ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico bankruptcy judge on Feb. 5 denied a request by objectors to retain the proceeds from the sale of a utility company because a state receiver allegedly undervalued the water rights belonging to a bankrupt company (In Re: Picacho Hills Utility Company, Inc., No. 13-10742, D. N.M. Bkcy.; 2015 Bankr. LEXIS 371).
DALLAS - An agreement tolling the statute of limitations in an asbestos action ended when with a decision on the constitutionality of retroactive application of a law shielding Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. from liability, a federal judge held Feb. 5 in dismissing a widow's case (William G. Lett and Maria Lett v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-860, Patricia Lusk, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-861, Debra White, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-862, N.D. Texas).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A report issued Feb. 5 by an environmental group contends that despite a fracking ban in the State of New York, more than 460,000 tons of radioactive fracking waste has been dumped in the state because the governor has allowed fracking companies to dump their waste in New York.
FRESNO, Calif. - Defendant companies that sold gasoline containing the additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) at two stations in California did not intend to dispose of the chemical, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 4 in dismissing a lawsuit brought by the City of Merced Redevelopment Agency (RDA) against the companies (City of Merced Redevelopment Agency, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., No. 08 Civ. 06306, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 5 denied Consolidate Edison Company of New York Inc.'s motion to reconsider a ruling finding that some plaintiff companies can pursue contribution claims against the defendant under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Section 113(f), holding that Consolidated Edison provided no precedent to support its argument that the plaintiff companies' application to enter into a Brownfield Cleanup Agreement (BCA) with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not trigger the statute of limitations (HLP Properties LLC v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., No. 14 Civ. 01383, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14677).
NEW YORK - Sufficient evidence exists of a company's predecessors utilizing asbestos-containing products at the World Trade Center (WTC) during a man's time there, a New York appeals court held Feb. 5 (James Augustus Proctor and Joy C. Proctor v. Alcoa Inc., et al., No. 14153 190040/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 938).
ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 5 asked parties to explain why North Carolina residents' action alleging asbestos exposure largely in North Carolina should not be transferred to that state (Anthony Trezza and Peggy Trezza v. 84 Lumber Co., et al., No. 14-1282, E.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13740).
PHILADELPHIA - A couple's motion seeking reconsideration of judgments based on the "bare-metal defense" and to vacate application of maritime is untimely and meritless, the judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held Feb. 3 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, McAfee v. Various defendants, No. MDL 875, 13-6856, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fraudulent concealment of exposure evidence by asbestos personal injury attorneys "is far closer to the norm that the exception," a law professor said at a U.S. House subcommittee hearing Feb. 4 on the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, while one asbestos attorney testified that there is no significant fraud in the asbestos trust system and that the House bill is just another tactic of asbestos producers to delay payments to dying victims.
WILMINGTON, Del. - Delaware lacks jurisdiction over Dana Companies, and its actions in asbestos litigation did not waive the defense, a state judge held Jan. 30 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Thomas Anderson, et al. v. Dana Companies LLC, No. 13C-03-076, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
CHICAGO - Judgment for two companies in an asbestosis action precludes a widow's mesothelioma action against those same companies filed with the first action pending, a federal judge in Wisconsin held Feb. 3 (Beverly Ahnert, et al. v. Brand Insulation Inc., et al., No. 13-1456, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12403).
SAN FRANCISCO - Attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Feb. 2 sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, requesting the immediate closure of hundreds of hydraulic fracturing disposal wells currently injecting oil industry wastewater directly into protected aquifers in California.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Feb. 2 approved two consent decrees to resolve lawsuits brought by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy against Fola Coal Co. LLC and Consol of Kentucky Inc., claiming that discharges from the companies' mines violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company LLC, No. 12-3750, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11620; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Consol of Kentucky Inc., No. 13-5005, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11624).
PITTSBURGH - A group of Pennsylvania landowners on Feb. 2 filed a brief opposing a motion by an oil and gas exploration company in Pennsylvania federal court, arguing that the company's motion to preclude testimony regarding the validity of the price paid for oil and gas rights should be denied on grounds that the evidence in question would establish that the company breached its contract (David F. Pollock v. Energy Corporation of America, No. 10-1553, W.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - En banc rehearing is necessary to correct a panel opinion that improperly affirmed exclusion of an asbestos expert, despite Supreme Court precedent requiring a finding of willful conduct before such a sanction, a man told the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 (John M. Tyler and Doris Tyler v. Honeywell Inc., et al., No. 13-7185, D.C. Cir.).
LOS ANGELES - An attorney's suit alleging that that two principles comingled and mismanaged bank account funds, shorting him of compensation seeks in excess of $75,000, Napoli Bern Ripka & Associates argues in removing the action on Jan. 28 (Marc I. Willick v. Napoli Bern Ripka & Associates, et al., No. 5-652, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A court properly based denial of military service benefits on a medical opinion finding that post-service exposure more likely caused a man's lung cancer, a veterans appeals court judge held Jan. 30 (Sarah J. McAlister v. Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, No. 13-2879, Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 106).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Agreements between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government wherein the government agreed to pay $10 million to the state for remediation at the Quehanna Wild Area Nuclear Facility in Clearfield County, Pa., do not bar Lockheed Martin Corp.'s (LMC) claim for contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act because the agreements were not judicially approved, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 30 (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, No. 09-CV-821, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10814).
SAN DIEGO - A California appeals court on Jan. 29 dismissed a tenant's appeal of a mold-related defense verdict, finding that her failure to comply with court orders for discovery warranted dismissal (Alla Koudriavtseva v. Versailles on the Lake Ltd, et al., No. G047114, Calif. App., 4th Dist.; Div. 3; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 686).
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah recognizes a wrongful death claim even where the decedent previously recovered for personal injury, the Utah Supreme Court held Jan. 30 (Micah and Amanda Riggs v. Georgia-Pacific LLC and Union Carbide Corp., No. 20130459, Utah Sup.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Railroad companies sued by New Jersey residents who contend that they were injured as result of exposure to vinyl chloride that was the result of a train derailment filed a brief on Jan. 29, arguing that that case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs' trespass claim fails as a matter of law (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 29 denied an employer's request for summary judgment on claims asserted by a former employee for violation of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and other claims, allowing her mold-related exposure claims to proceed (Tina Canalejo v. ADG LLC, d/b/a Great Expressions, No. 8:14-cv-17, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10271).
ALBANY, N.Y. - An employee's death is a separate injury from his disability and necessitates a separate reimbursement claim by an employer, a New York appeals court held Jan. 29 in affirming denial of the untimely reimbursement claim (In the Matter of the Claim of Richard J. Connolly v. Consolidated Edison, et al. and Special Disability Fund, Workers' Compensation Board, No. 518246, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 685).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A company being sued for personal injury and property damage by a group of West Virginia residents who contend that it is responsible for the spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River near Charleston filed a brief on Jan. 28 in West Virginia federal court, contending that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs provide no evidence capable of making out a prima facie case (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1347, S.D. W.Va.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Jan. 27 awarded a California water district $149,950 in cost-of-cover damages after prevailing against the U.S. government in a water contract dispute (Stockton East Water District, et al. v. The United States, No. 04-541C, Fed. Clms.; 2015 U.S. Claims LEXIS 34).