LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - California Federal Magistrate Judge Dismisses Dispute Over Slogan

SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations that the American Petroleum Institute (API) violated the Lanham Act when adopting "choose energy" as its slogan leading up to the November 2014 general election were rejected April 8 by a California federal magistrate judge (Choose Energy Inc. v. American Petroleum Institute, No. 14-4557, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46714).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - West Virginia Court: Attorney Rules Bar Sharing Fees With Non-Attorney

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Professional rules have equal force of law as statutes enacted by the legislature and bar an attorney from sharing asbestos litigation fees with a non-attorney, West Virginia's top court held April 10 in answering a certified question (Gary W. Rich and the Law Office of Gary W. Rich v. Joseph Simoni, et al., No. 14-0998, W.Va. Sup. App.; 2015 W. Va. LEXIS 257).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge: Evidence In Asbestos Case 'Thin' But Sufficient Under Utah Law

SALT LAKE CITY - While "thin," sufficient evidence exists of a man's exposure to asbestos from a defendant's product and his resulting disease's role in his death, a federal judge held April 9 (Karyn F. Maag v. Eaton Corp., et al., No. 10-905, D. Utah; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46623).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Criticizes Conduct In Case Against Sheldon Silver, But Allows Case To Proceed

NEW YORK - Former New York Speaker Sheldon Silver lost his bid to have the government's fraud and conspiracy case against him dismissed April 10, but the federal judge criticized the prosecutor's "brinkmanship," saying it strayed so close to the edge of ethical rules that it risked falling over the edge into prejudice (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 15-93, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47194).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Bankruptcy Judge Confirms Yarway's $325 Million Chapter 11 Plan

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on April 8 confirmed a reorganization plan for Chapter 11 debtor Yarway Corp. that establishes a $325 million trust to process and pay thousands of asbestos injury and wrongful death claims (In re: Yarway Corporation, No. 13-11025, D. Del. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Mechanic Not Qualified As Expert For Purposes Of Electrician's Exposure

LOS ANGELES - A mechanic who operates an aviation museum is not qualified to testify as an expert in an asbestos case alleging exposure as an electrician, and absent that testimony, the case falls short against four defendants, a federal judge in California held in an opinion entered April 7 (Patricia Ann Livingston, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 12-1220, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Untimely Complaint, Expert Report Don't Warrant Dismissal

NEWARK, N.J. - Though a widow served both an amended asbestos complaint and her expert report late, the missed deadlines do not warrant dismissal or striking the expert, a federal judge in New Jersey held April 9 (Claire Thomasson, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 13-1034, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46386).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Fracking Company Seeks To Amend Answer In Tainted Groundwater Lawsuit

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A hydraulic fracturing company sued by Pennsylvania residents who contend that the company is liable for contaminating their groundwater on April 8 moved in Pennsylvania federal court for permission to file an amended answer to the complaint, contending that circumstances in the case have "changed greatly" since the company filed its answer to the original complaint more than four years ago (Nolen Scott Ely v. Hon. Martin C. Carlson Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, et al., No. 09-2284, M.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Tainted Groundwater Case May Proceed; Evidence Indicates Negligence

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - The federal judge in West Virginia presiding over a personal injury lawsuit brought by a group of residents who contend that a water company is responsible for the spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River near Charleston on April 9 ruled that the plaintiffs had established a prima facie case for liability (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1347, S.D. W.Va.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Prejudicial Error Not Shown In Denial Of Benefits For Agent Orange Exposure

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on April 8 ruled that the Board of Veterans Appeals instructions given to a doctor who examined a veteran and determined that his cancer had not been caused by exposure to Agent Orange were "inartfully worded" but did not constitute prejudicial error (Lena M. Allen v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 14-0222, Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 435).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Paulsboro Train Derailment Plaintiffs: Core Claims Are Not Preempted

CAMDEN, N.J. - The plaintiffs who sued railroad company defendants alleging personal injury from vinyl chloride that was spilled as a result of a train derailment filed a brief on April 6 in New Jersey federal court arguing that the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment should be denied because there is no preemption of the residents' core claims (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Iowa Court Finds Teacher's Injury Was Caused By Mold Exposure At Work

DES MOINES, Iowa - After finding that a teacher's lung injury was caused by exposure to mold in the building where she worked, the Iowa Court of Appeals on April 8 affirmed a decision awarding her compensation for an occupational injury (United Heartland Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Brown, No. 14-1070, Iowa App.; 2015 Iowa App. LEXIS 321).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Jersey Court Finds Landlord Was Entitled To Evict Tenants

TRENTON, N.J. - After finding that tenants failed to show that alleged mold growth in their apartment prevented their landlord from increasing their rent, a New Jersey appeals court on April 8 affirmed a decision allowing the landlord to evict them (Georgian Gardens v. Russell and Vanessa Shields, No. A-3598-13T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 761).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Rulings Against Fola Coal Over Discharges Are Not Immediately Appealable

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on April 8 denied Foal Coal Co. LLC's motion to seek interlocutory appeal of three rulings entered against it in a lawsuit brought by three environmental groups accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), finding that decisions are not appropriate for immediate review by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Inc., et al. v. Fola Coal Company LLC, No. 13-5006, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45647).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Parties Respond To Motions Seeking Exclusion Of Expert Opinions, Bankruptcy Order

LOS ANGELES - Crane Co. and a couple alleging asbestos exposure on March 6 filed response briefs in a California federal court, opposing motions seeking the exclusion of expert testimony that "each and every exposure" significantly contributes to disease and an order in a recent bankruptcy case (Howard Utech, an individual, Joann Utech, an individual v. Asbestos Corporation Limited, et al., No. 14-4977, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Denies Overbroad Discovery Requests In Groundwater Contamination Suit

FRESNO, Calif. - In light of a prior order limiting the scope of a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit to a single well adjoining the plaintiffs' property, a California federal magistrate judge on April 6 denied a motion to compel discovery requests for a water utility's operations beyond that well (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 1:11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45164).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Denies EPA Administrator's Request To Transfer Clean Air Act Suit

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on April 6 denied the Environmental Protection Agency administrator's motion to transfer a lawsuit brought by two environmental groups claiming that the agency failed to comply with certain duties required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), ruling that moving the suit to a court in one of the 15 affected districts would not advance the public interest of the remaining 14 (Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 14-cv-05138-WHO, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44853).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Residents' Argument For Class Class Status Is 'Unavailing,' Halliburton Says

OKLAHOMA CITY - Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI), which was sued by Oklahoma residents who contend that they were injured from exposure to radioactive waste from a chemical plant it operates, on April 6 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of an order denying class certification is "unavailing" (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Overturns Ruling Ordering EPA To Make Necessity Determination

NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 7 reversed a federal judge in Louisiana's decision to order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make a necessity determination to evaluate whether a standard should be enacted to limit levels of nitrogen and phosphorus discharged into the Gulf of Mexico, ruling that the agency had the option of refusing to make the determination when denying a petition by environmental groups (Gulf Restoration Network, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 13-31214, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5602).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Kansas Appeals Court Affirms Temporary Injunction For Senior Water Rights Holder

TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas state appeals panel on April 3 denied an interlocutory appeal challenging a temporary injunction against two junior water rights holders in a groundwater dispute (Garetson Brothers, et al. v. American Warrior, Inc., et al., No. 111,975, Kan. App.; 2015 Kan. App. LEXIS 23).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Man: High Court Should Deny Review Of Lead-Paint Ruling; Circuits Not Split

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The man who sued a former maker of lead-based paint contending that it was liable for his injuries caused by ingesting lead-based paint filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on April 6 arguing that there is no split between the opinion issued in the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and "any other court" relating to the "Wisconsin Rule" of risk contribution; therefore, the Supreme Court does not need to hear the case (American Cyanamid Company v. Ernest Gibson, No. 14-0849, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Denies Government's Operator Liability Claim Against Industrial Park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on April 1 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to dismiss the federal government's claim that an industrial park was subject to owner liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) because a slag pile on the property does not satisfy the statutory definition of a facility (United States of America v. Gadsden Industrial Park LLC, No. 14-cv-00992-KOB, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42599).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Raw Asbestos Supplier Tells Judge Design Claims Don't Apply To It

BALTIMORE - The remaining design defect claims in an asbestos case do not apply to a seller of raw asbestos, a company told a federal judge March 27 after successfully opposing remand (Melvin F. Sherin, et al. v. John Crane-Houdaille Inc., et al., No. 11-3698, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130702).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Crane Co. Asks Federal Judge To Exclude 'Every Exposure' Opinions

SAN FRANCISCO - Two experts' opinion that every asbestos fiber exposure substantially contributes to disease meets neither federal expert reliability standards nor California law on causation, an asbestos defendant told a federal judge in California on April 3 (Barry Kelly and Molly Kelly v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 11-3240, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Couple Fails To Plead Facts To Show Landlord Liable For Tainted Water

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on April 3 ruled that a California couple failed to plead facts sufficient show that a landlord of a shopping center was negligent or engaged in some ultrahazardous activity on which potential strict liability could be premised with respect to chemical contamination of the couple's groundwater (Anna Lance, et al. v. Commerce Trust Company, No. 15-0341, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44321).