LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Judge Dismisses Plaintiffs' Cost Recovery Claim, Allows Request For Contribution

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on June 28 dismissed a claim for cost recovery under Section 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act brought by two plaintiff companies, finding that they could seek contribution pursuant to Section 113(f) of the act (Arkema Inc., et al. v. Ammin Holdings Inc., No. 12-cv-1022-DRH-DGW, S.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90991).

    Wisconsin Appeals Court Affirms Causation Judgment As Sanction For Spoliation

    MADISON, Wis. - A unanimous Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV panel affirmed a causation judgment June 27 against a retailer defendant as an appropriate sanction for spoliation of evidence in a personal injury lawsuit alleging exposure to unknown chemicals in a merchandise box (Cheryl Cody, et al. v. Target Corp, et al., No. 11-2831, Wis. App., Dist. IV; 2013 Wis. App. LEXIS 545).

    2nd Circuit Panel Affirms Defense Summary Judgment In Bhopal Contamination Suit

    NEW YORK - The summary judgment granted in June 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to Union Carbide Corp. and its former chief executive officer against plaintiffs alleging personal injury nuisance claims for exposure to contaminated groundwater from the Bhopal, India, pesticide mill was affirmed June 27 by summary order from the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Janki Bai Sahu, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 12-2983, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13357).

    Texas Top Court Agrees To Hear Challenge To Pulmonary Testing Case

    HOUSTON - The Texas Supreme Court on June 28 granted a petition for review in a case in which an asbestos plaintiff allegedly could not satisfy the pulmonary testing requirements due to physical and mental limitations, according to the docket (Union Carbide Corp. v. Daisy E. Synatzske and Grace Annette Webb, et al., No. 12-0617, Texas Sup.).

    Judge Denies Indemnitor's Request To Reconsider Ruling Dismissing CERCLA Claim

    MILWAUKEE - A federal judge in Wisconsin on June 25 refused to reconsider a 2008 ruling dismissing Appleton Paper Inc.'s (API) claim under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that as an indemnitor for NCR Corp., API did not incur response costs (Appleton Papers Inc., et al. v. George A. Whiting Paper Co., et al., No. 08-C-16, E.D. Wis.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89085).

    Georgia Court Finds City Is Not Liable For Sewer Malfunction

    ATLANTA - A Georgia appeals court on June 27 affirmed a decision granting summary judgment in favor of a city, finding no evidence to support a finding that it was liable for remediation costs associated with damage caused by a sewer line backup into a commercial property (J.N. Legacy Group Inc. v. City of Dallas, Georgia, No. A13A0729, Ga. App., 3rd Div.; 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 543).

    New York Justice Rejects Substandard Testing Evidence In Asbestos Case

    NEW YORK - An asbestos supplier has not demonstrated that testing done on the joint compound and wall board in a home satisfy testing standards or sufficiently countered claims that it was the sole supplier for the region, a New York justice held in an opinion posted June 25 (John Logan and Gail Logan v. A.P. Mollero-Maersk Inc., et al., No. 190203/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2590).

    Federal Judge Finds Homeowner's Faulty Work Claims Are Time-Barred

    HOUSTON - After finding that a homeowner's claims that a repair company's faulty work caused water leaks and mold were barred by a two-year statute of limitations, a Texas federal judge on June 27 granted summary judgment in favor of the service firm (Lupe Pena v. American Residential Services LLC, No. 12-2588, S.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90363).

    Louisiana Appeals Panel Affirms Judgment For Workers Exposed To NORM On Oil Pipe

    NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal panel in an opinion issued June 26 affirmed the award of compensatory and punitive damages for oil pipe workers for occupational exposure to naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at a pipe maintenance yard (Warren Lester, et al. v. ExxonMobil Corp., et al., No. 10-743, La. App. 5th Cir.; 2013 La. App. LEXIS 1324).

    Judge: Request For Investigation Did Not Trigger Duty To Indemnify

    NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on June 25 awarded summary judgment to Sunoco Inc. in a suit brought by a plaintiff company seeking indemnification and recovery of remediation costs for a gasoline spill in 2010, finding that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (NYSDEC) request to have the current owner of the site investigate the spill did not trigger Sunoco's contractual duty to indemnify (82-11 Queens Boulevard Realty Corp. v. Sunoco Inc., No. 11-CV-05144, E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88855).

    Ohio Court To Decide Admissibility Of Deposition In Workers' Comp Action

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Supreme Court on June 26 agreed to decide whether state evidentiary rules allow a video deposition taken in a tort action against sellers of asbestos-containing materials to be admitted in a workers' compensation action against an employer not party to the prior action (Mary Lou Burkhart v. H.J. Heinz Co., et al., No. 2013-0580, Ohio Sup.).

    Illinois Appeals Court Finds Indecipherable Asbestos Verdict Requires New Trial

    CLEVELAND - Saying it would take an "absolute guess" to decipher a jury's intent in awarding an asbestos plaintiff no compensatory award but then imposing punitive damages of $700,000, an Illinois appeals court on June 26 remanded for a new trial on negligence claims (Larry Dunham and Mary Venturini Dunham v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 4-12-0608, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).

    Judge: Dangers Of Household Asbestos Exposure Weren't Known To 1950s Employer

    SEATTLE - An employer did not have knowledge of the risks asbestos posed to household members until at least the 1960s, a Washington federal judge held June 26. The widow pursuing the claims filed a notice of appeal June 27 (Loretta Hoyt v. Lockheed Shipbuilding Co., No. 12-1648, W.D. Wash.).

    Settlement Reached In Actions Alleging Pets Injured By Topical Flea Treatments

    NEWARK, N.J. - A settlement in the topical flea and tick treatment products liability class actions coordinated in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey was announced June 26 in a minute order issued following the third settlement conference since June 18 (Aundria Arlandson, et al. v. Hartz Mountain Corp., et al., No. 10-1050 [coordinated], D. N.J.).

    6th Circuit Panel Affirms Defense Summary Judgment In Spray Irrigation Lawsuit

    CINCINNATI - A unanimous Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment June 27 for a food processor accused of contaminating groundwater by spray irrigation and causing loss of property values (Randall Lozar, et al. v. Birds Eye Foods Inc., No. 12-1945, 6th Cir.).

    Judge: Allegations By Claims Center Members Against Fellow Member Barred

    NEWARK, N.J. - Three former producers of asbestos products are contractually barred from pursuing breach of contract claims against fellow asbestos producer G-I Holdings Inc. in G-I's Chapter 11 case, a New Jersey federal judge held June 26 in affirming a bankruptcy judge's award of summary judgment to G-I on the claims (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy. $(United States Gypsum Company, et al. v. G-I Holdings, Inc., No. 2:12-cv-06933, D. N.J.$)).

    Asbestos Claimants Accuse United Gilsonite Of Fraudulent Conveyance

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - Asbestos claimants in the Chapter 11 case of United Gilsonite Laboratories (UGL) on June 24 sought permission from a Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court to pursue fraudulent conveyance and breach of fiduciary duty claims against the family-owned company's officer as part of the claimants' plan of reorganization for UGL that includes selling the business (In re: United Gilsonite Laboratories, 11-2032, M.D. Pa. Bkcy.).

    Full 9th Circuit Hears Case Addressing Admissibility Of Asbestos Experts

    SEATTLE - The full Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral argument June 25 on whether it should decide the admissibility of asbestos experts or remand for such a determination by the trial judge (Henry and Geraldine Barabin v. AstenJohnson Inc. and Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc., Nos. 10-36142, 11-35020, 9th Cir.).

    Louisiana Appellate Panel Overturns Judgment Against Natural Gas Well Owners

    SHREVEPORT, La. - A unanimous Second Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal panel reversed a judicial district court on June 26 in a natural gas royalty payment dispute after determining that the lower court erred when it declared a natural gas lease void for nonpayment and concluded that the annual payments due landowners were rent rather than royalties (Arthur William Ross, et al. v. Enervest Operating LLC, et al., No. 48,229, La. App., 2nd Cir.).

    West Virginia Court Finds No Evidence Of Mold-Related Injuries

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After finding that a tenant failed to present any evidence to support her claims that exposure to mold in her apartment caused her to suffer injuries, a West Virginia appeals court on June 24 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of her landlords (Donna J. White v. National Church Residence and National Church Residences Elderly of Montgomery, WV Inc. d/b/a Rivermont Presbyterian Homes, No. 12-1427, W.Va. Sup. App.; 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 780).

    Utah Federal Judge Excludes 'Every Exposure' Testimony In Asbestos Suit

    SALT LAKE CITY - Two experts' "every exposure" testimony lacks sufficient scientific basis, a Utah federal judge held June 24 in excluding their proposed specific causation testimony (Arva Anderson v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 06-741, D. Utah; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88457).

    Judge Finds Retailer Did Not Breach Contract In Ending Business Agreement

    CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on June 24 dismissed breach of contract and discrimination claims asserted by a syrup maker and its owner in relation to an allegedly moldy product, finding that a retailer and various individuals did not breach any legal contract with the owner or discriminate against him when they terminated the parties' business relationship (Margie's Brand Inc., et al. v. Safeways Inc., et al., No. 12-7918, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88403).

    Utah Court Refuses To Award Fees To Buyers Of Allegedly Moldy Cabin

    SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah appeals court on June 20 affirmed a trial court ruling in favor of the seller of a property and cabin that allegedly were infested with mold, finding that the purchasers were not entitled to damages or fees (Magna G. Hahnel, et al. v. Duchesne Land, LC, et al., No. 20111098, Utah App.; 2013 Utah App. LEXIS 152).

    Justice Affirms Pump Company's Duty To Produce Technical Manuals

    NEW YORK - A pump manufacturer must produce individual technical manuals that likely detail whether the pumps contained asbestos and whether the company recommended asbestos-containing replacements, a New York justice held in an opinion posted June 21 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation: All Weitz & Luxenberg Cases in Which Blackmer is a defendant, No. 40000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

    Pfizer Faces Asbestos Actions After Supreme Court Declines To Hear Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 denied a bid for certiorari by Pfizer Inc. of a ruling removing the protection for Pfizer of a bankruptcy injunction barring asbestos personal injury claims entered in the case of a defunct Pfizer subsidiary (Pfizer Inc. v. Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, No. 12-300, U.S. Sup.).