FLINT, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Jan. 15 that his office is investigating the water crisis in Flint, Mich., to see if state laws were violated in connection with the lead contamination that has forced the governor to declare a state of emergency.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - One of the plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation brought by Ohio residents who contend that E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. is liable for personal injuries related to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Jan. 11 filed a brief in Ohio federal court supporting his motion to clarify if he will be permitted to offer evidence at trial regarding his fear of future disease (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Virginia's statute of limitations began with a man's asbestosis diagnosis, and any challenge to the accuracy of that diagnosis should properly have been raised at that time, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel held Jan. 12 (James Herbert, executor of the estate of Vincent W. Gatto Sr. v. American Biltrite and its division, Amtico, et al., No. 1702 WDA 2014, Pa. Super.).
PHILADELPHIA - Ship-owner asbestos defendants strategically waived personal jurisdiction defenses, and a judge erred in allowing them to relitigate the issue 25 years later, plaintiffs told the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 (Lionel C. Wilson, Joseph F. Braun, and Thomas Guiden v. Matson Navigation Co. Inc., American President Lines Ltd., Nos. 15-1387, 15-1388, 15-1389, 3rd Cir.).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 11 overruled a defendant company's argument that the federal government's claim against it under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was untimely, holding that the storage of hazardous waste constitutes a continuing offense (United States of America v. Tonawanda Coke Corp., No. 14-1091-cr, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 332).
NEW YORK - Saying that the defendants' reliance on a commentary demonstrates its relevance, a New York justice on Jan. 12 declined to quash the deposition of the author (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Cases, No. 040000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Final judgment in a pending asbestos action requires more than a conclusory statement that no reason exists for delay, a federal judge in Alabama said Jan. 12 in rejecting a magistrate judge's recommendation (Donna Franklin, as personal representative of the estate of Ray Franklin v. Dana Holding Corp., et al., No. 11-2731, N.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3481).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A doctor may not testify on claims of future medical expenses and alleged causation between benzene and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a Puerto Rico federal judge ruled Jan. 8 (Gerardo Campos, et al. v. Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., et al., No. 12-1529, D. Puerto Rico; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2474).
BOSTON - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Jan. 7 that a Rhode Island-based container storage company agreed to pay $42,900 for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as a result of its failure to properly maintain records and inspect containers holding hazardous waste.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 8 passed legislation its supporters claim will reduce fraud in the asbestos bankruptcy trust system and help ensure that federal class actions lawsuits enrich only truly injured individuals.
NEW YORK - Federal Employers Liability Act precedent requires finding that a man's release of a "laundry list" of potential claims does not bar a widow's subsequent mesothelioma action, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 8 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Ann M. South, et al. v. Chevron Corp., individually and as successor by merger to Texaco Inc., et al., No. 190029/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2016 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 23).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Jan. 8 denied the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance's (CSPA) request for $1.2 million in attorney fees after finding that while the group was the prevailing party in a suit over a defendant's company's storm water discharges, it was unable to show that the rates it charged were comparable with other Clean Water Act (CWA) attorneys in the Sacramento area (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Chico Scrap Metal Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-01207-GEB-AC, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2511).
PHOENIX - Evidence of out-of-state conduct and injuries may be used to bolster an asbestos plaintiff's punitive damages claim, a federal judge in Arizona said Jan. 6 in partially granting motions in limine (George Coulbourn, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 13-8141, D. Ariz.).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 6 affirmed the dismissal of a couple's lawsuit accusing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and Ohio Department of Agriculture (DOA) of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) when allowing the DOA to regulate water pollution caused by animal feeding operations, holding that the act does not allow citizen suits against regulators over regulatory functions (Larry Askins v. Ohio Department of Agriculture, et al., No. 15-3147, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57).
BENTON, Ill. - A co-worker's recollection of working with a man does not sufficiently establish a link to a defendant's steam traps, a federal judge held Jan. 6 in dismissing the company from an asbestos action (Sharon Bell, executor of the estate of Mr. Richard Bell v. ABB Group Inc., et al., No. 13-1338, S.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1253).
FLINT, Mich. - An advocacy group comprising Flint residents and other supporters on Jan. 8 called for the arrest of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for what the group says is the poisoning of the city's residents as a result of lead contamination in the drinking water.
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Jan. 4 dismissed without prejudice an environmental cleanup company's claims for breach of contract, accounts stated and open book account against BP America Inc. in a lawsuit accusing BP of failing to pay the company $1.7 million for cleanup activities it conducted in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010, finding that the plaintiff company failed to adequately state the claims (Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc. v. BP America Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-09033, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1192).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Jan. 5 refused to reduce amounts of monetary costs awarded by a clerk of the court to a city and county accused of contributing to contamination in Chequamegon Bay, after finding that the city was a prevailing party and that the clerk did not err in awarding costs to the county (Northern States Power Company v. City of Ashland, Wisconsin, et al., No. 12-cv-602, W.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1104).
CHICAGO - The statute of repose protects a company from liability for a boiler installed 30 years before a man's asbestos exposure, but his widow's claims against a company making repairs may go forward, a federal judge in Wisconsin held Jan. 6 (Beverly Ahnert, et al. v. Brand Insulation Inc., et al., No. 13-1456, E.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 427).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 6 affirmed a federal judge in Pennsylvania's ruling that a state agency's diligent prosecution of allegations that a coke manufacturer's emissions were violating the Clean Air Act barred a suit brought by an environmental group, but also ruled that the diligent prosecution bar is not a jurisdictional issue that warranted dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (Group Against Smog and Pollution v. Shenango Inc., No. 15-2041, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 59).
RICHMOND, Va. - A judge did not err in applying the frequency, regularity and proximity test in an asbestos case against four defendants or in finding that it lacked personal jurisdiction over a fifth defendant, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 5 (Lisa Covington, et al. v. MCIC Inc., et al., No. 14-2055, 4th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - Two motions to compel information about members of the Sierra Club who allegedly sustained injuries as a result of emissions from coal-fired power plants owned by Union Electric Co., doing business as Ameren Missouri, and other members of the environmental group were denied Dec. 31 by a federal judge in Missouri, who ruled that the requested information is irrelevant to the group's citizen suit under the Clean Air Act (CAA) (Sierra Club v. Union Electric Company, d/b/a Ameren Missouri, No. 14-cv-408-AGF, E.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173530).
DETROIT - The federal government sued Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries in federal court in Michigan on Jan. 4, claiming that the manufacturer violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by installing software in its vehicles that was designed to cheat emissions tests (United States of America v. Volkswagen AG, et al., No. 16-cv-10006, E.D. Mich.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal magistrate judge in California on Dec. 18 ordered an officer of the Environmental World Watch Inc. (EWW), which claims that The Walt Disney Co. allows contaminated storm water containing zinc and copper to run off of its property, to address matters over his alleged failure to preserve emails from other officers of the group and attempts to avoid deposition to prevent the imposition of sanctions (Environmental World Watch Inc. v. Walt Disney Company, et al., No. CV 09-04045-DMG, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170303).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Dec. 18 ruled that a groundwater contamination lawsuit against General Electric was barred by the statute of limitations because the plaintiffs knew, or should have known, about the contamination well before the action was filed (Lajim LLC, et al. v. General Electric Co., No. 13-50348, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169753).