NEW ORLEANS - Motions to dismiss were granted in part April 1 in an well field legacy contamination lawsuit pursued by landowners in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana with leave to amend (Catherine P. Alford, et al. v. Chevron USA Inc., et al., No. 13-5457 [consolidated], E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44621).
SYDNEY, Australia - The State of New South Wales on April 1 announced that a government-supported study has resulted in the development of a social media program for sufferers of asbestos-related disease.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Property damage diminution of value claims based on stigma or threatened harm by plaintiffs in consolidated actions seeking to represent a class of Duncan, Okla., residents for alleged groundwater contamination by fugitive perchlorate from a rocket engine maintenance facility were dismissed March 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (Mitchell McCormick, et al. v. Halliburton Co., et al., No. 11-1272, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44348).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on March 31 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation finding that NL Industries Inc.'s claim for cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) is timely because a second phase of work to remove contamination from the Village of Depew, N.Y., Superfund site was a continuation of the initial remedial action (NL Industries Inc. v. ACF Industries, et al., No. 10-CV-89, W.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43979).
PITTSBURGH - The judge presiding over lawsuits alleging personal injury and property damage claims against the operator of a coal-fired electricity plant in western Pennsylvania entered orders March 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granting in part defense motions to exclude reports of experts designated by the plaintiffs to offer opinions about medical causation and the need for a health risk assessment (David Patrick, et al v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., et al., No. 08-1025, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43036; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43036).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals court on March 28 found that a trial court erred when it entered a verdict in favor of an apartment owner, which was contrary to a jury verdict in favor of a tenant, who alleged that her landlord failed to remediate mold in her apartment (Pamela Benford v. Everett Commons LLC, No. 1-13-0314, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div.; 2014 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 608).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A federal action alleging occupational and take-home asbestos exposure from a husband's clothing differs sufficiently from a state court action alleging take-home exposure from the decedent's father's clothing to avoid the abstention doctrine, a North Carolina federal judge held March 27 (Richard Eric Taylor, et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., No. 13-56, W.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40946).
ATLANTA - Dismissal of tobacco wrongful death claims on Florida's statute of limitations was affirmed March 31 by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which also affirmed the trial court's denial of remand (Franklin J. Burr, individually and as personal representative of the estate of Bernadeen L. Burr v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 12-15712-A, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5885).
PITTSBURGH - The judge presiding over lawsuits alleging personal injury and property damage claims against the operator of a coal-fired electricity plant in western Pennsylvania entered an order March 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granting in part motions to exclude the conclusions of experts designated by the parties to offer opinions about the effects of so-called white rain and black rain on property values in the putative class area (Michael Hartle, et uxor v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., No. 08-1019, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43033).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on March 31 certified a class of West Alton, Mo., residents within a quarter mile of a 1960s pipeline leak but said the plaintiffs had failed to show actual exposure to benzene or lead necessary to justify medical monitoring (Bruce Smith, et al. v. ConocoPhillips Pipe Line Company, No. 4:11-CV-2040, E.D. Mo., Eastern Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43172).
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on March 31 announced that an English magistrates' court has fined a demolition firm for completing asbestos removal without a required license and for possibly exposing workers to asbestos.
LONDON - After a prosecution, the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on March 31 announced that an English magistrates' court has fined a property developer for exposing employees to asbestos.
NEW ORLEANS - Despite the cumulative injuries caused by asbestos exposure, it would be illogical to hold a defendant to a standard that applied before any exposure to its products, a Louisiana federal judge held March 27 (Douglas L. Hayes v. Asbestos Corp. LTD, et al., No. 13-2392, W.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42400).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey court on March 27 affirmed a trial court's decision granting summary judgment in favor of a township and homeowners, finding that a resident failed to show that work completed by her neighbors caused mold damage to her house and that the township acted unreasonably (Claudia Elliot v. Mister Mold LLC, et al., No. A-1215-12T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 668).
LOS ANGELES - A unanimous California Second District Court of Appeal, Division Two, panel affirmed in a March 27 opinion that the California statute of limitations bars dibromochloropropane personal injury claims filed in 2011 by Philippine banana field workers (Roque Garcia Macasa Jr. v. Dole Food Co. Inc., et al., No. B245138, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2175).
NEW YORK - After determining that a tenant failed to show that mold exposure in her apartment caused her to suffer injuries, the New York Court of Appeals on March 27 reversed a decision that allowed her complaint against the owner of the building to proceed (Brenda Cornell v. 360 West 51st Street Realty LLC, et al., No. 16, N.Y. App.; 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 576).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on March 28 awarded more approximately $1.1 million to the husband of a woman who died in of lung cancer in 1998 (John Sammarco v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. CACE08022603, Fla. Cir., 17th Judicial Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - Based on testimony and scientific evidence presented at trial, a Louisiana appeals court on March 26 affirmed a trial court's decision to award damages to numerous plaintiffs who claimed that mold exposure in a parish building caused them to sustain injuries (Brenda C. Reddoch, et al. v. The Parish of Plaquemines, et al., No. 2013-CA-0788, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2014 La. App. LEXIS 832).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing claims stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on March 25 granted class counsel's request to preserve the confidentiality of claimant information; a request for proceeds from the $9.2 billion settlement program is pending (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.).
ATLANTA - Two employees lack standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution to bring claims against their employer over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA) and other environmental law, a federal judge in Georgia ruled March 27, because their complaint fails to allege an injury-in-fact (Liviu Porta, et al. v. Jacobson Companies Inc., et al., No. 13-cv-00387-WSD, N.D. Ga.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40693).
AUSTIN, Texas - In an opinion of first impression entered March 28 arising from a natural gas operating agreement dispute, a unanimous Texas Supreme Court ruled that postjudgment interest accrues from the final judgment date in the trial court unless an appellate court renders a judgment the trial court should have rendered; if, on remand, the trial court determines it must reopen the record to render the proper judgment, postjudgment interest accrues from the date of the subsequent judgment (Larry T. Long, et al. v. Castle Texas Production Limited Partnership, No. 11-161, Texas Sup.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Natural gas extraction companies sued in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for allegedly underpaying natural gas royalties, contaminating groundwater and violating the terms of a mineral lease were denied a motion March 26 to strike supplement reports and affidavits of experts designated by the plaintiffs to offer opinions with respect to natural gas extraction, natural gas royalties and the effects of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater (Nolan Scott Ely, et al. v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, et al., No. 09-2284, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40930; See 8/20/13, Page 34).
SAN FRANCISCO - The State of Michigan has little interest in seeing its ban on punitive damages imposed on a California asbestos action, a California appeals panel held March 26 in also rejecting a sophisticated user defense and other challenges to a $6.8 million award (Patrick Scott, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., No. A137975, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on March 27 signed legislation requiring that plaintiffs disclose asbestos personal injury trust submissions before proceeding to trial and providing liable defendants with offsets for plaintiffs' recoveries from those trusts.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Plaintiffs sufficiently allege that an asbestos gasket company availed itself of North Carolina markets to meet their prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction, a federal judge held March 26 (Carolyn M. Young, et al. v. AGCO Corp., et al., No. 13-54, W.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40092).