INDIANAPOLIS - After finding that consumers who allege that a defective washing machine caused flooding and mold that made them ill did not disclose their experts in bad faith, an Indiana federal judge on March 26 denied a motion by the maker of the machine to exclude their experts' testimony (Matthew Slabaugh, et al. v. LG Electronics USA Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-01020, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38331).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Plaintiffs who were unsuccessful in their suit accusing the owners of an automobile scrap yard of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging hazardous substances in public waters were ordered by a federal judge in Rhode Island on March 26 to pay $111,784.50 in attorney fees after she found that the plaintiffs knew that their claims lacked merit (Louis Paolino, et al. v. JF Realty LLC, et al., No. 12-39-ML, D. R.I.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38407).
PITTSBURGH - An environmental group's lawsuit complaining that emissions from Shenango Inc.'s coke operations in Allegheny County, Pa., are violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) was dismissed by a federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 26; she ruled that the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is already diligently prosecuting claims against the company over the same alleged violations (Group Against Smog and Pollution v. Shenango Inc., No. 14-595, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38526).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After finding that lease agreements applied to the rental of bunk beds that allegedly contained bed bugs and black mold, a Florida federal judge on March 23 granted a rental corporation's motion to stay a case pending arbitration (Andre Teel, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., No. 3:14-cv-640-J-32, M.D. Fla.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal magistrate judge presiding over a water company's lawsuit against E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. for the costs associated with remediating drinking water that was contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), on March 24 ordered the company to produce documents in discovery that it had previously contended were "unduly burdensome" to make available (The Little Hocking Water Association Inc. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 09-1081, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36917).
CINCINNATI - A Canada-based concrete manufacturing company's challenges to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision requiring the company to install best available retrofit technology (BART) to a Michigan plant were rejected by a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 24 after the court found that the company failed to show that the technology would not be effective at reducing nitrous oxide emissions (St. Marys Cement Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nos. 13-3105/14-3479, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4759).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy Corp., which was fined $25,116,883.61 by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for groundwater contamination resulting from its operation of a coal-generating plant, on March 24 issued a press release saying that it would appeal the penalty.
LOS ANGELES - A defendant in a lawsuit brought against multiple companies alleging soil and groundwater contamination on March 20 filed an amended third-party complaint in California federal court contending that it should be indemnified for any liability it may face in the original lawsuit because any contamination that exists has actually been caused by a group of landowners and business owners (Alcoa Inc., et al. v. APC Investment Company, et al. and Ferro Corporation v. PMC Inc., et al., No. 14-06456, C.D. Calif.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on March 23 ruled that a mother could not establish that her former landlord was on notice of lead-paint hazard in the apartment she rented and, therefore, he was not liable under federal law (Niki Hernandez-Adams v. Mark Kimpson, No. 13-5059, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35876).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on March 23 remanded a lawsuit brought by a former mail carrier who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia against the owner and operator of two coke ovens that allegedly emitted toxic chemicals into the air to state court after finding that the plaintiff's state law claims are not preempted by the Clean Air Act (CAA) (Joel Thomas Morrison IV v. Drummond Company Inc., No. 14-CV-0406-SLB, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35482).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Freedom Industries Inc. on March 23 pleaded guilty to three crimes against the environment for its role in a chemical spill in which 10,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) were dumped into the Elk River in January 2014, according to press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) (United States of America v. Freedom Industries Inc., et al., No. 14-cr-00275, S.D. W.Va.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 20 refused to dismiss a former employee's claims for violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), finding that she provided sufficient evidence to show that her husband suffered a serious health issue allegedly caused by mold and that she was entitled to FMLA leave (Sarah R. Novo v. City of Sacramento, et al., No. 2:13-cv-00521, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35309).
UTICA, N.Y. - An Oneida County, N.Y., jury on March 18 returned a $4 million verdict against a parts distributor in an asbestos case, finding Pacemaker Steel & Piping Co. 30 percent liable for its predecessor's conduct, sources told Mealey Publications (Nicholas Dominick and Lorraine J. Dominick v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. CA2014-000232, N.Y. Sup., Oneida Co.).
NEW ORLEANS - Chemical company Chevron USA Inc. on March 20 removed to Louisiana federal court a groundwater contamination case, contending that under federal law the case alleging groundwater contamination could not stay in state court (Joseph Robertson, et al. v. Chevron USA Inc., et al., No. 15-00874, E.D. La.).
NEW YORK - A "barebones" affidavit conceding that a defendant manufactured asbestos-containing tile creates questions of genuine fact and does not meet the defendant's prima facie burden, a New York justice held in an opinion posted March 17 (John F. Storey and Candace Storey v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190283/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 732).
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for personal injuries caused by the company's oil operations in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador on March 19 filed a brief in federal appeals court in New York, arguing that the court should take judicial notice of documents currently being considered in parallel litigation (Chevron Corporation v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 14-826, 2nd Cir.).
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Sufficient evidence exists that two pump makers who supplied the U.S. Navy also supplied it with replacement parts a man worked with in enclosed spaces, a federal judge in Illinois held March 18 in an asbestos exposure case (William Hasenberg Jr. and Linda Hasenberg v. Asbestos Corp. Ltd., et al., No. 13-1325, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33635).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The diagnosis of an asbestos-related injury and not the individual's death triggers the two-year statute of limitations for asbestos wrongful death claims after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the previous governing law, a state appeals court held March 19 (Elizabeth Wygant, et al. v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 470 WDA 2014, Elizabeth Wygant, et al. v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 471 WDA 2014, Elizabeth Wygant, et al. v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 472, WDA 2014, Pa. Super.).
NEW YORK - A widow presents no evidence that a premises owner itself required asbestos-containing products, or that it controlled the work in a way sufficient for liability under New York employment law, a state judge held in denying leave to renew or reargue on March 17 (Phyllis Brown, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190415/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 734).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel on March 17 affirmed a trial court ruling that a food manufacturer had no duty to warn consumers of lead content in its food because it had "satisfactorily demonstrated" that the average anticipated rate of exposure to the toxin fell below regulatory thresholds (Environmental Law Foundation v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., No. A139821, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 246).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - After finding that tenants failed to show that their building's cooperative refused to fix water and mold problems in their apartments because of their religion, a New York appeals court on March 18 reversed a decision that denied the cooperative's motions to dismiss (Lior Cohen, et al. v. Kings Point Tenant Corp., et al., No. 2013-01825, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2159).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on March 18 signed legislation that proponents hope encourages transparency in asbestos bankruptcy trust filings.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The federal judge in Arkansas presiding over litigation filed by a class of residents who allege injuries related to easements for Exxon Mobil Corp.'s Pegasus Pipeline on March 17 dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs' implied duty arguments are "misplaced" and that controlling precedent favors the company (Rudy F. Webb, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. 13CV232 BSM, E.D. Ark.).
MILWAUKEE - A judge properly excluded layperson co-worker testimony regarding asbestos content, evidence of a defendant's duty and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into a workplace, a Wisconsin court held March 17 while reversing some aspects of the order (June Calewarts, et al. v. CR Meyer and Sons Co., et al., No. 2014AP531, Wis. App.; Dist. 3; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 208).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over litigation regarding groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on March 16 denied an oil company's motion for summary judgment on grounds that the area, which is known to be contaminated, is connected to public water supplies (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 07 Civ. 10470, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32576).