Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court: Evidence Failed To Show Veteran Was Exposed To Agent Orange

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Veterans Claims U.S. Court of Appeals on July 2 affirmed a ruling by the Board of Veterans Appeals that denied a former member of the U.S. Navy benefits related to lung cancer that he claimed was caused by exposure to Agent Orange on grounds that the evidence did not support the veteran's claim (Kenneth R. Byrne v. Sloan D. Gibson, No. 13-2150, Vet. Clms.; 2014 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1162).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge Denies Motion To Compel Discovery In Raritan Contamination Case

TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on July 1 denied a motion to compel discovery in a groundwater contamination case filed by the environmental group Raritan Baykeeper Inc. and granted the defendant, NL Industries Inc., a protective order barring Raritan Baykeeper from conducting more discovery (Raritan Baykeeper Inc. v. NL Industries Inc., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89078).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Breach Of Contract Allegations In Sediment Remediation Case 'Sufficient'

SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on June 30 denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging liability for breach of contract in a remediation action involving hydrocarbon-impacted sediments on grounds that the plaintiffs have sufficiently stated their claim (Salt Lake City Corporation, et al. v. BP Products North America Inc., et al., No. 11-1174, D. Utah; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89691).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas County Sues BP, Others Over Lost Tax Revenues From Oil Spill

HOUSTON - Harris County, Texas, on July 2 filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 caused it to lose money in hotel occupancy taxes and business personal property taxes (Harris County, Texas v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-01847, S.D. Texas).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas Top Court Finds Asbestos Plaintiffs Must Produce Relevant Pulmonary Test

HOUSTON - To pursue an asbestos claim, plaintiffs must produce pulmonary function testing tied to a disease diagnosis, and imposition of the standard is constitutional as applied to a man whose health prevented him from undergoing such testing, a divided Texas Supreme Court held July 3 (Union Carbide Corp. v. Daisy E. Synatzske and Grace Annette Webb, et al., No. 12-0617, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Last Exposure To Asbestos Did Not Occur During Policy Periods, Judge Says

WHEELING, W.Va. - No coverage is owed for an underlying personal injury claim arising out of exposure to asbestos because the claimant's last day of last exposure to asbestos did not occur within the policy periods at issue, a West Virginia federal judge said June 27 (The Home Laughlin China Co. v. Continental Casualty Co. et al., No. 14-13, N.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88632).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses All But Breach Of Contract Claim In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on July 1 granted a federal flood insurer's motion to dismiss an insured's claims for declaratory judgment, state law and extracontractual tort claims for pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and penalties in a dispute over Hurricane Isaac coverage (Cynthia W. Bowie v. American Security Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5698 SECTION: "S" [5], E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89405).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Gas Company Says It Has Rights To Land In West Virginia Lease Dispute

WHEELING, W.Va. - EQT Production Co. (EQT), an oil and gas exploration company, on June 27 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia arguing that the District Court should not grant summary judgment in favor of a group of energy companies that contend that they have rights to "gas estates" based on leases that they contend share a common chain of title (TransEnergy Inc., et al. v. EQT Production Company, No.13-93, N.D. W.Va.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Suit Over EPA's Failure To Regulate AFO Emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on June 30 dismissed a citizen suit brought under the Clean Air Act (CAA) asking that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator regulate emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs), ruling that the act does not impose on the agency a nondiscretionary duty to do so (Samuel Zook, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 13-cv-1315, D. D.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88835).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - D.C. Circuit Court Vacates EPA's Comparable Fuels Exclusion Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 27 vacated a 1998 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempted fuels derived from hazardous waste from regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), ruling that 42 U.S. Code Section 6924(q) specifically requires the agency to regulate such materials (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., Nos. 98-1379, 98-1429, 98-1431, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12118).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Drilling Company: Fees And Expenses Valid In Fracking Contract Breach Litigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The drilling company that won a breach of contract ruling against the natural gas operating company it had contracted with to perform hydraulic fracturing services on June 30 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio supporting its motion for summary judgment, seeking a ruling that the attorney fees and expenses it seeks are reasonable (Warren Drilling Inc. v. Equitable Production Co., No. 12-425, S.D. Ohio).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands Case, Says Personal Injury Time Bar May Not Block Death Claim

SEATTLE - Whether a widow may pursue a wrongful death claim despite the time bar to asbestos personal injury claims remains an open question in Washington State, a federal judge held in remanding a case on June 30 (Geraldine Barabin, et al. v. AstenJohnson Inc., et al., Nos. 14-557, W.D. Wash.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Pennsylvania Doctor Lacks Standing To Discover Chemicals Used In Fracking

SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on June 30 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a physician against the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seeking relief from the statutory restrictions preventing the doctor from discovering the chemicals in proprietary hydraulic fracturing fluids used in natural gas extraction on grounds that he lacked standing (Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez, M.D. v. Michael L. Krancer, et al., No. 12-1458, M.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Colorado High Court: Right Of Local Entities To Control Fracking Set For Ballot

DENVER - A divided Colorado Supreme Court sitting en banc on June 30 ruled that two initiatives that would give local municipalities the authority to regulate oil and gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing can be put on the ballot for the 2014 general election (Mizraim S. Cordero, et al. v. Caitlin Leahy, et al. [In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause for 2013-2014 #90], No. 14SA121, Colo. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Asbestos Pipe Claims Revived After Court Affirms Dismissal Of 2 Others

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California appeals court on July 1 said sufficient evidence supports a couple's action against a manufacturer of asbestos-containing pipe and rejected its sophisticated user defense. In the same ruling, the court affirmed judgment to joint compound and plastic cement companies (Verna Lee Collin v. CalPortland Co., et al., No. C063875, Verna Lee Collin v. J-M Manufacturing Company Inc., No. C065180, Calif. App., 3rd Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Jersey Bill Banning Disposal Of Fracking Waste Heads To Gov. Chris Christie

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey State Assembly on June 26 passed a bill that would prohibit the treatment, discharge, disposal or storage of wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts resulting from hydraulic fracturing. The bill now heads to Gov. Chris Christie.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Allows Unsanitary Condition Claims Against Detention Center To Proceed

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - After finding that certain claims against a correctional facility were made under center policies, a Kentucky federal judge on June 27 allowed an inmate's claims that unhealthy conditions and mold made him sick to proceed (Rickey Douglas McCarley v. Logan County Detention Center, et al., No. 1:13-CV-P172, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87511).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Company Liable For Costs To Clean Up Hazardous Waste At Industrial Site

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on June 27 denied a company summary judgment dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. government seeking reimbursement for costs associated with cleaning up a contaminated industrial site, concluding that under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), responsible parties are liable for all costs (United States of America v. ARG Corporation, No. 10-311, N.D. Ind.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87642).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 2nd Circuit: Asarco's Claim For Contribution To Pay Cleanup Costs Fails

NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 25 affirmed the dismissal of a complaint filed by Asarco LLC that sought contribution from the trustees of the residuary trusts created by the will of John D. Rockefeller Sr., alleging that the remediation costs for the contamination caused by mining activities in Washington state were fairly attributable to the activities of corporations controlled by Rockefeller as owner and operator of the contaminated sites (Asarco LLC v. Neva R. Goodwin, et al., No. 13-3954, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12091).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Split New York High Court: Municipalities May Pass Laws Banning Fracking

ALBANY, N.Y. - A divided New York Court of Appeals on June 30 ruled that local municipalities may pass bans on the oil and gas extraction procedure that uses hydraulic fracturing because the supersession clause in the statewide Oil, Gas Solution Mining Law (OGSML) does not preempt the home rule authority vested in municipalities to regulate land use (Norse Energy Corp. USA v. Town of Dryden, et al., No. APL-2013-00245, N.Y. App.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Extends Deadline For Filing Amended Volatile Organic Compounds Complaint

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida presiding over a personal injury and property damage lawsuit alleging fraud and strict liability for the illegal abandonment of volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on June 24 issued a verbal order giving the plaintiffs until July 27 to file an amended complaint in response to the dismissal ruling he issued in May (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Veterans Appeals Judge Remands Benefits Case Involving Lead Toxicity Injuries

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on June 26 remanded a case to the Board of Veterans Appeals on grounds that the test that was to be performed to determine the extent and effect of a veteran's lead exposure and his claim for disability benefits was not properly done the first time (Buddy D. Jeffrey v. Sloan D. Gibson, No. 13-0772, U.S. App. Vet. Clms.; 2014 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1104).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendants Engaging In 'Undue Harassment' In Chemical Spill Case, Attorney Says

CAMDEN, N.J. - The attorney representing the class action plaintiffs in consolidated Paulsboro, N.J., train derailment litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on June 25 filed a letter with the District Court declaring that "repeated demands" made by the defendants insisting that the plaintiffs provide "more detailed information" in response to the companies' interrogatories constitute "undue harassment" (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Insurer Proposes Settlement In W.Va. Bankruptcy Court For Elk River Spill Claims

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - According to a June 24 motion to approve a settlement filed in the U.S. District Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, an insurer and its bankrupt insured responsible for a January 2014 spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into West Virginia's Elk River have agreed to a settlement in which the insurer will buy back an excess policy for $2 million and pay for covered losses unrelated to the spill up to $1 million (In re: Freedom Industries Inc., No. 14-20017, S.D. W.Va. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Statute Of Repose Bars Asbestos Action Against Boilermaker, Pa. Court Says

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania statute of repose applies in an asbestos case against a boiler manufacturer who oversaw design and construction of the product, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel held June 26 (David and Frances Graver v. Foster Wheeler Corp., No. 470 EDA 2012, David and Frances Graver v. Foster Wheeler, No. 641 EDA 2012, Pa. Super.).