ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on July 27 denied motions to intervene by parties in an underlying toxic exposure case but will allow the parties to submit amicus curiae briefs in the insurance coverage suit (United Fire & Casualty Co. v. Titan Contractor Service Inc., No. 10-2076, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104908).
NEW CASTLE, Del. - A Delaware jury on July 27 awarded $2.86 million to the family of a man who died from mesothelioma that he contracted by working with talc power contaminated with asbestos (In re Asbestos Litigation, Michael Galliher v. RT Vanderbilt, No. 10C-10-315, Del. Super., New Castle Co.). Subscribers may view the verdict slip available within the full Mealey's article.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge's continued jurisdiction over a 13-year-old racketeering case against Big Tobacco stemming from the companies' concealment of the risks of tobacco use was affirmed July 27 by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (United States of America v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., et al., No. 11-5145, D.C. App.).
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PHILADELPHIA - A bankruptcy court has the authority to determine at the disclosure statement stage that a Chapter 11 reorganization plan is unconfirmable without first holding a confirmation hearing if it is obvious that the plan is patently unconfirmable, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 25, finding that a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court did not err in converting Skinner Engine Co.'s Chapter 11 case to Chapter 7 because Skinner's reorganization plan was patently unconfirmable (In re: American Capital Equipment, et al., In re: American Capital Equipment, et al., Nos. 10-2239, 10-2240, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15333).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 24 refused to vacate a summary judgment award to BNSF Railway Co. after finding that a federal judge in Minnesota did not err in finding that costs for additional cleanup of a Superfund site by a development and restoration company were not recoverable under the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act (MERLA) Minn. Stat. § 115B.01 (State of Minnesota, ex rel. v. BNSF Railway Company, Nos. 11-3103, 3139, 8th Cir.). Prior history, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15195.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Saying a 2007 amendment to state law governing tobacco sales to minors addresses due process concerns by creating a rebuttable presumption of negligence when an employee is found guilty of such sales, the Alaska Supreme Court on July 20 affirmed a lower court's decision to fine a tobacco seller and temporarily suspend its state licenses (Holiday Alaska, Inc. v. State of Alaska, No. S-14155, Alaska Sup.; 2012 Alas. LEXIS 100).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A recent court ruling that further defines when a claim arises in bankruptcy does not constitute an exceptional circumstance warranting relief from confirmation of W.R. Grace & Co.'s Chapter 11 reorganization plan sought by a property damage claimant, a federal judge in Delaware held July 23 ((In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al. [Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al. v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al.],), No. 11-199, D. Del.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101837).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A notice of pending dismissal and an order dismissing the case were the final orders from which a widow could appeal, the Delaware Supreme Court held July 19 in dismissing her action as untimely (Elizabeth Plummer, et al. v. R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc., No. 482,2011, Del. Sup.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
LONDON - An England and Wales appeals court on July 20 dismissed an American company's appeal of a ruling that refused to set aside an action filed against them in England by an insurer that claims it is not liable to the company in relation to coverage for asbestos-related claims, finding that England was the proper forum (Faraday Reinsurance Co. Limited v. Howden North America Inc. & Anr., No. (2012) EWCA Civ 980, England and Wales App.).
HOUSTON - Texas rules requiring asbestos plaintiffs to file expert diagnosing reports within 90 days or face dismissal impose an unfair burden on Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) 45 U.S.C.S. § 51 et seq..claimants, a divided Texas appeals panel held July 19 (The Kansas City Southern Railway Co. v. Ronald K. Oney, et al., No. 14-11-815-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 23 affirmed an Illinois federal court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a state department, finding that a former employee failed to show that he was retaliated against for complaining about mold, water leaks and other conditions in various state-owned buildings (James Foster v. Carol Adams, et al., No. 11-1468, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15048).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The first amended complaint of an automobile painter who alleges that he developed acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) from exposure to benzene in paint products provides sufficient specificity for a defendant to prepare a defense, a Delaware judge ruled July 19 (Robert Lee Rose, et ux. v. 3M Company, et al., No. N11C-08-102 BEN, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2012 Del. Super. LEXIS 338).
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on July 23 announced that an English magistrates' court fined a tour operator and a ship management company after it exposed employees to asbestos on a cruise ship.
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on July 13 announced that a school and a company director were fined after the unsafe removal of asbestos insulation boards.
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on July 13 denied a motion for certification of a putative class action filed by the owner of a time-share that allegedly contained water leaks and mold, finding that individual issues predominated over the common issues of the proposed class (Hermengildo ("Jay") Martinez, on his own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. The Welk Group, et al., No. 09-2883, S.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the decision available within the full article.
NEW ORLEANS - A ruling affirming a $420,000 verdict against plaintiffs' lawyers for filing deceptive asbestos claims against a railroad stands after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 16 denied rehearing (Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. William Guy; Thomas W. Brock, Nos. 11-60122, 10-61006, 5th Cir.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
NEW ORLEANS - The plaintiffs who filed class action lawsuits against a paper mill operator in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Louisiana for releasing waste in August 2011 into the Pearl River did not meet their burden to reconsider the order dismissing punitive damages under general maritime law, presiding Judge Lance M. Africk concluded in an order entered July 16 (Terral Evans, et al. v. TIN Inc., No. 11-2067 (consolidated), E.D. La.).
PERTH, Australia - An Australian justice on July 12 granted an application filed by a man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after asbestos exposure as a child for an increased verdict amount to account for his future care but denied his request for payment of indemnity costs (Lowes v. Amaca Pty Ltd. (formerly James Hardie & Co. Pty Ltd.) (2011), WASC, Western Australia Sup.). Subscribers may view the judgment available within the full article.
NEW YORK - A company's purchase of substantially all of an asbestos-containing valve company's assets creates sufficient questions regarding whether the purchase constituted a de facto merger, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 12 (Robert N. Wexler and Betsy Wexler v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., No. 190223/11, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3233).
JACKSON, Miss. - Without entirely foreclosing on the idea that he would rule on asbestos experts' summary judgment motions in an action challenging the legitimacy of their opinions, a federal judge found dismissal of the action "proper and valid," according to a July 12 minute entry on the docket (National Service Industries Inc., f/d/b/a North Inc. v. Jay T. Segarra, M.D., et al., No. 09-83, S.D Miss.).
CHICAGO - A municipality did not violate a smoke shop's due process rights in denying it a business license because the owner knew what was required to maintain licensing but failed to comply, an Illinois federal judge said July 9 (Asma Saad and Tobacco House Inc., d/b/a Belicoso Cigar Lounge v. Village of Orland Park, No. 11-cv-7419, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94093).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The jury in the Merced County, Calif., hexavalent chromium contamination-related flood damage claims trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California was dismissed July 10 because the parties presented the court with a settlement; the details were not disclosed (Raul Valencia Abarca, et al. v. Merck & Co., et al., No. 07-388, E.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - New York City's law mandating point-of-sale warning posters where tobacco products are sold violates the preemptive language in the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said July 10 (23-34 94th St. Grocery Corp, et al. v. New York City Board Of Health, et al., No. 11-91, 2nd Cir.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on July 9 announced that it had reached a $14.6 million settlement with four companies to clean up groundwater contaminated with the pesticide DDT and synthetic rubber at two Superfund sites in Torrance, Calif. (United States of America v. Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, et al, No. 90-cv-03122, C.D. Calif.). Subscribers may view the proposed consent decree available within the full article.
CINCINNATI - The attorneys for some plaintiffs seeking medical monitoring from Chevron USA Inc. for exposure to hydrocarbon waste in the groundwater near a shuttered southern Ohio refinery were ordered July 9 to pay the defendant $250,000 for pursuing a frivolous claim; Chevron sought $1 million in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio litigation (Carolyn Baker, et al. v. Chevron USA Inc., et al., No. 05-227, S.D. Ohio). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.