NEW ORLEANS - A railroad's discovery that plaintiffs filed potentially deceptive asbestos claims against it did not put it on notice of fraudulent conduct by the attorneys, a divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 29 in affirming a $420,000 verdict (Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. William Guy; Thomas W. Brock, Nos. 11-60122, 10-61006, 5th Cir.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
NEW ORLEANS - In anticipation of the September fairness hearing to consider the certification of a settlement class and approval of a global settlement in the multidistrict Federal Emergency Management Agency formaldehyde trailer litigation consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, joint stipulations of settlement with contractor defendants and additional emergency housing unit manufacturers were filed May 29 (In re: FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde Products Liability Litigation, No. 07-1873, MDL 1873, E.D. La.). Subscribers may view the joint stipulation of contractor settlement, individual settlement sheets, joint memorandum and manufacturer settlement sheets available within the full update.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Evidence establishes the presence of asbestos-containing products at a man's workplace, but falls short of demonstrating his exposure to dust created by the use of those products, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held May 29 (Beverly Fisher, et al. v. J.A. Sexauer, Kentile Floors and Pecora Corp., No. 2486 EDA 2010, Pa. Super.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
SALT LAKE CITY - Chemical exposure personal injury claims prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah by two oil refinery workers are barred by the state workers' compensation act, and summary judgment for the employer is appropriate, the presiding judge ruled in an order entered May 25 (E. Lynn Hansen, et al. v. Chevron USA Inc., et al., No. 08-959, D. Utah; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73418).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 23 ordered a federal judge in New York to determine if the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) on Sept. 11, 2001, constituted an act of war that would allow defendants in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit to raise the defense against claims seeking reimbursement for cleanup costs (Cedar & Washington Associates LLC v. The Port Authority of New York, et al., No. 10-4197-CV, 2nd Cir.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A Connecticut jury on May 22 held an industry group liable for a man's exposure to asbestos and awarded his surviving family members $2,403,339 (Gail S. Acquarulo, Executrix of the Estate of Hannibal Saldibar et al. v. Tile Council of North America Inc., f/k/a Tile Council of America., No. CV095024498S, Conn. Super., Fairfield at Bridgeport Dist.). Subscribers may view the verdict sheet available within the full update.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An expert's testimony that "any exposure" to asbestos substantially contributes to mesothelioma irreparably conflicts with his testimony that mesothelioma is a dose-response disease, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held May 23 in finding that a judge properly held a hearing on the testimony and then excluded it (Diana K. Betz, et al. v. Pneumo Abex LLC, successor-in-interest to Abex Corp., et al., No. 38 WAP 2010, Pa. Sup.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
NEW ORLEANS - Parties in a massive litigation in Louisiana federal court involving buildings with allegedly defective Chinese drywall announced May 18 that a preliminary settlement agreement has been reached between the plaintiffs and hundreds of builders, installers, suppliers and their insurers (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, No. 2:09md02047, E.D. La.). Subscribers may view the settlement agreement available within the full update.
LOS ANGELES - A brake-grinding machine manufacturer cannot be held liable for a man's exposure to asbestos contained in brake pads he and others shaped with the machines, a divided California appeals court held May 22 (Fern Barker, et al. v. Hennessy Industries Inc., No. B232316, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 602).
NEW ORLEANS - An appeal by three environmental groups seeking to vacate an amended judgment that requires the U.S. government to act upon six offshore drilling permits within 30 days was dismissed by a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 22, after it found that the groups would not be harmed by the ruling because it applies only to the permits at issue in the underlying litigation (Ensco Offshore Company, et al. v. Kenneth Salazar, et al., No. 11-30491, 5th Cir.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After determining that a purchaser submitted enough evidence to show that injuries she sustained could reasonably have been caused by mold contamination in her mattress and that other claims asserted by the purchaser and her husband were not time-barred, a California federal judge on May 21 denied the mattress manufacturer's motion to dismiss (Sandra Graveline, et al. v. Select Comfort Retail Corp., No. 2:11-cv-01214, E.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70744).
NEWARK, N.J. - An attempt by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to recoup $500 million from Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. for abatement of asbestos property damage is not limited to just vinyl asbestos floor tile claims as G-I had argued but includes claims involving other asbestos-containing products, a New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge held May 17 in clarifying a previous ruling (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., (f/k/a GAF Corporation), Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy.; 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 2213). A complimentary copy of the opinion is attached below.
LOS ANGELES - New Jersey's statute of repose does not bar an asbestos suit against a premises owner, but an employer owes no duty of care to prevent household exposure to asbestos from its employees, a California appeals court held May 21 (Mary Campbell v. Ford Motor Co., No. B221322, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appeals court on May 18 reversed a trial court's decision to dismiss a man's negligence claims in relation to mold damage on behalf of his mother's estate, finding that the claim was filed within the relevant statute of limitations, but upheld dismissal of the majority of his claims (Arthur Deskos v. Shagoury Insurance Agency Inc., et al., No. 11-P-274, Mass. App.; 2012 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 634).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin appeals court on May 18 declined to reconsider its ruling allowing admission of invoices turned over by a company's lawyer that allegedly document the sale of asbestos-containing products (Cindy Horak, et al. v. Building Services Industrial Sales Co., Trane US Inc., F/D/B American Standard Inc., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and Owens Illinois Inc., No. 2011AP414, Wis. App., 1st Dist.). Subscribers may view the docket sheet available within the full update.
CHARLESTON. W.Va. - The judge presiding over a domestic water well contamination and personal injury lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia entered orders May 17 dismissing the claims against one natural gas extraction defendant because the parties reached a settlement and against a second defendant on a motion for summary judgment for failing to state a claim (Dennis Hagy, et al. v. Equitable Production Co., et al., No. 10-1372, S.D. W.Va.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69099).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 16 upheld a district court's decision to dismiss a complaint filed by a tenant against an insurer and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), finding that she disposed of crucial property that was allegedly damaged by mold and that she lacked standing to assert claims against HUD (Eleanor Capogrosso v. 30 River Court East Urban Renewal Co., et al., Nos. 10-3741 and 10-3742, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9835).
DOVER, Del. - A unanimous Delaware Supreme Court panel issued an opinion May 11 overturning a Delaware Superior Court order denying workers' compensation benefits because the claimant's due process rights were violated in a hearing before the Delaware Industrial Accident Board (Dwight W. Abrahams v. Chrysler Group, No. 519, 2011, Del. Sup.; 2012 Del. LEXIS 260).
NEW YORK - Witness testimony plainly indicates that a man's work with Crane Co. valves exposed him to asbestos, a New York justice held in an opinion posted May 15 (Eileen A. Romero, et al v. A.C.andS. Inc., et al., No. 113260/01, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2208).
MINEOLA, N.Y. - A man's testimony that he was exposed to asbestos in boilers that the alleged manufacturer claims it didn't make goes to the weight of the evidence and is best left to a jury, a New York justice held in an opinion posted May 15 (Charles Freudenberg and Patricia Fruedenberg v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 022649-2010, N.Y. Sup., Nassau Co.; 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2207).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A woman claiming household exposure to asbestos successfully alleges product nexus but may not proceed on claims arising from the use of replacement parts, a Delaware judge held May 14 (In re Asbestos Litigation: Anita Cosner Limited to: York International Corp., No. No. 10C-12-100 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
RALEIGH, N.C. - A unanimous North Carolina Court of Appeals panel on May 14 affirmed a decision of the North Carolina Industrial Commission to deny workers' compensation benefits to a worker who alleged occupational exposure to sodium hypochlorite because the worker had not met the increased-risk standard (Clayton Ray Harrell v. Palace Entertainment Holdings Inc., et al., No. 11-796, N.C. App.; 2012 N.C. App. LEXIS 641).
PHILADELPHIA - A procedural challenge to removal of a permethrin exposure product liability personal injury and property damage lawsuit was denied in an order entered May 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Steven Gucciardi, et uxor v. Lowe's Co. Inc., et al., No. 12-932, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67675).
NEW YORK - Chevron Corp. failed to attach the contingency fee of a New York attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio, Ecuador, in an order entered May 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and summary judgment in part was granted against the company in its suit to prevent the distribution of an $18 billion judgment in a related order also issued May 14 (Chevron Corp. v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.
ATLANTA - A federal judge in Georgia on May 11 granted the United States' motion to apply the 10-year North Carolina statute of repose to certain claims in the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., multidistrict litigation for alleged exposure to solvents and benzene in public water at the camp (In re: Camp Lejeune, N.C., Water Contamination Litigation, No. 11-2218, MDL 2218, N.D. Ga.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.