MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A natural gas field waste hauler named in a class action alleging property damage and personal injuries is ineligible for a defense or indemnification from the insurance company that provides its general commercial liability and umbrella policies, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma judge ruled Oct. 16 in a declaratory judgment action brought by the insurer (Star Insurance Co. v. Bear Productions Inc., No. 12-149, E.D. Okla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148559).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Saying his previous dismissal of benzene injury claims was based on an erroneous analysis of how the state Supreme Court would have ruled, thereby changing the "legal landscape," a Missouri federal judge on Oct. 15 denied a motion for summary judgment based on collateral estoppel (Michelle K. Ideker v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 4:13-cv-00248, W.D. Mo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147927).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Oct. 15 said a corporation's claims that moisture in pallets caused mold growth to spread to a product display could proceed, finding that the court could not make a determination yet as to whether the corporation's circumstantial evidence is sufficient to prove causation without expert testimony until it hears conflicting evidence (NBTY Inc., et al. v. Southwest Forest Products Inc., et al., No. 12-00872, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148398).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A unanimous Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Oct. 15 affirmed denial of workers' compensation survivor benefits to the widow of a Rohm & Haas Co. research scientist who died of brain cancer because the claim is barred by the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act statute of repose (Kuo-Hom Hsu v. Rohm & Haas Co., No. 328 CD 2013, Pa. Cmwlth; 2013 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 758).
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on Oct. 14 said an English magistrates' court has fined a glass firm for potentially exposing about 200 workers and visitors to asbestos.
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on Oct. 10 announced that an English magistrates' court fined an asbestos expert after workers were exposed to asbestos at a college.
NEW YORK - Coworker testimony creates the possibility of exposure to asbestos in original valve parts, and evidence of work with larger valves invalidates evidence focused on smaller valves, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Oct. 10 (David Kelly, as executor of the estate of David L. Kelly v. Airco Welders Supply, et al., No. 105643/08, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A federal judge in Arkansas on Oct. 10 granted the federal government's request to stay proceedings in its lawsuit against ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. over damages caused by the rupture of the Pegasus Pipeline in Mayflower, Ark, on March 29 in light of the government shutdown (United States of America v. ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, et al., No. 13-cv-00355-JMM, E.D. Ark.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S Supreme Court on Oct. 15 granted petitions for writs of certiorari in six cases involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gases but limited the question as to whether the agency properly found that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered its permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1146, American Chemistry Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1248, Energy-Intensive Manufacturers Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Regulation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1254, Southeastern Legal Foundation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1268, Texas, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1269, Chamber of Commerce v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-1272, U.S. Sup.).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Testimony vaguely identifying a brand of insulation does not establish its presence "all over" a ship, nor do a man's alleged travels aboard the ship, an Illinois appeals court held Oct. 11 (Virginia Bowles, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 4-12-1072, Ill. App., 4th Dist.; 2013 Ill. App. LEXIS 718).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Susquehanna County, Pa., residents seeking to recover in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for alleged contamination of their residential well water with hydraulic fracturing chemicals were granted access on Oct. 11 to seismic data and open hole logs from a natural gas extraction company defendant and a contractor for the defendant that is a nonparty in the litigation (Susan Berish, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., et al., No. 10-1981, M.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147318).
OAKLAND, Calif. - The judge presiding over the certified class action pursued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of some 100,000 veterans exposed to biological and chemical agents during experiments conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense, Army and Central Intelligence Agency since World War I filed notice Oct. 11 of an intended order, injunction and judgment ordering the Army to warn the individuals who were test subjects while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces of the risks resulting from exposure to chemical and biological agents; the defendants will be granted judgment on the claims that the departments of Defense and Army, rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs, are liable for providing the veterans with medical care (Vietnam Veterans of America, et al. v. Central Intelligence Agency, et al., No. 09-37, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - A coworker's failure to identify when, where or how often he worked with another man dooms asbestos-related lung cancer claims, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Oct. 10 (Joan M. Nolan, individually and as Administratrix for the Estate of Thomas Robert Nolan Sr. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., No. 108180/06, N.Y. Sup.).
PERTH, Australia - An Australian justice on Oct. 10 refused to set aside orders convicting a property owner of various violations in relation to asbestos, finding that fines imposed by a lower court were not unreasonable (Stewart v. City of Belmont, No. $(2013$) WASC 366, Western Australia Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 10 denied a petition for appeal challenging a lower court's admission of "each and every" exposure testimony in a welding rod case when other evidence of causation also exists (Michelle Wolfinger, administratrix of the estate of Robert Wolfinger v. 20th Century Glove Corp. of Texas, et al., No. 283 EAL 2013, Pa. Sup.).
HOUSTON - The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Oct. 10 on the constitutionality of the state's law governing pulmonary function testing requirements in asbestos cases and whether a 40-year-old test satisfies the statute (Union Carbide Corp. v. Daisy E. Synatzske and Grace Annette Webb, et al., No. 12-0617, Texas Sup.).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A federal judge in Alaska did not abuse his discretion when denying a motion brought by three environmental groups seeking to enjoin construction of a rail extension project, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 7, finding that the judge did not err in holding that the groups' alternative plan has already been found infeasible and significantly raises project costs (Cook Inletkeeper, et al v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 13-35101, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20432).
GREEN BAY, Wis. - The use of the term "damages" rather than "damage" in an exclusion to the Wisconsin statute of limitations implicates economic injury, not asbestos exposure, a federal judge held Oct. 4 in reconsidering an earlier decision (Beverly Anderson, et al. v. The Proctor & Gamble Paper Products Co., No. 11-61, E.D. Wis.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144739).
BALTIMORE - A natural gas pipeline company was granted declaratory judgment on Oct. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to the effect that local zoning ordinances and laws are preempted by the federal Natural Gas Act unless the local regulations are implemented under reserved powers in federal air and water quality statutes; the company was denied a permanent injunction against enforcement of the local regulations because it did not demonstrate an imminent threat, according to the presiding judge (Dominion Transmission Inc. v. Town of Myersville Town Council, et al., No. 13-338, D. Md.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144456).
RICHMOND, Va. - A unanimous Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed summary judgment on Oct. 8 for natural gas extraction companies accused by West Virginia property owners of contaminating a domestic water well (Dennis Hagy, et al. v. Equitable Production Co., et al., No. 12-1926, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20478).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Oct. 8 dismissed a plaintiff company's claims brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) seeking to require defendants to investigate and remediate perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination at a site it leased to them, finding that the plaintiff's entry into a consent order with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) rendered the claims moot (Stratford Holding LLC v. Foot Locker Retail Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-0772-HE, W.D. Okla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145120).
HONOLULU - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel heard oral argument on Oct. 8 on whether a removing asbestos defendant may rely on speculation and assertions or whether it must submit some admissible evidence (Douglas P. Leite and Mary Ann K. Leite v. Crane Co., et al., David Thompson v. Crane Co., Nos. 12-16864, 12-16982, 9th Cir.).
LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced that a court on Oct. 4 fined a fertilizer firm for potentially exposing about 50 workers to asbestos.
SYDNEY, Australia - An Australian judge on Oct. 4 granted a city council's request for an injunction prohibiting a company and its director from dumping and storing waste material at a property, finding that the waste posed a threat to the environment and surrounding residences (Blacktown City Council v The Penatrators Pty Limited, No. $(2013$) NSWLEC 169, New South Wales Land and Env.).
NEW YORK - The judge presiding over the Oct. 15 trial in the lawsuit filed by Chevron Corp. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to challenge enforcement of the $18 billion judgment entered in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, for personal injuries and property damage issued orders on Oct. 7 denying a defense motion for a jury trial and a defense motion for relief from a local rule requiring written submissions of witnesses' direct testimony a week before the beginning of a bench trial (Chevron Corp. v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 11-691, S.D. N.Y.).