JUNEAU, Alaska - The Alaska Supreme Court on Feb. 14 affirmed a license for natural gas exploration in the Healy Basin over the objections of a citizen group that challenged the license on the grounds that the decision was arbitrary and that regulators failed to protect surface-owners' rights and recreational and wildlife uses near Denali National Park (Denali Citizens Council v. Alaska, et al., No. S-14896, Alaska Sup.; 2014 Alas. LEXIS 13).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A divided Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed a defense verdict on Feb. 14 in favor of Lorillard Tobacco Co. and the manufacturer of an asbestos-containing filter and against the widow of a cigarette worker and smoker who died of mesothelioma (Wanda McGuire v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, No. 2012-CA-000845-MR, Ky. App.; 2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 25).
GRETNA, La. - A Louisiana appeals court on Feb. 12 dismissed a third-party action involving liability for take-home asbestos exposures after the parties resolved the issue (Leonard Abadie Jr. v. Asbestos Corporation Ltd., et al., No. 13-CA-768, La. App., 5th Cir.).
SEATTLE - The Washington Supreme Court on Feb. 13 heard arguments over whether an employer's decision to have employees return to an area where asbestos work was being done constitutes an "intentional injury" under the workers' compensation statutes (Gary G. Walston and Donna Walston v. The Boeing Co., No. 885117, Wash. Sup.).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A unanimous 13th District Texas Court of Appeals panel overturned a trial court interpretation of a contract between the owner of oil and natural gas wells and a drilling company in connection with recovering costs for responding to a blowout; evidence before the trial court should have been interpreted to deny summary judgment, the panel ruled Feb. 13 (ZK Drilling Co. v. Lavaca River Operating Co., No. 12-688, Texas App. 13th Dist.).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Feb. 12 dismissed a tenant's mold-related negligence claim, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction (Jasmine Lamboy v. AG-FCB Fairways Owners LLC, No. 13-3825, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17474).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Second District Texas Court of Appeals panel granted a hydrocarbon well operator mandamus relief on Feb. 12 from an order to produce geologic and seismic data on the grounds that the data are confidential trade secrets and the landowners seeking the data had not met their burden under Texas Rule of Evidence 507 (In re EOG Resources Inc., No. 13-440, Texas App., 2nd Dist.).
LANSING, Mich. - A unanimous Michigan Court of Appeals panel issued an opinion on Feb. 11 affirming that the definition of injection wells by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality excludes wells finished with hydraulic fracturing (Deanna Hughes, et al. v. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, No. 312902, Mich. App.; 2014 Mich. App. LEXIS 250).
MIAMI - An after-the-fact diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by a defense expert is insufficient to create grounds for summary judgment on the statute of limitations, a divided Florida appeals court said Feb. 12, reversing a trial court's dismissal (Everett A. Belanger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 3D12-165; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 1847).
NEW YORK - An appeal by nine food flavoring workers of a bankruptcy court order dismissing their diacetyl exposure personal injury claims against Chemtura Corp. was denied Feb. 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; the appellants failed to file claim notices by the bankruptcy court deadline, and the claims were discharged, according to the presiding judge (In re Chemtura Corp., No. 13-2023, S.D. N.Y.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - The Pennsylvania physician who alleges statutory restrictions on his ability to discover the chemicals in proprietary hydraulic fracturing fluids used in natural gas extraction violates his civil rights under the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution and exposes him to professional disciplinary action by the American Medical Association and the Pennsylvania officials he accuses of the violations stipulated to the dismissal of claims against the chairman of the Public Utility Commission; the stipulation was endorsed by the presiding judge on Feb. 7 (Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez, M.D., v. Michael L. Krancer, et al., No. 12-1458, M.D. Pa.).
HONOLULU - A couple produces no new evidence or arguments entitling them to reconsideration of an opinion finding that a subsidiary's asbestos liabilities do not attach to Viad Corp., a federal judge in Hawaii held Feb. 7 (Robert A. Cabasug and Joyce C. Cabasug v. Crane Co., et al., No. 12-313, D. Hawaii; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15798).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's asbestosis action involves a disease separate from, and not barred by, his earlier pleural disease diagnosis, the Delaware Supreme Court held Feb. 7 in reversing a lower court (Paul DaBaldo Jr. and Marlene DeBaldo v. URS Energy & Construction, f/k/a Washington Group International, et al., No. 254, 2013, Del. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - The California Supreme Court on Feb. 11 denied a petition seeking review of an appeals court's ruling that a lawyer overstated the effect of an order directing the deletion of website pages during an asbestos trial, according to its docket (Christie Steiner, et al. v. The Superior Court of Santa Barbara Co., Volkswagen Group of America, et al., No. S.215209, Calif. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Crane Co.'s evidence regarding the use of asbestos refers to the parent company and not its Pacific Boilers product line, a New York justice held in denying summary judgment in an opinion posted Feb. 10 (Carol Brumley, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190101/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - A man's evidence that a company used asbestos-containing products and recommended such replacements overcomes a corporate witness's undated, catalog-based testimony that it didn't use asbestos, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Feb. 10 (Ira Zimmerman, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190383/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
TOLEDO, Ohio - Property damage claims alleged against Whirlpool Corp. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by the plaintiffs in a childhood cancer cluster class action were dismissed Feb. 10 in the second amended complaint for failing to state a claim; personal injury and wrongful death claims under the theory of negligence survived the motion to dismiss (Wendy Brown, et al. v. Whirlpool Corp., No. 13-1092, N.D. Ohio).
PADUCAH, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on Feb. 7 denied motions to dismiss filed by more than 70 defendant companies in a suit seeking cost recovery and contribution claims against them under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act for contamination at a Superfund site in Kentucky, after finding that the plaintiff company can amend the allegations in its second amended complaint (LWD PRP Group v. ACF Industries LLC, et al., No. 12-CV-00127-JHM, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15359).
LAKE CHARLES, La. - A unanimous Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal panel on Feb. 5 affirmed in part awards of past due payments to royalty interest owners (Jerry J. Suire, et al. v. Oleum Operating Co., No. 13-736, La. App., 3rd Cir.).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A man's testimony about the type of work he performed, the conditions at the premises and the owner's control allows for at least a reasonable inference of liability, a New Jersey judge held Feb. 6 (Arthur G. Whelan v. BASF Corp., et al., No. L-7161-12AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).
EDMONTON, Alberta - A Canadian commission on Feb. 5 found that new medical evidence submitted by an estate on the relationship between a worker's carcinoma and his asbestos exposure should be reviewed by a pulmonary specialist before a decision in the case is made (Docket No. AC0234-12-23, Decision No. 2013-0091, Alberta Wrks. Comp. App. Comm.).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Feb. 5 denied a mining company's motion to recover some of the litigation costs it incurred in defending a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit after finding that the company was unable to show that the claims brought by the plaintiffs were frivolous (Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, et al. v. Flambeau Mining Company, No. 11-cv-45-bbc, W.D. Wis.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14471).
NEW YORK - No "significant exposure" requirement exists for inclusion on the asbestos in-extremis docket, a New York justice held Feb. 5 in allowing a man's claim based on three-days exposure in the state (Marvin Golden v. Alliance Laundry Systems, et al., No. 190160/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Feb. 7 certified appeals by Chapter 11 debtors Specialty Products Holding Corp. and Bondex International Inc. of a ruling estimating the companies' asbestos liability at $1.6 billion for immediate appeal to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (In re: Specialty Products Holding Corp., et al., No. 10-11780, D. Del. Bkcy. $(Specialty Products Holding Corp. and Bondex International Inc. v. Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants, et al., Nos. 13-1244, 13-1245, D. Del.$)).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - W.R. Grace & Co.'s emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection included a payment of more than $63 million to the U.S. government to resolve claims for cleanup and restoration of hazardous waste sites in 21 states, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Feb. 5.