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 orders March 13 excluding the expert testimony of a geologist and an environmental scientist designated by the plaintiffs to identify the fly ash on their properties; the opinions would not help the trier of fact because they are unable to determine when the fly ash was deposited on the plaintiffs' properties, according to the judge (David Patrick, et al v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., et al., No. 08-1025, W.D. Pa.; Robert Price, et al. v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., No 08-1030, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32338; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32340).
MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Senate on March 12 passed, on a 17-to-16 vote, legislation requiring that plaintiffs disclose asbestos personal injury trust submissions and providing liable defendants with offsets for recoveries from those trusts.
ST. LOUIS - A putative class action over oil leaks from a 100-year-old pipeline currently being used to carry communications cable was denied certification on March 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Glenn A. Henke, et al. v. Arco Midcon LLC, et al., No. 10-cv-00086, E.D. Mo.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania jury on March 12 awarded $7.4 million for a man's death from mesothelioma, leaving lone remaining defendant RSCC Wire & Cable LLC on the hook for $805,250, sources told Mealey Publications (Arnold Merwitz v. Allis Chalmers Corp., et al., No. 101101848, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - A Canadian commissioner on March 10 ordered that a worker's occupational exposure claim be remanded for further review by a workers' compensation board to determine whether he suffers from an asbestos-related or other lung impairment (2013-434-RTH, Nova Scotia Wrks. Comp. App. Trib.).
BECKLEY, W.Va. - Summary judgment was granted March 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia for an insecticide applicator accused of damaging a dairy farmer's corn crop; the applicator's liability is limited to the cost of replacing the 2009 corn crop because the farmer failed to timely respond to discovery and admission requests, according to the judge (J. Michael Focus v. Southern States Cooperative, No. 13-22061, S.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30514).
SYDNEY, Australia - The High Court of Australia on March 12 dismissed an application for special leave filed by property owners who sought to appeal a decision that they failed to show that asbestos-contaminated landfill was deposited on their property (Galea & Ors v Farrugia & Ors, No.  HCASL 58, Australia High).
PORTLAND, Maine - Conagra Grocery Products LLC failed to sufficiently state claims against the federal government for contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal judge in Maine ruled March 12, finding that although the government funded and provided permits for a wastewater treatment facility on the property at issue, it was neither an operator nor arranger under the statute (United States of America v. Conagra Grocery Products LLC, No. 11-cv-455-NT, D. Maine; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31847).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The Wyoming Supreme Court unanimously adopted a trade secret standard for application of the Wyoming Public Records Act to requests for disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluid components on March 12 and remanded a lawsuit filed by environmental watchdogs against state gas and oil regulators to permit a state district court to develop the record (Powder River Basin Resource Council, et al. v. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, et al., No. 13-120, Wyo. Sup.; 2014 Wyo. LEXIS 38).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Whether petroleum byproducts containing benzene are "an offensive substance" within the meaning of the Municipal Code of Roxana, Ill., was certified for interlocutory appeal March 5 by an Illinois federal judge (Village of Roxana v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 3:12-cv-577, S.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27759).
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 5 denying cross-motions to exclude general and specific causation expert opinions in a thallium exposure lawsuit (Michael Hartle, et uxor v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., No. 08-1019, W.D. Pa.;2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27755).
CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and 66 of its subsidiaries on March 5 entered into a proposed consent decree in West Virginia federal court in which the companies agreed to pay $27.5 million as a civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and spend an estimated $200 million to install and operate wastewater treatment plants to reduce discharges of polluted water from coal mines in five states (United States of America, et al. v. Alpha Natural Resources Inc., et al., No. 14-11609, S.D. W. Va.).
BALTIMORE - A proposal for a consolidated trial of Maryland asbestos cases lacks sufficient detail and likely places too heavy a burden on the court and litigants, a Maryland judge held March 5 in denying the motion (In re Baltimore City Personal Injury and Wrongful death Litigation Global, No. 24-X-87-048500, Md. Cir., Baltimore City).
DOVER, Del. - After finding a lack of evidence as to whether a condominium unit contained mold growth that required remediation, a Delaware chancellor on Feb. 28 approved a master's decision to deny a council access to the unit (The Council of The Pointe at Bethany Bay Condominiums v. Higgins, No. 7543-VCN, Del. Chanc.; 2014 Del. Ch. LEXIS 32).