SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 18 granted a second extension of discovery in a hydraulic fracturing lawsuit brought by a group of residents who contend that residential water wells were contaminated by hydraulic fracturing chemicals. The order constituted one paragraph and provided no explanation for the judge's decision (Susan Berish, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., et al., No. 10-1981, M.D. Pa.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A former employee of the Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (NSRC) on Nov. 18 filed a lawsuit in Ohio federal court alleging that she suffered personal injuries as a result of exposure to hazardous chemicals when a train car imploded in a rail yard (Karalee Carr v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, No. 14-00883, S.D. Ohio).
HOUSTON - Oil company Hess Corp. on Nov. 19 moved in Texas federal court for dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a hydraulic fracturing company that contends that Hess is liable for negligence and damages connected to alleged contamination of horizontal hydraulic fracturing wells; Hess says the plaintiffs lack standing and the case is barred by the statute of limitations (Texokan Operating Inc., et al. v. Hess Corporation, No. 13-02866, S.D. Texas).
NEW YORK - An asbestos widow sufficiently fulfilled the statutory requirements necessary to sue the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, even though she labeled the notice of claim as one for "personal injury" rather than "wrongful death," the New York Court of Appeals held Nov. 20 (In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Andrucki, et al. v. Alcoa Company of America, et al., Port Authority of New York and Jersey, No. 185, N.Y. App.; 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 3216).
PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs in two federal asbestos multidistrict cases told the judge on Nov. 19 that changes in the litigation over the last 14 years warrant allowing the imposition of punitive damages (Kenneth McAfee and Shirley McAfee v. 20th Century Glove Corporation of Texas, et al., No. 13-6856, Gerald Morris and Barbara Morris v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 13-6591, E.D. Pa.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York state appellate panel on Nov. 20 affirmed a lower court's decision and determined that a landlord being sued for alleged injuries caused by exposure to lead-based paint had the right to compel the discovery of the academic records of the plaintiff's siblings and mother, as well as the discovery of the plaintiff's mother's medical records. The panel said the plaintiff's mother also needed to undergo an IQ test (Jarrod Perez v. Lenore Fleischer, No. 51879, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8060).
HOUSTON - The families of two Texas residents who were former employees of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. who died following exposure to what they referred to as "highly toxic gas" on Nov. 17 filed two lawsuits against the company in Texas state court, seeking $1 million each, alleging that DuPont is liable for the deaths because of a chemical leak at the chemical processing facility where the decedents worked (Jasmine Rae Wise, individually and as the representative of Chrystle Rae Wise, v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 2014-67256, Texas Dist., Harris Co., and Michelle Tisnado, individually and as the representative of the Estate of Gilbert Tisnado v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 2014-67139, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).
TEXARKANA, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Nov. 18 reversed and remanded a case in which a trial court ruled that a drilling company had to pay a hydraulic fracturing contractor for services provided, ruling that the contract that was admitted into evidence was not the actual contract between the parties (Matador Production Company v. Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems Inc., No. 06-14-00015, Texas App., 6th Dist.; 2014 Texas App. LEXIS 12438).
PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on Nov. 17 dismissed a shareholder class action against a hydraulic fracturing company on grounds that the class failed to show that the fracking company violated any federal securities laws in its operations and earnings statements (In Re: Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 13-01800, D. Ariz.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161814).
BALTIMORE - After finding that a property owner who sought insurance coverage for storm damage that led to mold exhausted all of her administrative remedies, a Maryland federal judge on Nov. 19 refused to reconsider a decision allowing her to amend her complaint to add a cause of action for fees (Carvet Carlyle v. The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co., No. 13-2964, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162109).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A federal judge in Rhode Island on Nov. 19 found in favor of defendants accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), holding that plaintiffs' citizen suit lacked merit because they were unable to show that the defendants discharged pollutants into navigable waterways of the United States without a permit (Louis Paolino, et al. v. JF Realty LLC, et al., No. 12-39-ML, D. R.I.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161938).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Nov. 18 awarded a widow $5,635,080 for fatal asbestosis a husband contracted during work as a boilermaker at power plants owned by the lone remaining defendant (Magaly Fernandez, et al. v. Florida Power & Light Co., et al., No. 11-17044, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The clerk of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 18 issued an order consolidating two lawsuits filed by landowners in West Virginia who contest the validity of oil and gas leases they entered into with a company seeking to use hydraulic fracturing on their land. The two groups of plaintiffs seek to compel the company to comply with discovery requests (Floyd Barber, et al. v. Magnum Land Services LLC, et al, No. 14-2248; Richard Bell, et al. v. Magnum Land Services LLC, et al., No. 14-2239, [consolidated], 4th Cir.).
ROANOKE, Va. - The U.S. Forestry Service (USFS) on Nov. 18 announced its revised plan for management of the 1.1 million-acre George Washington National Forest that will allow oil and gas exploration using hydraulic fracturing on a total of 177,200 acres.
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Nov. 17 returned a defense verdict for John Crane Inc. in a case alleging exposure to asbestos from its gaskets (Susan Hill, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 12-8713, C.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 issued an order giving a Pennsylvania doctor who is seeking to learn the chemicals in proprietary hydraulic fracturing fluids three days to correct his filing error as he appeals a District Court's decision dismissing his lawsuit (Alfonso Rodriguez v. Secretary of Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. 14-3467, 3rd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Nov. 17 that Sevenson Environmental Services Inc. has agreed to pay $2.72 million to resolve allegations that the environmental remediation firm violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act in connection with work performed at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, N.J.
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A trial court did not err in instructing a jury charged to determine if an insurer owed additional coverage for its insureds' water and mold damages caused by a windstorm because the jury was not asked to make a coverage determination, the Kentucky Court of Appeals said Nov. 14 (Scott Phelps, et al. v. American Reliable Insurance Co., Nos. 2012-CA-000477-MR, 2012-CA-001603-MR, Ky.. App.; 2014 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 869).
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - A primary insurer is responsible only for paying the policy limits on one of its three policies for an underlying lead exposure claim because there was only one occurrence within the meaning of the policies at issue, a New York federal judge said Nov. 14 in rejecting an excess insurer's argument that the primary insurer's policies should be stacked (Hanover Insurance Co. v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-860, N.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160423).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey appellate panel on Nov. 13 vacated an emergency order entered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) allowing it to seize operations of a landfill due to its emissions of hydrogen sulfide, after finding that the agency first needed to obtain judicial approval under the Legacy Landfill Law (Strategic Environmental Partners LLC v. new Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, No. A-5283-12T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. LEXIS 152).
NEW YORK - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by a man who contends that he was injured as a result of exposure to hazardous chemicals while cleaning up the disaster site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on Nov. 13 partially granted and partially denied a motion by property owners seeking to dismiss the action, ruling that there was sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of fact regarding whether some defendants exercised "supervisory control" over the work (In Re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation [Waldemar Ropel, et al.] v. 233 Broadway Owners LLC, No. 12-mc-102, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160212).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the Court of Veterans Appeals on Nov. 14 ruled that a veteran is not entitled to benefits for alleged exposure to Agent Orange, but he remanded the case to the Board of Veterans Appeals because it incorrectly applied the law in reaching its decision (David Allen Pykiet v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 13-3372, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2014 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1915).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Nov. 14 reversed a trial judge's ruling finding that trespass and nuisance claims brought by residents who claim that they have suffered damages as a result of whiskey fungus caused by ethanol emissions from nearby distilleries are preempted by the Clean Air Act (CAA), ruling that the plaintiffs were not required to prove a lack of preemption (Bruce Merrick, et al. v. Brown-Forman Corp., et al., No. 2013-CA-002048-MR, Ky. App., 2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 178).
OTTAWA - A Canadian woman on Nov. 13 filed an application for leave to appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court a ruling by the Alberta Court of Appeals, which dismissed her lawsuit against a hydraulic fracturing company and the Canadian Energy Resources Conservation Board (CERCB) for alleged exposure to hazardous amounts of methane, ethane and other chemicals (Jessica Ernst v. The Energy Resources Conservation Board, et al., No. 14-36167, Canada Sup.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A water association's objections to two discovery rulings entered by a federal magistrate judge regarding privileged documents were overruled by a federal judge in Ohio on Nov. 12, after he found that the rulings were not erroneous or contrary to law (Little Hocking Water Association Inc. v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company, No. 09-cv-1081, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159313).