BENTON, Ill. - A federal judge on Oct. 20 set a trial date of Nov. 30 for a case alleging exposure to asbestos in the U.S Navy. On Oct. 15, the judge declined to exclude evidence of tobacco use from the trial while also handing defendant John Crane Inc. a mixed bag of results on its motion in limine (Gerald D. McAlvey v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 14-64, S.D. Ill.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 19 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss a suit filed against its insured and arising out of environmental contamination claims on the basis that the suit is not barred under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Dave Drilling Environmental Engineering Inc. v. Margaret Thersia Gamblin, No. 14-02851, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141941).
BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on Oct. 20 dismissed Chevron U.S.A. Inc.'s claims against the parent company of a pipeline owner after finding that it was not a party to the purchase of sales and asset agreement and trimmed some of the claims asserted against the defendant company because it failed to state claims under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) (Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Apex Oil Company Inc., et al., No. JFM-15-00341, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142170).
NEW ORLEANS - Merely demonstrating U.S. Navy ownership of a vessel does not demonstrate that the Navy retained control over daily operations sufficient for removal, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 19 (William E. Bartel, as personal representative of the estate of Silas B. Bishop v. Alcoa Steamship Company Inc., et al., No. 15-30004, William E. Bartel as personal representative of the estate of Joseph L. Dennis v. American Export Isbrandtsen, et al., No. 15-30005, Lawrence R. Craig v. Rio Grande Transport Inc., et al., No. 15-30032, 5th Cir.).
GREEN BAY, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Oct. 19 reconsidered his earlier ruling finding that NCR Corp. submitted sufficient evidence to support its divisibility defense, after finding that the testimony of the company's expert and the evidence he relied on to support his opinions were unreliable (United States of America v. NCR Corporation, et al., No. 10-C-910, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142301).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A magistrate judge's report recommending against granting summary judgment relies on circumstantial evidence of asbestos exposure similar to evidence that secured such relief for several other defendants, two defendants told a federal judge on Oct. 19 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Arthur Dumas v. ABB Group Inc., et al., No. 13-229, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137291).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Allegations that two individual defendants advertised and sold liquid nicotine products bearing several famous trademarks were accepted as true on Oct. 16, when a North Carolina federal judge granted Reynolds Innovations Inc. (RII) a default judgment (Reynolds Innovations Inc. v. Smoke Anywhere for Penny's LLC, No. 15-273, W.D. N.C.).
NEW YORK - Two of the defendants in the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico against a group of gasoline companies on Oct. 15 filed a brief in New York federal court seeking reconsideration of a district court's ruling that the statute of limitations has not run on the commonwealth's claim (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 07 Civ. 10470, S.D. N.Y.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 16 dismissed an insurer's breach of contract counterclaim on the basis that the insureds did not breach their contract by filing environmental contamination claims they knew would not be covered under the policy because the insurer reserved the right to deny coverage for any noncovered claims (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141305).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 14 ruled that the current owner of an industrial and commercial property's statute of limitations defense against a counterclaimant's cost recovery claim under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act is meritless because the current owner was unable to show that the lawsuit is time-barred under the three-year statute for removal actions or the six-year statute for remedial actions (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corp., et al., No. 10-cv-05105, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140047).
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Forty-nine plaintiffs claiming that contamination from a site formerly operated by Hercules Inc. has migrated onto their properties, resulting in diminished property values and exposure to hazardous materials, must submit an affidavit from an expert demonstrating a contamination migration pathway between the site and the property, as well as laboratory analysis confirming the existence of constituents on the property, a federal magistrate judge in Mississippi ruled Oct. 16 in granting the defendant company's request for the entry of a Lone Pine case management order (Willie M. Ashford, et al. v. Hercules Inc., No. 15cv27-KS-MTP, S.D. Miss.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141011).
BANGOR, Maine - A federal judge in Maine on Oct. 16 named Susan Calkins as the special master to oversee potential remedies Mallinckrodt U.S. LLC should fund to remediate mercury contamination in the Penebscot River and entered an order stating that an engineering firm will be retained to identify and evaluate potential active remedies to speed the recovery of the area (Maine People's Alliance, et al. v. Holtrachem Manufacturing Company LLC, et al., No. 00-cv-00069-JAW, D. Maine; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140853).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A divided Maryland Court of Appeals on Oct. 16 reversed a ruling by an intermediate appellate court that affirmed a trial court's exclusion of a medical expert in a lead-paint poisoning case, concluding that the expert was qualified to testify as to causation (Jakeem Roy v. Elliot Dackman, et al., No. 6, Sept. Term 2015; 2015 Md. LEXIS 717).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Oct. 13 dismissed a man's claim for disability pay from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Agent Orange exposure and cancer treatment, contending that his lawsuit alleging violation of his due process rights was filed in the wrong jurisdiction (Floyd L. Williamson v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, et al., No. 15-00806, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138996).
SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge presiding over the lawsuit brought by the current owner of a contaminated property that has subsequently resulted in groundwater tainted with toxins ruled Oct. 14 that a group owning 28 acres on a portion of the property in question lacks affirmative defenses barring the lawsuit (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation, No. 10-05105, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140047).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel in the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 14 dismissed an appeal brought by a woman who contended that her husband was poisoned, and later died, as a result of exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam, ruling that the court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal (Lucy B. Gabriel v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 2015-7091, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17821).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Oct. 14 appointed a special master to help determine a proper remedy for Fola Coal Co. LLC's illegal discharges of ionic pollution, ruling that remedies proposed by the company and environmental groups are complex and costly (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Fola Coal Company LLC, No. 13-5006, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139507).
PASADENA, Calif. - General testimony of asbestos exposure from pump gaskets without more evidence of who manufactured those parts does not create issues of material fact, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 14 (Jeffrey J. Lannes v. Flowserve U.S. Inc., et al. [Warren Pumps Inc.], Nos. 13-56391, 13-56393, 15-56397, 9th Cir.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The railroad company defendants being sued by a group of New Jersey residents seeking damages related to a vinyl chloride spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek on Oct. 9 filed a brief in federal court, arguing that the District Court should retain jurisdiction over the case (In Re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D.N.J.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The water company in Ohio that is suing E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. for the costs associated with remediating drinking water that was contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) on Oct. 12 filed a brief in federal court, arguing that more discovery is needed in the case (The Little Hocking Water Association Inc. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 09-1081, S.D. Ohio).
AUSTIN, Texas - The imposition of a fee on cigarette manufacturers not part of the 1998 nationwide settlement of deceptive advertising and antitrust claims levied against four major tobacco companies will be debated before the Supreme Court of Texas, which granted a petition for review on Oct. 9 (Glenn Hegar, et al. v. Texas Small Tobacco Coalition, et al., No. 14-0747, Texas Sup.).
DENVER - A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 8 partially reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling, calling for further proceedings on an inmate's claims for relief with regard to his allegations that he was forced to drink water contaminated with uranium because prison officials failed to act properly (Tyrone Walker v. John W. Hickenlooper, et al., No. 14-1462, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17727).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on Oct. 7 returned a verdict for two companies accused of exposing a man to asbestos at an oil refinery, sources told Mealey Publications (James Harkin v. John Crane Inc., No. RG15758794, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - A South Carolina jury on Oct. 8 added $2 million to a $12 million punitive damages award in a case alleging that a machinist suffered exposure to asbestos from materials company Celanese Corp. (Dennis Seay v. 3M Co., et al., No. 2013CP4203915, S.C. Cir., 7th Jud. Cir., Spartanburg Co.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A New York justice on Oct. 9 ordered a defunct mining operation to pay $5.6 million after it refused to appear at trial, sources told Mealey Publications (Joseph Muir v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 809307/2014, N.Y. Sup., Erie Co.).