SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge has struck the affirmative defenses of a tobacco distributor sued for trade mark infringement, saying in a Dec. 5 opinion that the defendant had provided no factual underpinning for the defenses (Starbuzz Tobacco Inc. v. Fuad Naji Saeed, No. 3:13-cv-03837-SI, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171857).
NASSAU, N.Y. - A man's diagnosis with several allegedly asbestos-related diseases in 2009 makes his 2012 action untimely, but claims based on later diagnoses can proceed, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Dec. 5 (Charles Conforti Sr. and Janet Conforti v. County of Nassau, et al., No. 600858/13, N.Y. Sup., Nassau Co.; 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5591).
HARRISBURG - A unanimous Pennsylvania Superior Court panel issued an opinion Dec. 6 affirming summary judgment against the widow of a contractor employee who alleges that her late husband contracted cancer as a result of chemical exposure at a Rohm & Haas Co. facility in suburban Philadelphia; the testimony of her causation expert was properly excluded under Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 702, according to the panel (Anne Snizavich v. Rohm & Haas Co., No. 1383 EDA 2012, Pa. Super.).
PHILADELPHIA - Insufficient evidence exists to support the conclusion that a man suffered frequent, regular and proximate exposure to asbestos, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Dec. 3 in granting summary judgment to four companies (Jammie C. Tyndall, et al. v. Armstrong International Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 10-67428, E.D. Pa.).
ALEXANDRIA, La. - A Louisiana federal magistrate judge has granted summary judgment to claims stemming from a 2009 pipeline spill, saying in a Dec. 3 opinion that the plaintiffs had marshaled insufficient evidence for either personal injury or property damage claims (Cynthia Elliott Ayers, et al. v. ANR Pipeline Company, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00925, W.D. La.; Alexandria Div. 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171142).
PHILADELPHIA - The Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) extends over and preempts state law claims alleging exposure to asbestos-containing railcar brake shoes, the judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held Dec. 4 (Alice Perry, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 95-01996, E.D. Pa.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Dec. 4 denied summary judgment to the defendant in a construction defects action, determining that the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to show that the defendant was aware that it was selling homes built with defective materials (Robert T. Blough, et al. v. Shea Homes Inc., No. 2:12-cv-01493, W.D. Wash.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171182).
PHILADELPHIA - According to its docket, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 3 denied a couple's petition challenging a defense verdict in an asbestos action involving "improper trial tactics" accusations, an alternate juror's vote and a vacated judgment (George Webber and Tina Webber v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 399 EAL 2013, Pa. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A distributor of imported cigarettes may not claim tax deductions for unpaid obligations to the national tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), a U.S. Tax Court judge ruled Dec. 4, and is liable for back taxes totaling more than $38 million for the years 2004 and 2006 (Vidal Suriel v. Commissioner of IRS, 141 T.C. No. 16, U.S. Tax).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A New York federal judge denied a motor home maker's motion to preclude a purchaser's expert testimony in relation to her alleged mold exposure and injuries but found that her failure-to-warn claim should be dismissed (Karen L. Burnett v. Damon Corp., et. al., No. 5:10-CV-1336, N.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169367).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 2 granted BP Exploration and Production Inc.'s request for a further stay of payouts from its $7.8 billion settlement to resolve economic loss claims stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and ordered the federal judge in Louisiana presiding over the multidistrict litigation to examine how the claims administrator is determining causation (In re: Deepwater Horizon, Nos. 13-30315, 13-30329, 5th Cir.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A workers' compensation commission properly admitted the testimony of a veterinarian on the issue of animal studies in an asbestos-related esophageal cancer case, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held Dec. 3 (Paulette Smith Wise, executor of the estate of Harvey Smith v. Alcoa Inc., No. COA13-29, N.C. App.; 2013 N.C. App. LEXIS 1235).
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Dec. 3 dismissed a plaintiff company's lawsuit seeking cost recovery under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act after finding that the company could not bring the claim against the defendants because it did not conduct any cleanup work on its own accord but rather only because it entered into a consent decree with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) (Cyprus Amax Minerals Company v. TCI Pacific Communications Inc., et al., No. 11-CV-0252-JED-PJC, N.D. Okla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170148).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge has dismissed future pain and suffering and medical claims with the agreement of a seaman's widow who alleges that benzene exposure caused her husband's death from leukemia but in a Dec. 3 opinion said it was premature to dismiss her claim for future earnings and other damages (Jackson v. Murphy Exploration & Production Co., et al., No. 13-5864, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170076).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 3 affirmed a federal judge in Alabama's decision that a plaintiff in a Clean Water Act (CWA) suit failed to present sufficient evidence demonstrating that ground-clearing activities conducted by a city that owns a parcel of land that adjoins the plaintiff's caused flooding on the plaintiff's property (Woods Knoll LLC v. City of Lincoln, No. 13-10011, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 24064).
CLEVELAND - Sufficient evidence supports a jury's $2.6 million asbestos verdict, and a judge properly included a decedent's employers on the verdict sheet, an Ohio appeals court held Nov. 27 (Jeanine M. Fisher, executor of the estate of Joseph Bohazi v. Beazer East Inc., et al., No. 99662, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Nov. 26 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment, finding that an issue of fact exists as to whether an accidental plumbing leak that caused water and mold issues at a home also caused structural damage to the property (Jeff and Stacie Coder v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 12-2231, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167502).
LANSING, Mich. - A Michigan Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 26 reversed a trial court's order requiring the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment to pay $3.8 million in attorney fees and expert witness costs as a sanction for egregious conduct by its counsel, finding that it is unclear if the trial court ruled that the total hours billed by the defendant were reasonable (Department of Natural Resources and Environment, f/k/a Department of Environmental Quality v. Rexair Inc., No. 297663, Mich. App.; 2013 Mich. App. LEXIS 1955).
HONOLULU - Maritime law does not hold manufacturers liable for another manufacturer's replacement parts, and plaintiffs must present evidence of frequent, regular and proximate exposure for causation purposes, a Hawaii federal judge held Nov. 26 (Robert A. Cabasug and Joyce C. Cabasug v. Crane Co., et al., No. 12-313, D. Hawaii).
NEW YORK - A judge properly created a joint trial group consisting of three mechanics' asbestos actions alleging exposures overlapping a 40-year period, a New York appellate court held Nov. 26 (Esther Baruch, et al. v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., et al., Karl Fersch, et al. v. Amchem Products Inc., et al., Nos. 11176N, 190468/12, 190315/12, 190367/12, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2013 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7783).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on Nov. 26 entered a 60-day stay in a Clean Water Act (CWA) suit against the owner and operator of a floating oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico for the government to conduct a criminal investigation into the company's operation of the ATP Innovator (United States of America v. ATP Oil & Gas Corporation, et al., No. 13-0262, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168061).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Undistributed insurance proceeds are the property of a company dissolved more than 10 years ago, and a receiver must be appointed to defend against asbestos actions, the Delaware Supreme Court held Nov. 26 (Anderson v. Krafft-Murphy Co., No. 85,2013, Del. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21 held that an apartment complex owner sufficiently stated a claim under the Clean Water Act (CWA) based on how oil leaked from an underground storage tank on a nearby college campus to a navigable waterway of the United States but dismissed the plaintiff's claim under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), ruling that migration of oil from soil to groundwater does not constitute a discharge under the statute (Tri-Realty Company v. Ursinus College, No. 11-5885, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165471).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge on Nov. 21 entered a $12,125 judgment against RPI Co. in an asbestos action after a jury on Nov. 14 awarded a mesothelioma sufferer $730,000 and found the company 5 percent liable (Charles Aikins v. Plant Insulation Co., No. 276115, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Nov. 25 ruled on various motions pending in an action filed in relation to contracts for the construction of a townhouse development, including a decision to allow certain parties to file an amended complaint to add claims related to mold damage (White River Village LLP, et al., v. Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, et al., No. 08-cv-00248, D. Colo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167229).