NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing litigation stemming from contamination allegedly caused by the handling and sale of gasoline containing methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on March 5 dismissed with prejudice the City of Fresno's lawsuit against Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and others, finding that the city does not have any evidence to show that the defendants' conduct resulted in the threat of contamination to sites that were not previously addressed in a September 2013 ruling (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, Case No. 00-1898, City of Fresno v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., et al., No. 04 Civ. 4973, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29194).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Evidence that a manufacturer was one of a limited number of brake suppliers for vehicle manufacturers does not create an inference that a mechanic working on those vehicles suffered asbestos exposure from the work, a Rhode Island judge held March 5 (Laverne E. Hostetterr and Eliza Hostetter v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. PC 12-0650, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation; 2014 R.I. Super. LEXIS 30).
CHICAGO - Lorillard Tobacco Co. is barred from presenting two studies from the 1950s showing that no asbestos was released from its Micronite filter, an Illinois federal judge ruled March 6, because insufficient evidence exists to evaluate whether the studies meet the scientific reliability requirements of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (509 U.S. 579 $(1993$)) (Marilyn F. Quirin v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, et al., No. 1:13-cv-02633, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29081).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the American Petroleum Institute filed a petition March 5 to intervene in the lawsuit remanded Feb. 21 to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which ruled Dec. 19 that portions of the state gas and oil regulations known as Act 13 of 2012 violate the Pennsylvania Constitution declaration of rights; on remand, the Commonwealth Court is instructed to consider the severability of remaining sections of Act 13 (Robinson Township, et al. v. Pennsylvania, et al., No. 284 MD 2012, Pa. Cmwlth.).
PENSACOLA, Fla. - The State of Florida on March 5 filed a lawsuit in federal court against BP Exploration & Production Inc. and other companies involved in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, claiming that the companies are liable under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) for removal costs and natural resource damages (Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr., et al. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-00112, N.D. Fla.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A unanimous Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel issued an opinion March 6 reviving the personal injury claims of Iraq war veterans suing contractors for allegedly mishandling waste disposal and providing contaminated water at military outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan; the panel overturned the defense summary judgment under the political question doctrine and remanded for discovery on the derivative sovereign immunity and preemption defenses (In re KBR Inc. Burn Pit Litigation $(Alan Metzgar, et al.$), No. 13-1430, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4188).
LAKE CHARLES, La. - A unanimous Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal panel entered an opinion March 5 overturning judgments against a Concordia Parish, La., landowner who sued oil and gas companies for contaminating his property decades before he purchased it (John C. Duck v. Hunt Oil Co., et al., No. 13-628, La. App., 3rd Cir.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on March 3 reduced a judgment by $700 entered in an insured's favor in an environmental contamination coverage dispute to correct a calculation error and also awarded the insured more than $500,000 in prejudgment interest (Ash Grove Cement Co. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et. al., No. 09-239, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27129).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 3 determined that an insurer's pre-1985 policies provide coverage to an insured for environmental contamination because the pre-1985 policies contained a "sudden and accidental" exception to the pollution exclusion, whereas the post-1985 policies do not include the exception (Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. Bel Air Mart, et al., No. 11-976, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27627).
MELBOURNE, Australia - The Supreme Court of Victoria on March 6 granted an unopposed application to transfer an asbestos compensation claim asserted by the widow of a former public transport worker to Western Australia (Hook v. Public Transport Authority $(WA$) & Anor, No. $(2014$) VSC 69, Victoria Sup.).
ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on March 5 denied a prisoner's motion to amend his complaint to add claims for hazardous exposures against various new defendants, finding that the allegations were new and must be asserted in another lawsuit (Contrell Plummer v. Wexford Health Sources Inc., et al., No. 11-cv-682, S.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27889).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Whether petroleum byproducts containing benzene are "an offensive substance" within the meaning of the Municipal Code of Roxana, Ill., was certified for interlocutory appeal March 5 by an Illinois federal judge (Village of Roxana v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 3:12-cv-577, S.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27759).
PITTSBURGH - The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania judge presiding over consolidated lawsuits alleging personal injury and property damage claims against the operator of a coal-fired electricity plant in western Pennsylvania entered an order March 5 denying cross-motions to exclude general and specific causation expert opinions in a thallium exposure lawsuit (Michael Hartle, et uxor v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., No. 08-1019, W.D. Pa.;2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27755).
CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and 66 of its subsidiaries on March 5 entered into a proposed consent decree in West Virginia federal court in which the companies agreed to pay $27.5 million as a civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and spend an estimated $200 million to install and operate wastewater treatment plants to reduce discharges of polluted water from coal mines in five states (United States of America, et al. v. Alpha Natural Resources Inc., et al., No. 14-11609, S.D. W. Va.).
BALTIMORE - A proposal for a consolidated trial of Maryland asbestos cases lacks sufficient detail and likely places too heavy a burden on the court and litigants, a Maryland judge held March 5 in denying the motion (In re Baltimore City Personal Injury and Wrongful death Litigation Global, No. 24-X-87-048500, Md. Cir., Baltimore City).
DOVER, Del. - After finding a lack of evidence as to whether a condominium unit contained mold growth that required remediation, a Delaware chancellor on Feb. 28 approved a master's decision to deny a council access to the unit (The Council of The Pointe at Bethany Bay Condominiums v. Higgins, No. 7543-VCN, Del. Chanc.; 2014 Del. Ch. LEXIS 32).
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on March 4 dismissed as untimely the Sierra Club's claims that Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E) violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by performing modifications to a boiler at its coal-fired power plant in March 2008 but found that the group could pursue its claims that emissions from the facility exceeded allowed limits of total suspended particulate (TSP) matter (Sierra Club v. Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company, No. 13-CV-356-JHP, E.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27290).
SEATTLE - Manufacturers at a deposition shared the same interest in discrediting a witness's testimony as an absent manufacturer sued in another asbestos case, a Washington appeals court held March 3 in allowing the evidence (Michael Farrow and Lidia Farrow v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 69917-2-1, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 449).
NEW YORK - Chevron Corp. was granted injunctive relief March 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against a plaintiffs' attorney representing Ecuadorian natives awarded $9.5 billion in personal injury and property damage compensatory damages in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, for contamination of the Oriente region of Ecuador; the presiding judge ruled that the attorney and representatives of the plaintiffs in Ecuador obtained the judgment by fraud and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Chevron Corp. v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - Voluntary dismissal of an asbestos wrongful death action that interrupted prescription renders a subsequently filed survival action untimely under Louisiana law, a federal judge held Feb. 28 (Tina Davidson, et al. v. Georgia Pacific LLC, et al., No. 12-1463, W.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1107).
NEW YORK - Defendant companies in a lawsuit led by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) on March 3 were awarded summary judgment on the agency's claims for public nuisance and trespass by the federal judge in New York overseeing litigation arising from groundwater contamination allegedly caused by the defendants' use and handling of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, Case No. 00-1898, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Inc., No. 08 Civ. 312, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - The manufacturer of Micronite filters containing asbestos and used with Kent cigarettes in the 1950s was a joint venturer with Lorillard Group LLC (f/k/a P. Lorillard Tobacco Co.) and thus potentially liable for a smoker's mesothelioma, a New York County Supreme Court justice said in a March 3 opinion (Gladys R. Correnti v. Bertram D. Stone, Inc., et al., No. 190317/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., Part 30).
COVINGTON, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on March 3 granted summary judgment for an insurer, finding that a homeowner's claims that a hole in his water meter caused damage and mold growth were excluded under his insurance policy (Richard Geiman v. Northern Kentucky Water District, et al., No. 2:13-cv-177, E.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26700).
SALT LAKE CITY - An expert's testimony that each specific exposure to asbestos a man described could have led to his disease differs from the type of general "every exposure" testimony that falls short of admissibility, a federal judge held Feb. 28 (Arva Anderson v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 06-741, D. Utah; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88457).
NEW ORLEANS - A 2-1 panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 3 held that business and economic loss (BEL) class members seeking payouts under the $9.2 billion settlement for claims arising from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico do not need to submit evidence of causation based on the language in the settlement agreement (In re Deepwater Horizon, Nos. 13-30315, 13-30329, 13-31220, 13-31316, 5th Cir.).