WHEELING, W.Va. - Both a railroad's claims that lawyers fraudulently filed asbestos actions against it and the lawyers' counterclaims accusing the railroad of fraud may proceed, a West Virginia federal judge held Nov. 26 (CSX Transportation Inc. v. Robert V. Gilkison, et al., No. 05-202, N.D. W.Va.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167811).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Plaintiffs divided jury awards among liable parties and accepted settlements as final payments and cannot reopen their cases for additional recovery from an asbestos bankruptcy trust, a Maryland appeals court held Nov. 26 (Charles T. Brannan Jr., et al. v. Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust, No. 2287 September Term, 2008, Md. Spec. App.; 2012 Md. App. LEXIS 132).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 27 released the language tobacco companies will be required to include in corrective statements in newspaper and television advertisements, on their websites and in cigarette packaging to counteract what the judge found to be decades of deceptive advertising about the health risks of tobacco (U.S.A. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 1:99-cv-2496, D. D.C.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Nov. 21 ceased transfer of asbestos cases from seven jurisdictions, adopting a suggestion the judge overseeing the litigation made in October (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Various plaintiffs v. Various defendants, No. MDL 875, E.D. Pa.).
BRIDGEPORT, R.I. - Four defendants demonstrate that the U.S. Navy exerted sufficiently precise control over warnings, a federal Rhode Island judge held Nov. 20 in a memorandum and order denying a motion to remand (Roy Edward Shepherd and Shirley Shepherd v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 12-143, D. R.I.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166735).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 26 again refused to consider a petition by tobacco companies arguing that preclusive provisions in a landmark Florida tobacco ruling violate their due process rights in individual trials (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Liggett Group LLC v. Finna Clay, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Janie Mae Clay, No. 12-272, U.S. Sup.).
ELGIN, Ill - A judge properly granted a motion for summary judgment on the issue of exposure after a previous judge denied a similar motion challenging causation, an Illinois appeals court held Nov. 21 in an asbestos case (Vernon Nelson and John Q. Nelson, et al v. Plastics Engineering Co., et al., No 2-11-1319, Ill. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK - United Continental Holdings Inc. and United Airlines Inc. do not owe a duty of care to the lessee of 7 World Trade Center, a New York federal judge ruled Nov. 21, granting the airline's motion for summary judgment in the lessee's lawsuit seeking recovery for the destruction of Tower 7 during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (In Re September 11 Litigation, Nos. 21 MC 101, S.D. N.Y.).
HAYWARD, Calif. - An Alameda County, Calif., jury on Nov. 19 awarded a couple $6.8 million for the husband's mesothelioma arising from exposure to asbestos in Ford Motor Co. vehicles, for which it held the company 22 percent liable (Patrick Scott and Sharon Scott v. Allied Packing & Supply Inc., et al., No. RG12613671, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Defendant companies in a suit brought in New Jersey federal court by the U.S. government under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 9601, on Nov. 16 agreed to pay $4.5 million to help remediate contamination at the Quanta Resources Corp. Superfund site (United States of America v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-7091, D. N.J.).
SEATTLE - The evidence does not eliminate the possibility that original, asbestos-containing parts remained on products when a man worked on them, a Washington federal judge held in denying summary judgment to three companies on Nov. 19 (Roland L. Stevens and Shirley J. Stevens v. CBS Corp., No. 11-6073, W.D. Wash.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165121).
LAKE CHARLES, La. - A unanimous Third Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal panel on Nov. 20 affirmed a verdict for a gas and oil drilling mud provider accused by the owner of a Vermilion Parish, La., parcel of land it leases with violating the terms of the commercial land lease and contaminating the parcel with human carcinogens (Marcus Broussard Jr., et. al v. Martin Operating Partnership, et al., No. 11-1559, La. App., 3rd Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A unanimous Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 20 affirmed an order barring Graniteville, S.C., residents from pursuing personal injury and property damage claims against Norfolk Southern Railway Co. because class settlement opt-out notices were not timely filed; the panel vacated an award of attorney fees to Norfolk Southern from the plaintiffs' attorney (Darryl Mckenzie, et al. v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 10-1829 [consolidated], 4th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A woman cannot seek a new trial on liability after not lodging objections to a verdict finding no exposure to John Crane Inc. products but also finding the products responsible for the decedent's mesothelioma, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Nov. 20 (Margaret Shelhamer, et al. v. John Crane Inc., et al., No. 586 EDA 2011, Pa. Super.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware state jury on Nov. 15 determined that excess insurers owe coverage to their insured for underlying asbestos bodily injury suits (Viking Pump Inc., et al. v. Century Indemnity Co., et al., No 10C-06-141, Del. Super., New Castle Co.). View related prior history, 2012 Del. Super. LEXIS 473.
BALTIMORE - A defendant offers only conclusory statements in support of its argument that asbestos plaintiffs' discovery request is overly broad, a Maryland federal judge held Nov. 16 in denying it a protective order (Dorothy A. Letcher, et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., et al., No. 12-3051, D. Md.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163864).
GREEN BAY, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Nov. 16 granted the federal government's motion to dismiss affirmative defenses raised by defendant companies in an action brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 9601, after finding that the government does not need to prove that the terms of a 2007 unilateral administrative order (UAO) are within the public interest and consistent with the equities of the case (United States of America, et al. v. NCR Corporation, et al., No. 10-C-910, E.D. Wis.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164145).
PHILADELPHIA - Untimely interrogatory responses raise the potential for prejudice; however, a trial judge considering the actual impact of the evidence is in the best position to consider its exclusion, a magistrate judge in the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held Nov. 16 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI) Ferguson v. A.C. AND S. Inc., as well as other cases (all CVLO cases), No. MDL 875, 08-90234, E.D. Pa.).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 16 vacated a $9.3 million award in an asbestos case, finding that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting expert testimony without an admissibility hearing or making any reliability findings (Henry and Geraldine Barabin v. RSL AstenJohnson Inc. and Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc., Nos. 10-36142, 11-35020, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 23528).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court on Nov. 14 affirmed a decision to dismiss a homeowner's lawsuit in which she alleged that a company sold her a house that contained numerous defects, including mold, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering sanctions and granting summary adjudication for the company (Pamela Nicholson v. Centex Homes, No. B234233, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8318).
NEW ORLEANS - A unanimous Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal panel issued an opinion Nov. 16 reversing summary judgment for the defendants in a fee dispute among attorneys who represented the plaintiffs in a naturally occurring radioactive material class action (Robert L. Manard III, et al. v. Falcon Law Firm, et al., No. 12-147, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 1497).
GRETNA, La. - Survivors' wrongful death claim arose at the time of death, not when a man suffered his asbestos exposure, shielding executives of a shipyard from liability under post-1976 amendments to state law, a Louisiana appeals court held Nov. 13 (Mildred M. Bougere, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al., No. 12-CA-181, La. App., 5th Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 1470).
JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi appeals court on Nov. 13 affirmed a ruling that refused to compel arbitration of certain claims asserted by the purchasers of a home that allegedly contained defects but found that their infliction of emotional distress and misrepresentation claims were subject to arbitration (Noble Real Estate Inc. v. Robert C. Seder, et al., No. 2011-CA-00838., Miss. App.; 2012 Miss. App. LEXIS 694).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Nov. 15 awarded summary judgment to Zurich American Insurance Co. after finding that it was not required to reimburse a gasoline service station for money it spent reinstalling product lines and repairing the property after it remediated contamination caused by a discharge from an underground storage tank (H&M Petro Mart Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 11-13140, E.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163205).
UTICA, N.Y. - Dozens of mineral estate owners who sued Chesapeake Appalachia and Statoilhydro USA Onshore Properties Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York were granted a declaration Nov. 15 that certain oil and natural gas leases between the parties had expired and that the moratorium on horizontal drilling issued in July 2008 by the governor is not grounds for the companies to declare the leases extended (Douglas Aukema, et al. v. Cheaspeake Appalachia, et al., No. 11-489, N.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163175).