to continue the practice (Kenneth McAfee and Shirley McAfee v. 20th Century Glove Corporation of...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 3rd Circuit Won't Rehear Case Reviving Fraud Claim In Asbestos-Talc Case

NEWARK, N.J. - A decision finding that an asbestos-tainted talc defendant and its former attorneys must face allegations that they fraudulently destroyed documents pertinent to litigation stands after the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals declined rehearing on Dec. 1 (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v....

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Rejects 'Dual Persona,' Finds Complete Employer Immunity

SEATTLE - An injury arising from potential exposures both as a direct employee and as a contractor is indivisible, and the employer is immune under Washington state law, a federal judge held in rejecting plaintiffs' "dual persona" argument on Dec. 2 (Alan McMann and Donna McMann v. Air...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Bill Eliminating Asbestos Statute Of Repose Awaits Illinois Governor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Senate on a 38-to-16 vote on Dec. 3 passed House-approved legislation exempting asbestos from the 10-year limit on filing civil actions.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 2nd Circuit Vacates Convictions In Pollution Case Over Jury Instructions

NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 4 vacated convictions of conspiracy and false statements against a defendant found guilty of violating the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, after finding that a jury instruction was clearly erroneous...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - High Court Denies BP's Request To Review Gulf Oil Spill Settlement

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 denied BP Exploration & Production Inc.'s (BP) request for review of a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling allowing business and economic loss (BEL) claimants to receive payments from a $9.2 billion settlement agreement to resolve claims...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Oregon Federal Judge Grants Summary Judgment In Water Pipeline Challenge

EUGENE, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on Dec. 5 granted summary judgment to the federal government in a lawsuit by two environmental groups challenging a water pipeline project along the Tumalo Creek (Central Oregon Landwatch, et al. v. Kent Connaughton, et al., No. 13-2027, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Mere Fact Truck Manufacturer Supplied Army Not Enough, Federal Judge Says

WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a truck manufacturer was among those supplying the U.S. Army falls short of establishing evidence of exposure to asbestos necessary to overcome summary judgment, a federal judge in Delaware said Dec. 9 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation Olga Pavlick, et al...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Washington Panel Finds Limit On Supplier Liability Applies Individually

SEATTLE - It is the individual exposure to a specific product, and not the totality of the asbestos exposure, that determines whether Washington's limits on supplier liability apply, a state appeals panel held in partially affirming judgment on Dec. 8 (Ronald Fagg v. Bartells Asbestos Settlement...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Justice: Man With Hearing Issues Sufficiently Alleges Case Against Tile Maker

NEW YORK - A man whose difficulty hearing may have interfered with his ability to answer deposition questions in an asbestos action presents sufficient evidence of exposure to a defendant's tile, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Dec. 9 (Eugene Sowa and Mary Louis Sowa v. A.O. Smith Water...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Suit Involving Park Service's Water Diversion Transferred To California Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Dec. 10 granted a motion by the federal government to transfer a freshwater diversion lawsuit to California, where the controversy takes place (Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability, et al. v. National Park Service, et...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Missouri Court Finds Mold Exacerbated Tenants' Respiratory Problems

ST. LOUIS - A Missouri appeals court on Dec. 9 found that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether mold exposure exacerbated tenants' respiratory issues and remanded the case for further proceedings (Shannon Brown, as successor personal representative for the Estate of Daniel Kruse v...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Louisiana Court Reinstates Asbestos Case Based On 5 Days Of Exposure

NEW ORLEANS - Even five days of alleged asbestos exposure constitute a potential substantial cause of a man's asbestosis, a Louisiana appeals court panel held Dec. 10 in reversing summary judgment for an employer (Edward Anthony Alberes, et al. v. Anco Insulations Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-1549,...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Iowa Court Finds Warranty Does Not Extend To Bank Seeking Mold-Related Costs

DES MOINES, Iowa - In a majority ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court on Dec. 12 found that the implied warranty of workmanlike construction did not extend to a bank that sought to recover costs related to a mold infestation in an apartment complex it acquired through foreclosure (Luana Savings Bank v. Pro...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Jury Awards $20 Million In Asbestos Trial; Burnham 30 Percent Liable

NEW YORK - A New York City jury on Dec. 12 found that a boiler maker failed to warn about the hazards of asbestos and awarded a man's estate $20 million while holding the defendant 30 percent liable (Charlene Hillyer, as executrix for the estate of Charles F. Hillyer v. A.O. Smith Water Products...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pa. High Court Allows Claims Against Insurer Related To False Mold Assurances

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 15 reversed a trial court's ruling dismissing homeowners' claims that their insurer acted negligently when it made false assurances in relation to the toxicity of mold in their house and remanded the case for further proceedings (David...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Bans Hydraulic Fracturing Statewide

ALBANY, N.Y. - The commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Dec. 17 announced at a meeting of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's cabinet that he will "issue a legally binding findings statement" that will prohibit high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 3rd Circuit: Medical Reports Didn't Meet Asbestos MDL Guidelines

PHILADELPHIA - A medical expert opined that a woman's fatal disease arose from take-home exposures, but he never linked her specific exposures to the disease as required by the asbestos multidistrict litigation guidelines, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held in affirming dismissal of the...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Freedom Industries, 6 Former Officials Indicted For Violating Clean Water Act

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal grand jury in the Southern District of West Virginia on Dec. 17 indicted Freedom Industries Inc. and six former officials over a spill that discharged 10,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) into the Elk River in January 2014, according to a filing in federal...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Turner & Newell Can't Depose Asbestos Trust Official, Rhode Island Judge Says

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Any evidence gleaned from deposing an asbestos trust representative would be cumulative of and more easily obtained through the trust's governing documents, a Rhode Island judge held Dec. 16 (Maureen Gallagher, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5269, Constance...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds ExxonMobil Did Not Violate Clean Air Act

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 17 awarded judgment to ExxonMobil Corp. after finding that the company did not violate the Clean Air Act (CAA) when emissions from its Baytown, Texas, refinery exceeded permitted levels and that the company properly investigated and remedied the problems (Environment...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - British American Reaches $575 Million Settlement Over Flintkote Asbestos Claims

LONDON - Imperial Tobacco Canada, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, will pay $575 million to settle asbestos-related litigation involving The Flintkote Co., the company announced Dec. 16 in a news release.