CHARLESTON, W. Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on April 30 denied without prejudice a motion for partial summary judgment filed by environmental groups over Consol of Kentucky Inc.'s discharges of selenium, ruling that their requests for declaratory and injunctive relief and civil penalties were premature (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Consol of Kentucky Inc., No. 13-5005, S.D. W. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59741).
NEW YORK - New York City asbestos defendants on April 28 asked a state court to stay an order ending deferral of punitive damages, saying the order should operate prospectively. In an April 30 letter, the plaintiffs challenged the defendants' request as "replete with misconceptions and wholly inaccurate factual and legal generalizations" (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Nos. 190293/11, 190311/11, 190294/11, 190262/11, 190215/11, 190299/11, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Compensation for future medical expenses, court-ordered medical monitoring and relocation from allegedly polluted properties is not justified by the evidence, the Texas federal judge sentencing CITGO Petroleum Corp. for criminal pollution violations said in an April 30 sentencing memorandum (United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., et al., No. CR-06-563, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60172).
NEW ORLEANS - A divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a motion April 28 for rehearing en banc filed by Iraq War contractors to review an order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas denying dismissal of the lawsuit filed by National Guard members alleging exposure to hexavalent chromium at an oil extraction site in Iraq; the trial court declined to dismiss the claims for lack of jurisdiction under the political question doctrine and the combat activities exception in the Federal Tort Claims Act in August 2012 (Mark McManaway, et al. v. KBR Inc., et al., No. 12-20763, 5th Cir.).
BALTIMORE - Remand strips a federal judge of jurisdiction over all portions of an asbestos case and prohibits sanctions for allegedly improper conduct in obtaining the remand, a divided Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Apeals panel held April 30 (Joyce Barlow v. Colgate-Palmolive Co. and John Crane-Houdille Inc., et al., Clara Mosko v. Colgate-Palmolive Co. and John Crane-Houdaille Inc., et al., No. 13-1839, 4th Cir.).
NEW YORK - The motion filed by Chevron Corp. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for $32,334,584 in attorney fees for prevailing in its lawsuit to prevent the enforcement of the $9.5 billion compensatory damages award for contamination of the Oriente region of Ecuador was deferred April 29 by the presiding judge pending a decision in the appeal of the injunctive relief granted in March under theories of fraud and violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Chevron Corp. v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - A $10.1 billion consumer fraud verdict stemming from Philip Morris USA Inc.'s marketing of "light" cigarettes was reinstated April 29 by Illinois' Fifth District Appellate Court (Sharon Price, et al. v. Philip Morris Inc., No. 5-13-0017, Ill. App., 5th Dist.).
LAS VEGAS - Homeowners failed to show that certain service contractors are indispensable parties to an insurer's lawsuit regarding coverage for mold damages, a Nevada federal judge ruled April 28, refusing to dismiss the lawsuit (Universal North America Insurance Co. v. Matthew Cathcart, et al., No. 13-01767, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58644).
LONDON - A United Kingdom member of Parliament on April announced that she has requested that the government commit to a long-term investment for the funding of mesothelioma research.
TRENTON, N.J. - After a New Jersey federal judge dismissed claims asserted against a borough and various officials in relation to the condition of an apartment and allegedly missing and damaged personal property, a tenant on April 28 filed a notice of appeal of the decision to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Robert McCann v. The Borough of Magnolia, et al., No. 14-170, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48040).
NEW YORK - Defendants in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit should pay $6.7 million to the State of New York to reimburse the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for response costs it incurred in remediating perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination from a site owned and operated by the defendants as well as downgradient contamination, a federal judge in New York ruled April 25 (State of New York v. Michael Adamowicz III, et al., No. 02-3476, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58337).
CLEVELAND - The Ohio Supreme Court on April 29 heard oral arguments over what constitutes a competent medical authority and whether asbestos plaintiffs may satisfy the requirement in cases of "round robin" treatment (Cleo J. Renfrow v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 13-0761, Ohio Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A 2-1 panel of the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 reversed a Federal Claims Court judge's ruling awarding summary judgment to the U.S. government after finding that contracts the government entered into with oil companies during World War II for the production of aviation fuel (avgas) require the government to reimburse the companies for costs they incurred under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Shell Oil Company, et al. v. United States of America, No. 2013-5051, Fed. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 7865).
DENVER - Personal injury claims filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) by a wildlife biologist alleging sarin exposure were revived April 28 by a divided panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which applied the discovery rule to the summary judgment evidence (Carolyn Bayless v. United States, No. 12-4120, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 7877).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a 6-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 29 reversed a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision that states are excused from adopting implementation plans prohibiting emissions that "contribute significantly" to air pollution in other states until after the agency has adopted a rule quantifying each state's interstate pollution obligations (Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, et al., No. 12-1182, U.S. Sup.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - The tenuous connection between an asbestos action and a defendant's bankruptcy cannot provide a basis for federal jurisdiction, an Illinois federal judge held in remanding the case on April 24 (Jason Bode, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 13-1310, S.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57598).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - To the extent that a man may be able to allege injury from throat nodules allegedly caused by occupational asbestos exposure, he may amend his action, a California federal judge held April 24 (John Parise Jr. v. Union Pacific Railroad, No. 14-36, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57507).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A man's evidence of asbestos exposure to two defendants' products falls short of the frequency, regularity, proximity standard, dooming his take-home exposure case, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel held April 24 (Allen Groover, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 680 EDA 2013, Pa. Super.).
NEW ORLEANS - Claims that a woman developed fatal mesothelioma from the asbestos in Kent "Micronite" filters and take-home exposure from her father's workplace were remanded by a Louisiana federal judge, who said in an opinion filed April 25 that defendant Lorillard Tobacco Co.'s removal from the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans a month before trial was scheduled was untimely (Rosemary Radosta v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-00500, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57943).
FARGO, N.D. - A decision granting Native American prison inmates the right to smoke a mixture containing 1 percent tobacco in religious ceremonies was affirmed April 25 by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which cited the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) (Native American Council of Tribes, et al. v. Douglas Weber, Warden of the South Dakota State Penitentiary, et al. Nos. 13-1401 and 13-2745, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 7766).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on April 24 denied a motion to approve a proposed consent decree between environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the regulation of coal ash under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), after finding that though the terms of the settlement were reasonable, the parties' agreement on the extension of the deadline for the agency to take final action was against the public interest (Appalachian Voices, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 12-0523, Consolidated with Nos. 12-0585, 12-0629, D. D.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57118).
HONOLULU - Affidavits from retired officers to the effect that the Navy issued precise specifications and evidence that Crane Co.'s products met those specifications create a colorable federal defense in an asbestos case, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 25 (Douglas P. Leite and Mary Ann K. Leite v. Crane Co., et al., David Thompson v. Crane Co., Nos. 12-16864, 12-16982, 9th Cir.).
BECKLEY, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on April 24 ruled that samples taken by an environmental group in October and December 2012 prove that selenium discharges from a defendant company's mining operations violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) because levels of the substance were in excess of limits allowed by the company's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Marfork Coal Company, et al., No. 12-1464, S.D. W.Va.).
JACKSON, Miss. - Because no good cause existed for the failure to prosecute a widow's asbestos action, her children cannot rely upon the action to toll the statute of limitations, the Mississippi Supreme Court held April 24 (James Allen Burch, et al. v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., No. 2013-CA-414-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2014 Miss. LEXIS 218).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 23 dismissed claims asserted by a prisoner who alleged that he was exposed to toxic mold, finding that he failed to establish that officials showed a deliberate indifference to his medical needs (Craig Arnold Thomas v. Jay Skrenek, et al., No. 13-9494, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56809).