RALEIGH, N.C. - Allegations of improper settlement practices raised in the In Re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al. bankruptcy case are irrelevant to summary judgment motions in a civil asbestos action, a North Carolina federal judge held Feb. 21 in nonetheless partially granting the motions (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.).
CHICAGO - The widow of a machinist who died of mesothelioma may introduce expert testimony implicating asbestos in Kent cigarette filters, an Illinois federal judge ruled Feb. 25, saying the testimony satisfies Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (Marilyn F. Quirin v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, et al., No. 1:13-cv-02633, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23198).
RICHMOND, Va. - A unanimous Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed a quiet title decision on Feb. 25 in a natural gas lease dispute in the Northern District of West Virginia (Trans Energy Inc., et al. v. EQT Production Co., No. 12-2553, 4th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 24 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana's decisions to deny a motion to remand a lawsuit filed by a number of state parishes that brought claims under the Louisiana Wildlife Protection Statute against companies related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and upheld the ruling finding the plaintiffs' claims preempted by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 12-30012, 5th Cir.).
LONDON - An England and Wales justice on Feb. 24 dismissed a contractor's appeal of a tribunal's decision that modified a health and safety inspector's improvement notice, finding that the tribunal did not err when it found that the contractor breached health and safety law when it failed to notify the property owner about the risks of asbestos (MWH UK Limited v. Victoria Susan Wise $(H.M. Inspector of Health & Safety$), No. $(2014$) EWHC 427 $(Admin$), England and Wales High, Admin.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A unanimous Third Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division panel affirmed summary judgment in part Feb. 20 for International Business Machines Corp. in a trichloroethylene vapor intrusion lawsuit severed from a class action for a test trial; the panel affirmed that certain of the seven severed plaintiffs may pursue trespass, private nuisance and medical monitoring claims (Thomas H. Ivory, et al. v. International Business Machines Corp., No. 516276, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1200).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24 heard oral arguments on whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its bounds by regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources such as power plants (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1146, American Chemistry Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1248, Energy-Intensive Manufacturers Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Regulation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1254, Southeastern Legal Foundation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1268, Texas, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1269, Chamber of Commerce v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1272, U.S. Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - By a per curiam order issued Feb. 21, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied an application by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reconsider the Dec. 19 Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion finding portions of the state gas and oil regulations known as Act 13 of 2012 in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution declaration of rights; Justice Thomas G. Saylor filed a dissent with reasons (Robinson Township, et al. v. Pennsylvania, et al., No. 63 MAP 2012 [consolidated], Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 513; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 182).
LOS ANGELES - Though an expert used the seemingly generic term valves during his testimony, when that testimony is taken in full context, he clearly referenced Crane Co.'s products alone, a California appeals panel held Feb. 21 in an asbestos exposure case (Elaine M. Paulus, et al. v. Crane Co., No. B246505, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3).
ERIE, Pa. - Summary judgment was granted Feb. 21 to the U.S. Forest Service in a lawsuit filed by the owners of natural gas and oil rights in the Allegheny National Forest on the grounds that the mineral estate owners have no justiciable claims because the complained of regulations are not being enforced by the forest service (Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, et al. v. U.S. Forest Service, et al., No. 08-162, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21601).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24 denied two petitions for writ of certiorari filed by Sears Roebuck and Co. and Whirlpool Corp. in relation to rulings that granted class certification for various purchasers of front-loading washing machines who allege that a defect causes mold growth (Sears Roebuck and Co. v. Larry Butler, et al., No. 13-430, U.S. Sup.; Whirlpool Corp. v. Gina Glazer, et al., No. 13-431, U.S. Sup.).
ROCKVILLE, Md. - For what it says is the first time since the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act became law in 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 21 ordered an end to the sale in the United States of a Chinese company's "bidi" tobacco products that failed to pass regulatory approval.
GEORGETOWN, Del. - Resolving what it called a "tension" in its case law, a divided Delaware Supreme Court on Feb. 20 said the state is not the proper forum for Argentines' asbestos action against an E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co, Inc. subsidiary (Maria Elena Martinez, et al. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company Inc., No. 669,2012, Del. Sup.).
TRENTON, N.J. - After finding that expert opinions on mold exposure and chemicals were deficient, a New Jersey appeals court on Feb. 19 affirmed dismissal of a case filed by a man who alleged that he suffered personal injuries as result of exposures to various substances in a vehicle he purchased (Jeffrey Bello v. Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., et al., No. A-3556-12T1, N.J, Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 327).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Plaintiffs lack evidence of exposure to original asbestos-containing gaskets and packing supplied with Crane Co. valves, and the company cannot be held liable for replacement packing and gaskets it never manufactured or supplied, a New York federal judge held Feb. 18 (Dwight Crews and Peggy Crews v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 12-1678, N.D. N.Y.).
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A unanimous Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals panel affirmed in part a stay pending arbitration in an opinion posted Feb. 18; the parties in the putative class action are property owners and oil and natural gas companies that dispute the assignment of so-called deep rights under oil and natural gas leases (William E. Riggs, et al. v. Patriot Energy Partners, et al., No. 11-877, Ohio App., 7th Dist.; 2014 Ohio 558; 2014 Ohio App. LEXIS 541).
CHICAGO - Crane Co. had a duty to warn a man about the potential for exposure from third-party asbestos-containing gaskets its valves required for proper function, an Illinois federal judge held Feb. 14 (Marilyn F. Quirin, et al. v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-2633, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18744).
BATON ROUGE, La. - The owners of a Port Allen, La., acetylene facility sued in Louisiana state court met their diversity jurisdiction burden to remove lawsuits alleging personal injury and property damage from a May 2012 explosion and fire to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, the presiding judge ruled Feb. 18 (Caryln Gordon, et al. v. Air Liquide-Big Three Inc., et al., No. 12-396, M.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19929; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19928).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's failure to recall specific times or locations when he encountered pump manufacturers' products dooms his asbestos action, a Delaware judge held Feb. 14 (In re: Asbestos Litigation Allen T. and Tommie Hoofman v. Air & Liquid Corp., et al., No. N12C-04-243 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2014 Del. Super. LEXIS 61).
JUNEAU, Alaska - A unanimous Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the denial of workers' compensation benefits for alleged sick building syndrome symptoms on Feb. 14 after concluding that the claimant failed to adduce sufficient medical evidence to support her claim (Marilyn A. Coppe v. Michael Bleicher, M.D. et al., No. S-14938, Alaska Sup.).
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive on Feb. 13 announced that an English magistrates' court fined a window replacement company for unsafe asbestos work.
JUNEAU, Alaska - The Alaska Supreme Court on Feb. 14 affirmed a license for natural gas exploration in the Healy Basin over the objections of a citizen group that challenged the license on the grounds that the decision was arbitrary and that regulators failed to protect surface-owners' rights and recreational and wildlife uses near Denali National Park (Denali Citizens Council v. Alaska, et al., No. S-14896, Alaska Sup.; 2014 Alas. LEXIS 13).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A divided Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed a defense verdict on Feb. 14 in favor of Lorillard Tobacco Co. and the manufacturer of an asbestos-containing filter and against the widow of a cigarette worker and smoker who died of mesothelioma (Wanda McGuire v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, No. 2012-CA-000845-MR, Ky. App.; 2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 25).
GRETNA, La. - A Louisiana appeals court on Feb. 12 dismissed a third-party action involving liability for take-home asbestos exposures after the parties resolved the issue (Leonard Abadie Jr. v. Asbestos Corporation Ltd., et al., No. 13-CA-768, La. App., 5th Cir.).
SEATTLE - The Washington Supreme Court on Feb. 13 heard arguments over whether an employer's decision to have employees return to an area where asbestos work was being done constitutes an "intentional injury" under the workers' compensation statutes (Gary G. Walston and Donna Walston v. The Boeing Co., No. 885117, Wash. Sup.).