NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' jurisdictional determination (JD) that a property containing wetlands was subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA), finding that the court properly found that it lacked jurisdiction because the JD was not a final agency action (Belle Company LLC, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 13-30262, 5th Cir.).
WICHITA FALLS, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on July 29 denied a motion for reconsideration filed by an insurer seeking a ruling that the insurance policy it issued to an oil and gas exploration company covered only the cost of redrilling a well lost or damaged as a result of uncontrolled flow, rather than lost due to pressure operations related to a blowout of the hydraulic fracturing well (Eagle Oil & Gas Co. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 12-00133, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102940).
PEORIA, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on July 25 dismissed an insurer's suit seeking a declaration regarding an indemnity payment for exposure to an insured's asbestos products because the insurer's suit is duplicative of a suit filed by the injured party against the insured (Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. James Shipley et al., No. 11-1220, C.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101546).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 24 reversed and remanded a case asserting liability against the former makers of lead-based paint, ruling that the risk-contribution theory of liability for lead pigment claims does not violate the due process, takings or interstate commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution (Ernest Gibson v. American Cyanamid Co., No. 10-3814, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14212).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on July 28 released a report in which it concluded that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's program to protect underground drinking water sources from injection of fluids associated with oil and gas production needs improvement because the EPA is not conducting two key oversight and enforcement activities.
ST. LOUIS - A company that owns a power plant in Minnesota has standing to intervene in a lawsuit brought by six environmental groups against the Environmental Protection Agency seeking an order requiring the company to implement emissions controls, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 23, finding that a federal judge erred in denying the company's motion (National Parks Conservation Association, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 13-2613, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13957).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York state appellate panel on July 23 ruled that a trial court properly found that a county water authority had standing to bring a lawsuit against makers of perchloroethylene (PCE) for some wells that were contaminated but said the county's lawsuit as to other wells should be dismissed based on the county's failure to file its complaint in a timely manner (Suffolk County Water Authority v. Dow Chemical Company, et al., No. 2012-07097, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5350).
NEW ORLEANS - After finding that claims for mold-related injury and breach of contract asserted by homeowners against a heating and air conditioning company were not excluded under a contract for the installation and maintenance of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, a Louisiana judge on July 23 reversed a decision dismissing certain claims (James K. Wadick III, et al. v. General Heating & Air Conditioning LLC, et al., No. 2014-CA-0187, La. App.; 2014 La. App. LEXIS 1826).
RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on July 23 dismissed a complaint filed by an environmental group and a native American group, ruling that their objections to the construction of a proposed molybdenum mine lacked merit (Great Basin Resource Watch, et al. v. U.S. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 13-00078, D. Nev.).
CHICAGO - After finding that a condominium association repeatedly ignored a resident's requests for help in remediating mold and water damage, an Illinois appeals court on July 24 affirmed a trial court's decision to award her compensatory and punitive damages (Mary Ann Schuh v. Plaza Des Plaines Condominium Association, No. 1-13-1999, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div.; 2014 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1613).
NEWARK, N.J. - New Jersey does not impose liability for third-party asbestos-containing gaskets, packing or insulation applied to a manufacturers' pump, a New Jersey federal judge held July 23 in citing a state appeals court's April decision (William J. Robinson and Gail A. Robinson v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 11-4078, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99778).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut appeals court on July 24 affirmed a trial court's decision that a lawsuit filed by a condominium owner and his tenant seeking damages for water leaks and mold was barred by a statute of limitations, finding that the case was untimely (Panfilio Gugliemi, et al. v. Willowbrook Condominium Association Inc., No. AC 35557, Conn. App.; 2014 Conn. App. LEXIS 343).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - An asbestos-related lung cancer death is an indivisible injury not subject to apportionment, Maryland's top court held July 21 in a divided opinion affirming more than $4 million in verdicts (The Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust v. Sonia Carter, et al., No. 84, September Term, 2013, Md. App.).
PHOENIX - An Arizona man's misrepresentations about his ownership of an underground storage tank (UST) that leaked gasoline, thereby requiring the tank's removal and remediation of the property, defeated his argument that a lawsuit brought against him by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) was barred by res judicata, a state appeals court panel held July 22 (State of Arizona ex rel. Henry R. Darwin v. William M. Arnett, et al., No. CA-CV 13-0420, Ariz. App., Div. 1; 2014 Ariz. App. LEXIS 125).
RENO, Nev. - A Nevada federal judge on July 23 ruled on various motions in relation to counterclaims asserted by a landlord that his tenant made negligent misrepresentations about her living conditions and credit score, granting the tenant an extension to file a motion to dismiss the complaint (Natalie Meredith v. Douglas Weilburg, No. 3:13-cv-00277, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100365).
SAN ANTONIO - A post-removal defendant need not file its own notice or join in the original notice to keep an asbestos case in federal court after dismissal of the removing defendant, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held July 23 (John Calvin Humphries v. Elliot Co., et al., No. 14-30182, 5th Cir.).
TACOMA, Wash. - Plaintiff and co-worker testimony regarding work with asbestos-containing insulation and other testimony establishing a defendant as an "extensive" supplier of those products to the jobsite creates genuine issues overcoming summary judgment, a Washington appeals court held July 22 (Jack Don Kennedy and Sandra Kennedy v. Saberhagen Holdings Inc., No. 43941-7-II, 45381-9-II, Wash. App., Div. 2).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on July 22 found that Alex Energy Inc. was liable for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), ruling that three environmental groups provided sufficient evidence to show that discharges from the company's mines contained excessive levels of selenium (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Inc., et al. v. Alex Energy Inc., No. 13-20571, S.D. W. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99322).
INDIANAPOLIS - After finding that a landlord's failure to disclose mold problems was fraudulent and malicious, an Indiana appeals court on July 21 affirmed an award of punitive damages for tenants but reversed a decision to award them certain compensatory damages (Hi-Tec Properties LLC v. Brittany Murphy, et al., No. 50A05-1401-CT-14, Ind. App.; 2014 Ind. App. LEXIS 334).
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The bare-metal defense bars liability for claims of asbestos exposure arising from insulation, gaskets or packing used on Crane Co. valves, a Georgia judge held July 21 (Betty Jo Reed, et al. v. American Steel and Wire Corp., et al., No. CV10-1540-KA, Ga. Super., Chatham Co.).
ATLANTA - The Georgia Court of Appeals on July 16 determined that a trial court erred in reversing a jury verdict in favor of insureds seeking coverage for water and mold damages because the evidence supported the jury"s verdict (Jennifer and Lee Henderson v. Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., No. A14A0242, Ga. App.; 2014 Ga. App. LEXIS 539).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on July 18 confirmed a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization for Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (OSG) under which personal injury claims, including asbestos claims, will be unimpaired and remain assertable against the reorganized company (In Re: Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., No. 12-20000, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).
PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on July 18 ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to pay more than $23.6 billion in punitive damages to the family of a man who alleged that his death from lung cancer was caused by smoking (Cynthia Robinson, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-98, Fla. 1st Cir., Escambia Co.).
TOPEKA, Kan. - A class of Kansas cigarette purchasers has failed to show that the major tobacco manufacturers conspired to fix wholesale prices for cigarettes, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled July 18 (Daric Smith, et al. v. Philip Morris Companies Inc., et al., No. 108,491, Kan. App.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A magistrate judge properly suggested denying remand after piercing the pleadings and concluding that a plaintiff lacked any claims or chance of recovery against executive officers, a Louisiana federal judge held July 16 in adopting the report and recommendation (Paul F. Sarradet v. The Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 15-5, M.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96836).