PHILADELPHIA - The judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation on March 12 granted 5,974 motions to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction, rejecting plaintiffs' claims that supplemental evidence showed the defendants waived the issue (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Jacobs, et al. v. A-C Product Liability Trust, et al., No. MDL 875, 02-875, E.D. Pa.).
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on March 11 dismissed without prejudice an environmental group's claim that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency erred when failing to find that Idaho and Utah violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to submit state implementation plans (SIPs) for particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) in a timely manner, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction over the suit (WildEarth Guardians v. Gina McCarthy, in her official capacity as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 13-cv-1275-WJM-KMT, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31267).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Judicial challenges brought by the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) and state of Texas to final rules issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 and 2012 regarding opacity standards for certain types of steam generating units were dismissed by a panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 11, after finding that the challenges were not properly before the court because they were first raised in petitions that have not yet been decided by the agency (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1166, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4468).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Lawsuits filed by an Iraq War contractor to compel the United States to participate in and to reimburse litigation costs incurred defending personal injury claims alleged by National Guard members and British military personnel for sodium dichromate and hexavalent chromium exposure at Qarmat Ali in Iraq were dismissed March 7 by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for failing to state a claim (Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. v. United States, No. 13-169, Fed. Clms.; Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. v. United States, No. 13-780, Fed. Clms.).
SYDNEY, Australia - An Australian justice on March 7 refused to award set-off costs in an action in which a tenant alleged that a property was unsafe, finding that a housing authority had made an offer to settle the costs of the case, which was refused (El-Saeidy v NSW Land & Housing Corporation, $(No$) $(2013$) NSWSC 1554, New South Wales Sup.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Confusion over the sequence of events perfectly illustrates why the existence of an unserved forum defendant bars removal of an asbestos action involving exposure from dentistry work, a New Jersey federal judge held March 10, granting remand (Kay Hokanson, et al. v. Kerr Corp; Patterson Companies Inc., et al., No. 13-4534, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30477).
HONOLULU - A unanimous Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals panel affirmed summary judgment March 7 for chemical companies and banana plantation operators accused by field hands of exposing them to dibromochloropropane nematocides; the panel ruled that the claims are barred under the statute of limitations and that the class action tolling cited by the plaintiffs ended more than four years before the claims were filed (Gerardo Dennis Patrickson, et al. v. Dole Food Co. Inc., No. 30700, Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals; 2014 Haw. App. LEXIS 106).
ROANOKE, Va. - After finding that a tenant's complaint against an apartment management company and its employees, which alleged that they discriminated against her by failing to remediate mold, failed to state a claim, a Virginia federal judge on March 7 dismissed the case (Yvonne Reeves v. Gem Management LLC, et al., No. 7:14cv0088, W.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30020).
PHILADELPHIA - An employer's knowledge of the potential for asbestos exposure to give rise to mesothelioma differs from the type of inevitable result required for an intentional tort claim, a Louisiana federal judge held March 7 (Sally Gros Vedros, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 11-67281, E.D. Pa.).
CHICAGO - Laboratory testing of asbestos-containing joint compound necessarily differs from real world conditions, an Illinois federal judge held March 7 in allowing expert testimony from Dr. James Millette (Marilyn F. Quirin, et al. v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-2633, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29431).
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 7 granting in part defense motions to limit expert opinions with respect to the distribution of heavy metals near the power plant, cleanup efforts by the defendant and the persistence of compounds in the soil in a thallium exposure lawsuit (Michael Hartle, et uxor v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., No. 08-1019, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29419).
LOS ANGELES - A California court on March 6 affirmed a trial court's decision in favor of various owners of a commercial property, finding that building employees failed to present expert evidence in support of their claims that Legionella bacteria and mold in the water system made them sick (Carol Harris, et al. v. 3075 Wilshire LLC, et al., No. B223826, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1629).
TULSA, Okla. - A chemical company that provided hydraulic fracturing fluid for completion of a well in Texas was granted summary judgment in part on March 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma; the presiding judge ordered additional briefing with respect to negligence and express warranty causes of action (Crest Resources Inc. v. Dan Blocker Petroleum Consultants, Inc., No. 09-766, N.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29518).
CINCINNATI - A federal judge in Kentucky did not err in dismissing claims brought by two environmental groups challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to provide a mining company with a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA), a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 7, finding that the Corps properly considered the environmental impact of the company's operations (Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 13-6153, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4267).
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).