MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on March 4 dismissed as untimely the Sierra Club's claims that Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E) violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by performing modifications to a boiler at its coal-fired power plant in March 2008 but found that the group could pursue its claims that emissions from the facility exceeded allowed limits of total suspended particulate (TSP) matter (Sierra Club v. Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company, No. 13-CV-356-JHP, E.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27290).
SEATTLE - Manufacturers at a deposition shared the same interest in discrediting a witness's testimony as an absent manufacturer sued in another asbestos case, a Washington appeals court held March 3 in allowing the evidence (Michael Farrow and Lidia Farrow v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 69917-2-1, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 449).
NEW YORK - Chevron Corp. was granted injunctive relief March 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against a plaintiffs' attorney representing Ecuadorian natives awarded $9.5 billion in personal injury and property damage compensatory damages in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, for contamination of the Oriente region of Ecuador; the presiding judge ruled that the attorney and representatives of the plaintiffs in Ecuador obtained the judgment by fraud and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Chevron Corp. v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).
COVINGTON, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on March 3 granted summary judgment for an insurer, finding that a homeowner's claims that a hole in his water meter caused damage and mold growth were excluded under his insurance policy (Richard Geiman v. Northern Kentucky Water District, et al., No. 2:13-cv-177, E.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26700).
SALT LAKE CITY - An expert's testimony that each specific exposure to asbestos a man described could have led to his disease differs from the type of general "every exposure" testimony that falls short of admissibility, a federal judge held Feb. 28 (Arva Anderson v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 06-741, D. Utah; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88457).
NEW ORLEANS - A 2-1 panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 3 held that business and economic loss (BEL) class members seeking payouts under the $9.2 billion settlement for claims arising from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico do not need to submit evidence of causation based on the language in the settlement agreement (In re Deepwater Horizon, Nos. 13-30315, 13-30329, 13-31220, 13-31316, 5th Cir.).
ASHLAND, Ky. - Defense motions to dismiss a personal injury lawsuit alleging exposure to arsenic in pressure-treated utility poles and cross-arms were denied Feb. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky; the presiding judge adopted the recommendation of a magistrate judge who found that the manufacturers of the chemicals used to treat the wood failed to warn of the danger of exposure to chromate copper arsenate in the finished product (Kevin W. Brown v. Arch Wood Protection Inc., et al., No. 13-61, E.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26089).
AKRON, Ohio - A putative disgorgement class of Marlboro Lights cigarette smokers cannot show a common injury to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3)'s requirement of predominance, an Ohio federal judge said in a Feb. 28 opinion denying plaintiffs' motion for class certification (Eva Marie Phillips v. Philip Morris Companies Inc., nka Altria Group, Inc., et al., No. 5:10CV1741, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25980).
NEW YORK - No coverage is owed to an insured seeking coverage for underlying environmental pollution claims related to one of the insured's facilities in New York because the policies' pollution exclusions bar coverage, a New York federal judge said Feb. 27 (Travelers Indemnity Co., et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., No. 12-3040, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25194).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Restrictions on Native American prison inmates' ability to smoke ceremonial tobacco, grow their hair long and wear items of religious significance impose substantial burdens on their religious exercise, a Texas federal magistrate judge said in a Feb. 27 opinion, but are nevertheless lawful because the policies are the least restrictive means of furthering the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's (TDCJ) interest in maintaining security and controlling costs (Teddy Norris Davis, et al. v. William Stephens, et al., No. 2:12-CV-166, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25030).
PHILADELPHIA - A widow who claims that Medicare is not entitled to the proceeds of a settlement from an asbestos action must go through administrative channels before she seeks judicial review, a federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania held Feb. 25 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. IV) Maria Torres v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. MDL 875 95-1173, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24138).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Feb. 26 granted a motion filed by the United States to dismiss a case filed by a tenant who alleged that he was exposed to mold and other hazards, finding that he failed to first exhaust all of his administrative remedies (Floyd Mallory v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, No. 13-0367, D. D.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24253).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 25 determined that genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether an environmental insurance policy was intended to cover one of the parties included in a settlement agreement or whether the entity was only a third-party beneficiary to the policy (Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. NL Environmental Management Services Inc. et al., No. 13-1889, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23240).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A widow and her husband's former employer on Feb. 25 argued before the Ohio Supreme Court over whether a deposition in an asbestos tort action is admissible in her workers' compensation action when the employer was not present at the deposition (Mary Lou Burkhart v. H.J. Heinz Co., et al., No. 2013-0580, Ohio Sup.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pike County, Pa., property owner was awarded $78,545 in compensation on Feb. 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in an eminent domain condemnation action filed by a natural gas pipeline company for widening an existing easement and right-of-way to construct a second pipeline in the right-of-way (Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. v. Permanent Easements, et al., No. 11-28, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23895).
CHICAGO - The widow of a machinist who died of mesothelioma has presented a triable issue regarding whether asbestos in Kent cigarette filters contributed to his development of mesothelioma, an Illinois federal judge ruled in a Feb. 26 opinion denying summary judgment to the cigarette and filter manufacturers (Marilyn F. Quirin v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, et al., No. 1:13-cv-02633, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24576).
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).