BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - An Illinois jury on Jan. 27 awarded more than $2 million - reduced to $1.7 million by a finding of contributory negligence - in a consolidated trial involving an asbestosis sufferer and an individual who died of lung cancer, sources told Mealey's Publications (Jim Smith v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., Mary Hernandez, as administrator of estate of John Nafziger v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., No. 05L117, 07L91, Ill. Cir., McLean Co.).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A unanimous Second Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal panel ruled Jan. 29 in an opinion of first impression that an annexing municipality is entitled to royalties from natural gas extracted from the roadbeds of statutorily dedicated public roads on the land annexed because ownership of dedicated public roads transfers to the city as a result of the annexation (Chesapeake Operating Inc. v. City of Shreveport, et al., No. 48,608 $(consolidated$), La. App., 2nd Cir.).
DENVER - Neighbors of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant in Colorado may not pursue state law tort claims against the contractors who operated the plant because the claims are preempted by the Price-Anderson Act, the federal judge presiding over the litigation ruled Jan. 28 (Merilyn Cook, et al. v. Rockwell International Corp., et al., No. 90-181, D. Colo.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's inability to consistently name an automobile parts store as a place he frequented dooms his asbestos action against it, a Delaware judge held Jan. 24 (Carlton L. Smith and Lucille Smith v. Advanced Auto Parts Inc., et al., No. N12C-06-286ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
INDIANAPOLIS - No coverage is owed for perchlorate contamination caused by an insured's manufacturing of highway safety flares because the policies' pollution exclusions are applicable under Maryland law and bar coverage for the claims, the Indiana Court of Appeals said Jan. 23 (Chubb Custom Insurance Co. et al., v. Standard Fusee Corp., No. 49A02-1301-PL-91, Ind. App.; 2014 Ind. App. LEXIS 15).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A unanimous Sixth District California Court of Appeal panel on Jan. 27 revived strict products liability claims against an employer sued for preconception exposure to ethylene glycol in a semiconductor manufacturing factory but sustained summary judgment for the defendant with respect to alleged negligence because the plaintiffs failed to adequately plead duty of care (Waleed Elsheref, et al. v. Applied Materials Inc., No. H038333, Calif. App., 6th Dist.; 2013 Cal. Ap. LEXIS 68).
ADELAIDE, Australia - An Australian judge on Jan. 24 found that after a company refused a former dock worker's offer to settle his mesothelioma claim, it became liable to pay the costs of his asbestos compensation action (Van Soest v. BHP Billiton Limited, $(No 3$) $(2014$) SADC 6, South Australia Dist.).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee federal magistrate judge on Jan. 24 issued a report and recommendation finding that a jail official took necessary steps to remedy a mold problem and that a complaint against her should be dismissed (Joshua Lee Caroll, et al. v. Fentress County Sheriff Department, et al., No. 2:11-0019, M.D. Tenn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8900).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Jan. 27 sustained in part preliminary objections to a declaratory judgment complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission against an oil and natural gas extraction company for compensation with respect to extraction of natural gas by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing from a state game land (Pennsylvania Game Commission v. Seneca Resources Corp., No. 89 MD 2013, Pa. Cmwlth.; 2014 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 76).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 27 refused to review a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling reinstating claims brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) by trustees against the former owners of a landfill (Norman W. Bernstein, et. al. v. Patricia A. Bankert, et. al., No. 13-568, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A judge apportioning cleanup costs at two toxic sites in Niagara Falls, N.Y., should have used newer well data in deciding the contributions of two third-party defendants, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said in a Jan. 24 summary order (State of New York v. Solvent Chemical Company Inc. v. Olin Corporation, et al., No. 13-132(L), 13-148, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1348).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A creditor of bankrupt alternative energy company Abound Solar Manufacturing LLC on Jan. 22 moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to oppose the trustee's motion to approve a settlement with the company's insurer for $2.2 million that would resolve the costs of environmental remediation (In Re: Abound Solar Manufacturing LLC, No. 12-11974, Chapter 7, D. Del. Bkcy.).
HONG KONG - The Hong Kong SAR Government on Jan. 22 announced that it has passed a new environmental law that will ban the importation and use of all asbestos.
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 13 announced that a Maryland company agreed to pay $105,200 to resolve allegations that its storage of hazardous wastes at its Cockeysville, Md., site violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
PHILADELPHIA - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Jan. 13 that Phoenix Color Co. agreed to pay $45,000 to resolve allegations that it illegally stored hazardous waste at its Hagerstown, Md., site in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
LOS ANGELES - A metal-finishing company will pay $43,000 as a civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and will spend an additional $23,500 to upgrade equipment at its Commerce, Calif., facility, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Jan. 14 (In the matter of Air Louvers, EPA Docket No. CWA-09-2013-0002).
BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota Supreme Court on Jan. 14 unanimously affirmed an award of $23,279 in attorney fees for members of an environmental watchdog group accused by a natural gas and oil extraction company of trespassing on its leasehold in Bottineau County, N.D., after concluding that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion by ruling that the lawsuit filed by the company was frivolous (Sagebrush Resources v. Daryl Peterson, et al., No. 20130080, N.D. Sup.; 2014 ND 3).
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Jan. 8 granted in part an environmental group's motion for summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, finding that some information withheld by the agency was not protected by the work product doctrine (PacifiCorp v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 13-cv-02187-RM-CBS, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2496).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 10 agreed to take up a case to decide if the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in reviving claims brought by North Carolina landowners under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) against a company accused of contaminating groundwater with trichloroethylene (TCE) (CTS Corp. v. Peter Waldburger, et al., No. 13-339, U.S. Sup.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Jan. 6 dismissed a lawsuit brought by two plaintiff companies under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and for violations of other state laws after finding that the companies failed to sufficiently allege that the defendant disposed of hazardous materials on the property (Heller Urban Renewal LLC, et al. v. FER Boulevard Realty Corp., et al., No. 13-431, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1558).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Jan. 3 denied motions for summary judgment filed by two coal company defendants in a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit, ruling that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits they obtained do not shield them from liability under the act for discharges that allegedly contained higher amounts of contaminants than allowed (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Elk Run Coal Company Inc., et al., No. 12-0785, S.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 509).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and state Department of Environmental Protection filed an application on Jan. 2 in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for reconsideration of the Dec. 19 opinion granting local governments standing to seek redress for violations of their constitutional mandate to preserve the environment included in the Pennsylvania Constitution declaration of rights and declaring the amendments to the state gas and oil regulations, known as Act 13 of 2012, in violation of Pennsylvanians' constitutional right to a clean environment (Robinson Township, et al. v. Pennsylvania, et al., No. 63 MAP 2012 $(consolidated$), Pa. Sup.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A 2002 consent order entered into between a company and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) precludes that state from taking any further action against the company for groundwater and soil conditions known to exist at the time of the agreement, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled Jan. 2 in grating in part the company's motion to enforce the settlement (State of New York v. PVS Chemicals Inc., No. 97-0596Sr, W.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 225).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 2 affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), after agreeing with a federal magistrate judge that the action was untimely (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection v. Beazer East Inc., et al., No. 13-1209, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22).
ORANGEBURG, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on Dec. 23 denied motions to compel filed by the federal government and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), ruling that a deposition notice did not require a company's representative to produce information about when a litigation hold was implemented (United States of America, et al. v. Albermarle Corporation, No. 11-00991-JMC, D. S.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179775).