ALBANY, Ga. - A defendant company that agreed to store hazardous waste on its property is liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to the federal government for cleanup costs incurred in removing contamination, a federal judge in Georgia ruled Sept. 8 in granting the government's summary judgment motion (United States of America v. Richard Middleton, et al., No. 11-CV-127, M.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118902).
SEATTLE - A trial judge properly denied Caterpillar Inc.'s motion for summary judgment and new trial after a jury awarded $4.5 million in an asbestos case, a Washington appeals court held Sept. 8 (Betty Estenson, et al. v. Caterpillar Inc., et al., No. 71429-5-1, Wash. App., Div. 1).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An oil and gas exploration company on Sept. 3 appealed an order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that found the company liable for contaminating groundwater as a result of its drilling operations. The company argues that the order is "arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, not in accordance with law, and violates [the company's] constitutional rights" (Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. v. Department of Environmental Protection, No. 2015-131, Pa. EHB).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on Sept. 8 denied a motion by two oil companies that say a woman who claims THAT her husband's death was caused by exposure to benzene for which the companies are liable should post an appeal bond in the amount of $37,376.97 under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) 7 as she appeals to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Yolande Burst v. Shell Oil Company, et al., No. 14-109, E.D. La.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A water company that is one of several defendants sued for a spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into West Virginia's Elk River on Sept. 4 filed a brief in West Virginia federal court, arguing that the court should not remand the chemical spill lawsuit, which is also related to a bankruptcy lawsuit filed by one of the defendants (Desimone Hospitality Services LLC v. West Virginia-American Water Company, No.14-14845, S.D. W.Va.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge properly granted a defendant summary judgment because both the man and the manufacturer presented equally ambiguous evidence in a bystander exposure case, a state appeals court held Sept. 8 (James Shiffer, et al. v. CBS Corp., No. A139388, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 788).
CHICAGO - Allegations of trademark infringement, unfair competition and state law deceptive trade practices in connection with the "Four Aces" trademark for tobacco products will proceed, an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 3 (Top Tobacco, et al. v. Fantasia Distribution Inc., No. 14-8981, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117533).
NEW YORK - The significance of a pending appellate case addressing appropriate damages in asbestos actions warrants staying the time to accept a reduction of a $190 million asbestos award, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Sept. 3 (Santo Assenzio v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Robert Brunck v A.O. Smith Water Products, Paul Levy v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Cesar Serna v A.O. Smith Water Products, Raymond Vincent v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Nos. 190008/12, 190026/12, 190200/12, 190183/12, 190184/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The federal judge in Ohio presiding over the perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) personal injury litigation brought against E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. on Sept. 4 ruled that a plaintiff could introduce at trial evidence that the company worked with a consulting group on its defense of the claims, but he said that the jury could disregard that evidence (In Re: E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, relating to Bartlett v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., No. 13-0170, MDL 13-2433, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118575).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A federal judge in Missouri on Sept. 3 refused to exclude asbestos state-of-the-art testimony from two historians simply because they lack medical degrees, found that Missouri law kept Caterpillar Inc. in a couple's asbestos action and found that failure to comply with Kansas medical-reporting requirements required dismissal of claims against Hennessey Industries Inc. (John New and Beth New v. Borg-Warner Corp., et al., No. 13-675, W.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117430; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117426; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117427).
TORONTO - The Canada Supreme Court on Sept. 4 ruled unanimously that the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio contamination lawsuit against Chevron Corp. could seek enforcement of the $18.5 billion judgment they won in Ontario Court (Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje, No. 35682, 2015 SCC 42).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 4 overturned CITGO Petroleum Corp.'s convictions for violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA), ruling that a federal judge in Texas erred when instructing the jury about the scope of a regulation concerning oil-water separators and misinterpreted the MBTA's language with regard to unintentional bird kills (United States of America v. CITGO Petroleum Corporation, et al., No. 14-40128, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15865).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The state's borrowing statute does not require application of Michigan's three-year statute of limitations to an asbestos action alleging exposure there, a Delaware judge held in granting summary judgment on Sept. 1 (In re: Asbestos litigation Frank G. Schultz and Deloris Schultz v. American Biltrite Inc., et al., No. N13C-04-015 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 436).
MOBILE, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Sept. 2 denied a motion to suppress evidence filed by defendants indicted for obstructing the U.S. Coast Guard's investigation of unlawful discharges of oily mixtures and intentional falsification of a vessel's Oil Record Book (ORB), finding that the Coast Guard has the authority to board and search a vessel without a warrant (United States of America v. DSD Shipping A.S., et al., No. 15-cr-00102-CG-B, S.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116865).
CITY ISLAND, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Aug. 31 awarded $750,000 to a man who sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) alleging that the company was liable for the death of his wife because her addiction to cigarettes made by the company was the cause of her lung cancer. The jury found the company 25 percent liable (James Lewis, as the representative of the Estate of Rosemary Lewis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2009 30058 CIC, Fla. Cir., 7th Jud. Cir.).
HARTFORD, Conn. - An executrix's four-year delay in substituting herself as a plaintiff in an asbestos action prejudiced defendants and warranted dismissal for failure to prosecute, a Connecticut appeals court held Sept. 2 (Adrienne Brochu, executrix of the estate of Adrien Brochu v. Aesys Technologies, et al., No. AC36483, Conn. App.; 2015 Conn. App. LEXIS 314).
BENTON, Ill. - A man produces adequate evidence of work with a defendant's product and sufficient evidence that it required asbestos-containing components, a judge said Aug. 28. In a separate ruling, the judge rejected challenges to plaintiff's expert, finding the expert qualified and rejecting the argument that he would testify that "every exposure" to asbestos led to disease (Gerald D. McAlvey v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 14-64, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114618, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114620).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on Aug. 31 denied motions for summary judgment filed by the Sierra Club and Louisiana Gas & Electric Co. (LG&E) in a suit over whether effluent discharges from the company's plant into the Ohio River comply with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, holding that more discovery is needed as to the practices at the facility (Sierra Club v. Louisiana Gas & Electric Co., No. 14-cv-391-DJH, W.D. Ky.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115320).
BENTON, Ill. - A medical doctor's certifications and experience qualify him to testify as an expert, and his testimony accounts for levels of exposure and thus goes beyond "every exposure" testimony, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 31 (Mrs. Sharon Bell, executor of the estate of Mr. Richard Bell v. ABB Group Inc., et al., No. 13-1338, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115341).
NEW YORK - New York's asbestos case management order requires a top-to-bottom re-evaluation but is not so flawed that litigation must be stayed during the process, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Aug. 31 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey tax judge on Aug. 26 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by a director of the division of taxation, finding that a New Jersey resident was liable for paying taxes on cigarettes he purchased from an Internet vendor (Kenneth Hudacko v. Director, Division of Taxation, No. 015082-2014, N.J. Tax; 2015 N.J. Tax Unpub. LEXIS 70).
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs inadvertently dropped damages claims against one of the two remaining asbestos talc defendants based on their subsequent behavior, a federal judge in California held in remanding the action on Aug. 28 (Elia B. Uribes, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 15-2131, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114873).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Aug. 28 granted in part plaintiffs' motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding only that Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc. is a liable party under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Section 107 (HLP Properties LLC, et al. v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., No. 14 Civ. 1383, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114779).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio residents suing E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. in Ohio federal court on Aug. 28 moved to compel the company to respond to requests for admissions or deem them admitted ahead of the bellwether trial regarding personal injuries related to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), stating that the company's "obstructionist conduct should not be tolerated by the Court" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Evidence of work with and the presence of asbestos on two defendants' products and the state-of-the-art knowledge at the time warrants denying summary judgment, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 28 (Charles Neureuther v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 13-1327, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108782l, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114580).