WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 11 passed HR 4470, which amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and requires each owner or operator of a public water system to notify its customers when 10 percent of its customers have water containing lead at amounts greater than 15 parts per billion.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Feb. 10 denied the Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) request to apply the consultant corollary exception of the deliberative process privilege to a five-page draft of a letter that was shared with a Rutgers University professor who believes that global warming has spurred a phenomenon known as the "polar vortex," finding that the professor could not be likened to a government employee and that her opinion was not being sought to assist the office with forming a policy position (Competitive Enterprise Institute v. Office of Science and Technology Policy, No. 14-cv-01806, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15893).
NEW YORK - Potential recovery for asbestos-related injuries from a talcum powder manufacturer precludes a market-share liability claim against talc suppliers, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Feb. 9 (Keri LoGiudice and Joseph LoGiudice v. American Talc Co., et al., No. 190253/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 10 dismissed a complaint filed by the City of Evanston, Ill., against two energy companies for allegedly contaminating groundwater by improperly disposing of solid waste, ruling that the city's notice of intent to sue the companies was not specific enough to indicate the nature of the charges against them (Northern Illinois Gas Company v. City of Evanston, Ill. and City of Evanston, Ill. v. Northern Illinois Gas Company, No. 14-9227, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16331).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 9 ruled that a group of defendants, including the trustees of an estate and two property management companies, is liable to the state for the costs the state incurred in remediating groundwater contamination from numerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) tretrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), that flowed downstream from properties owned by the defendants (State of New York, et al. v. Next Millennium Realty LLC, No. 06-1133, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15775).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Efforts by four cigarette manufacturers to revisit the majority of corrective statements for dissemination to the media already endorsed by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals were rejected by a District of Columbia federal judge Feb. 8 as "ridiculous" and a "waste of precious time, energy and money" (United States, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 99-2496, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14744).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 9 voted 5-4 in favor of staying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement of the Clean Energy Plan in order for challenges from 30 states to proceed through the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (State of Nebraska v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15A793, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal jury in Pennsylvania on Feb. 9 awarded $1,085,000 in a mesothelioma case against Crane Co. and found it 30 percent liable, sources told Mealey's Publications (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 9 affirmed a district court's ruling that an insurer is entitled to contribution from a second insurer that is responsible for one-seventh of the defense costs spent in defending the insured in four underlying benzene-related lawsuits (Continental Casualty Co. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., et al., No. 15-1547, 8th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 8 granted the federal government's motion to strike a jury demand in a Clean Air Act (CAA) suit against Ameren Missouri, finding that the damages sought by the government were equitable rather than legal (United States of America v. Ameren Missouri, No. 11 cv 77, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14849).
NEW YORK - A judge in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 granted an emergency stay of a lower court's order that required a group of plaintiffs to dismiss their chemical injury lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania state court against Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (Tronox Incorporated v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, No. 14-5495, 2nd Cir.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Feb. 8 fined Duke Energy Carolinas LLC $6,631,005.41 million for a coal ash spill at the company's power plant on the Dan River (In the matter of: Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, No. DV-2016-0017, NCDEQ, Rockingham Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A plaintiff lacks sufficient evidence of substantial factor causation, a federal judge in California said Feb. 8 in once again granting three companies summary judgment in an asbestos case after the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed an earlier ruling (Charles Curtis v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 12-2014, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15735).
LENEXA, Kans. - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 4 announced that Loveland Products Inc. has agreed to a proposed settlement that would require it to pay a $145,000 civil penalty for discharges of storm water into the Brawner Creek that contained excessive levels of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two manufacturers' evidence of U.S. Navy control over products supplied to them creates a colorable defense to design defect and failure-to-warn asbestos claims, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held Feb. 5 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Edna S. Esser a/k/a Edna Tallman, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 13-395, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13914).
SAN FRANCISCO - Testimony placing a decedent at a garage during work on asbestos-containing friction products suffices to overcome summary judgment, a California appeals court held Feb. 8 in reversing judgment for three of four defendants (Geraldine Bierner Lepore, et al. v. Kelsey-Hayes Co., et al., No. A137451, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
BLACKSBURG, Va. - The research team that exposed the dangerous levels of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Mich., on Feb. 4 released more emails obtained from Michigan state officials that indicate that in January 2015, an environmental health inspector for the county in which the city is located filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with state environmental officials for information about the water supply system the city was using because of an increase in local cases of Legionnaire's disease.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 3 heard testimony from lawyers, a former judge and the wife a former congressman who died of mesothelioma during hearings on legislation addressing the need for transparency in asbestos trusts.
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 2 denied an amended motion for class certification filed in in a lawsuit brought by consumers who allege that deceptive advertising by a maker of electronic cigarettes led them to believe that they were safer than smoking traditional cigarettes (In Re: NJOY Inc. Consumer Class Action Litigation, No. 14-00428, C.D. Calif.).
ATLANTA - Less than two weeks after announcing that it would revisit its April holding that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in Engle progeny suits are preempted by federal law, an en banc 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 2 vacated its Jan. 21 rehearing order in light of a recusal by Chief Circuit Judge Ed Carnes (Earl E. Graham, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Faye Dale Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14590, 11th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The researcher whose team discovered the lead contamination in the water in Flint, Mich., along with officials from state environmental agencies, on Feb. 3 testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the lead water crisis in Flint, saying that the crisis is the result of "institutional scientific misconduct perpetrated by" federal and state agencies that have the purpose of protecting drinking water.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Feb. 1 agreed to decide whether strict-liability failure-to-warn cases permit a jury to determine if the product in question was unreasonably dangerous (Thomas Amato and Jean Amato v. Bell & Gossett, et al., No. 448 EAL 2015, Charlotte Vinciguerra, et al. v. Bayer Cropscience Inc, et al., No. 447 EAL 2015, Pa. Sup.).
ST LOUIS - A Missouri jury awarded $4.1 million to the widow of man who contracted mesothelioma after asbestos exposure as an electrician, holding the lone remaining defendant 5 percent liable, sources told Mealey Publications Feb. 1 (Jean Urbach v. The Okonite Co., No. 1122-CC-10636, Mo. Cir., St. Louis Co.).
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The failure of a couple to cite the proper statute section in a letter of intent to sue a railway company for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) as a result of an oil spill that discharged more than 11,000 barrels of oil onto their property warranted the dismissal of their claims under the act, a federal judge in Alabama ruled Feb. 2 (David W. Grayson, et al. v. Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-01661-LSC, N.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12054).
DETROIT - A putative class on Jan. 31 filed a lawsuit in Michigan federal court against state officials who the class contends are liable for damages for acts that "unilaterally" resulted in contaminating the drinking water in Flint, Mich., with lead (Beatrice Boler, et al. v. Darnell Earley, et al., No. 16-10323, E.D. Mich.).