ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota appeals court on June 25 affirmed a trial court's decision granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer, finding that homeowners that sought coverage for damage caused by a vapor barrier failed to show that their losses were not excluded from the coverage available under the policy (Jerome Koskovich, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. A11-2206, Minn. App.; 2012 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 581).
INDIANAPOLIS - The lack of any discovery in an asbestos case stayed under local rules renders it impossible to determine whether a contractor's work constituted improvement to real property for purposes of the state's statute of repose, the Indiana Supreme Court held June 25 (Sharon Gill, et al. v. Evansville Sheet Metal Works Inc., No. 49S05-1111-CV-672, Ind. Sup.; 2012 Ind. LEXIS 473).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A unanimous Missouri Western District Court of Appeals panel overturned in part a jury award against the operators of a hog confined animal feeding operation in an opinion issued June 26; the panel reduced the $1.75 million award to reflect settlements with defendants who settled with plaintiffs before trial (Zach McGuire, et al. v. Kenoma, et al., No. WD74022, Mo. App., W. Dist.; 2012 Mo. App. LEXIS 865).
TOLEDO, Ohio - An Ohio state appeals court on June 22 found that face masks are "equipment safety guards" under state law and that a defendant's failure to make them available to a silicosis plaintiff can constitute the defendant's intent to injure the worker/plaintiff (Thomas H. Beyer, et al. v. Rieter Automotive North American, Inc., et al., No. L-11-1110, Ohio App., 6th Dist., Lucas Co.; 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 2464).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion overturning a $926 million judgment for continuing trespass and nuisance claims alleging plutonium contamination around the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant in Colorado ( Merilyn Cook, et al. v. Rockwell International Corp., et al. (consolidated) No. 10-1377, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for a writ of certiorari June 25 filed by radiation remediation workers for review of a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion affirming a no-evidence summary judgment dismissing personal injury claims under the Price-Anderson Act (Dominic Cotroneo, et al. v. Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Inc., et al., No. 11-71, U.S. Sup.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A defendant in an asbestos case waived any argument supporting summary judgment it seeks to add to its reply brief when it failed to raise the argument in its opening brief, a Delaware judge held June 22 in denying a motion to amend (In re Asbestos Litigation Ernest Vala, Limited to Eaton Cutler-Hammer, No. 11C-04-203 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.). Subscribers may view the letter available within the full Mealey's article.
NEW YORK - A man who recalls working on asbestos-containing electric pumps during his time in the U.S. Navy when his own evidence indicates that the ship's pumps were diesel driven fails to overcome the manufacturer's prima facie showing, a New York justice held in an opinion posted June 21 (Marian Bickel, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 1903110/10, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CHICAGO - After finding that a disclaimer of the implied warranty of habitability applied only to an agreement between the seller of condominium units that contained mold growth and the individual unit owners, an Illinois appeals court on June 21 reversed a trial court's decision granting a motion to dismiss a condo association's complaint against a contractor and subcontractor (1324 W. Pratt Condominium Association v. Platt Construction Group Inc., No. 1-11-1474, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div.; 2012 IL App. $(1st$) LEXIS 111474).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A unanimous District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel issued an opinion June 22 affirming the dismissal of actions filed by attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio, Ecuador, personal injury litigation for declaratory judgments against Chevron Corp. and its attorneys for tortious interference and for declining a waiver to allow the plaintiffs' attorneys to appear in discovery disputes (Patton Boggs v. Chevron Corp., No. 11-7082 (consolidated), D.C. Cir.).
Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
HOUSTON - A defense motion to dismiss the corporate parent of a metal fabricator accused in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas of birth defect personal injuries for releasing chlorinated solvents and other toxicants into the air, soil and water was dismissed June 22, and the presiding judge instructed that the question of piercing the corporate veil will be the subject of a summary judgment discovery schedule issued at the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16 conference in August (Kathy Williams, et vir v. ELG Ireland Alloys Inc., et al., No. 12-853, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86881).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two federal workplace safety agencies on June 21 issued a hazard alert about worker exposure to silica in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) after air samples at 116 sites found concentrations of up to 100 times the permitted or recommended limits ("OSHA-NIOSH Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Silica during Hydraulic Fracturing," OSHA). Review a copy of the OSHA Hazard Alert attached below.
LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles jury on June 19 hit defendant Union Carbide Corp. with $18 million in punitive damages after holding it and nine other companies liable for $30 million in compensatory damages on June 14 for a man's mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Izel, et al. v Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. BC469931, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WHEELING, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on June 20 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss a claim for breach of fiduciary duty asserted by homeowners who alleged that their house became contaminated with mold as a result of the insurer's failure to honor an insurance policy, finding that the state does not expressly recognize a fiduciary relationship between insureds and insurers (Michael D. Brunner, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, d/b/a State Farm Insurance Companies, No. 5:11CV40, N.D. W.Va.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85447).
SAN FRANCISCO - Summary judgment was granted June 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to a Mendocino County, Calif., coroner in a lawsuit brought by the parents of a child who allegedly died from exposure to hexavalent chromium from the Willits, Calif., Remco Industries site; the plaintiffs alleged that the coroner denied them access to the courts to pursue the wrongful death claims against the owners of the Remco Industries site (John Hernandez, et al. v. Kevin Broin, et al., No. 11-2397, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84830).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana appeals court on June 20 affirmed a trial court's evidentiary ruling and a jury's decision to deny homeowners, who alleged that defects in their home caused mold, damages for a delay in the construction of the house, finding that the exclusion of new evidence did not affect the outcome of the case and that they suffered no loss caused by the delay (Won Suk Lee, M.D. v. Holyfield Construction Inc., No. 47,204-CA, La. App., 2nd Dist.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 875).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge overseeing Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC's Chapter 11 case on June 19 denied a request by personal injury claimants to compel Garlock to produce documents containing information on settlements the company made with claimants in the decade before it filed for bankruptcy protection (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full article.
MIAMI - A trial judge improperly applied the Restatement (Second) of Torts, a Florida appeals court held June 20 in reversing a $6.6 million verdict against an asbestos-fiber supplier (Union Carbide Corp. v. William P. Aubin, No. 3D10-1982, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
NEW ORLEANS - A unanimous Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel issued a per curiam opinion June 20 reversing a no-evidence summary judgment in an occupational hydrochloric acid personal injury lawsuit; one of the panel members dissented on the issue of excluding the plaintiff's causation opinions (Gregory Scott Johnson v. Arkema Inc., No. 11-50193, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12552).
NEW YORK - Pfizer Inc., the parent of bankrupt asbestos defendant Quigley Co. Inc., on June 18 asked the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to stay its mandate of a ruling allowing state court asbestos personal injury suits to proceed against Pfizer so the parent can pursue a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court (In re Quigley Company, Inc. $(Pfizer Inc. and Quigley Company, Inc., v. Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, Nos. 11-2635, 11-2767$), 2nd Cir.). Subscribers may view the motion to stay mandate available within the full article.
LIBERTY, Mo. - A Missouri appeals court on June 19 relieved a ceiling tile manufacturer of liability for a man's mesothelioma but said that on retrial, a jury must apply its portion of the fault to the other two defendants (Lois J. Wagner, Robin G. Wagner and Wende L. Wagner v. Bondex International, et al., Nos. WD72474, WD72619, Mo. App.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.
LEXINGTON. Ky. - The claims of the last plaintiff in a mass tort against the operators of the National Electric Coil plant in Harlan County, Ky., were dismissed and judgment was entered for the defendants June 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky because the plaintiff failed to adduce specific causation evidence in support of her wrongful death claims (Charles W. Adams Jr., et al. v. Cooper Industries Inc., et al., No. 03-476, E.D. Ky.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84742).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina appeals court on June 19 affirmed a trial judge's decision to affirm a summary ejectment order made against two tenants who stopped paying rent after a mold discovery, finding that there was enough evidence to show that a tenant and landlord relationship existed between the parties (Edith Raether v. GCO Energy Corp., et al., No. COA12-86, N.C. App.; 2012 N.C. App. LEXIS 750).
PHILADELPHIA - A plaintiff's blanket emails responding to defendants' objections to deposition notices fail to address any of their concerns and do not satisfy the requirement that counsel meet and confer over disagreements, a magistrate judge in the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held June 14 (In re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. IV), Sunsoon Doucet v. Asbestos Corp., LTD., et al., No. 11-67223, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83168).
SAN DIEGO - A tobacco company's removal alleging fraudulent joinder interrupted ongoing discovery that could provide support for a man's well-pleaded asbestos claims, a California federal judge held in an opinion filed June 14 (Dimitris O. Couscouris, et al. v. Hatch Grinding Wheels Inc., et al., No. 12-04464, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82980).