WILMINGTON, Del. - Nearly 13 years after filing for Chapter 11 protection to resolve hundreds of thousands of asbestos personal injury claims, global chemical and materials producer W.R. Grace & Co. filed notice Feb. 3 in Delaware federal bankruptcy court that its plan of reorganization had become effective, the same day the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted a stipulation dismissing the final appeal to the plan's confirmation (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.; In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., Nos. 12-1402, 12-1403, 12-1404, 12-1405, 12-2924, 3rd Cir.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 31 granted six unopposed motions for summary judgment but held in abeyance two opposed motions so that Ford Motor Co. could argue the importance of a recent ruling in Garlock Sealing Technologies' asbestos bankruptcy (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12295).
LOS ANGELES - Testimony that a man applied and removed Warren Pumps LLC gaskets and packing overcomes its summary judgment motion, a California appeals panel held Jan. 31 in finding that contradictory evidence only goes to the weight of the testimony (Donald Kent, et al. v. Warren Pumps LLC, No. B243832, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 732).
SEATTLE - A majority of the nonrecused judges in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 denied a fellow judge's request for an en banc hearing of a ruling finding that environmental groups had standing to bring to lawsuit claiming that state agencies in Washington violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to define reasonably available control technology (RACT) emissions limits for greenhouse gases (Washington Environmental Council, et al. v. Maia D. Bellon, et al., Nos. 12-35323, 12-35234, 12-35358, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2065).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia federal judge who ordered tobacco companies to take out advertisements correcting decades of deceptive marketing allowed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, two groups representing black-owned media, and Fox Broadcasting Co. to participate as amici, in a Feb. 4 order (U.S.A. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 1:99-cv-2496, D. D.C.).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of a hotel on claims asserted by a former employee who alleged that his contract was terminated after he made complaints about mold (Guy DeFazio v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., No. 13-1197, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2030).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Asbestos bankruptcy trust forms are discoverable for the limited purpose of impeaching claims against Crane Co., a Rhode Island judge held Jan. 30 in granting reconsideration (Rosie K. Sweredoski, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 2011-1544, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation).
NEW YORK - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 30 ordered NL Industries Inc. to conduct a $79 million cleanup of the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund site in Middlesex County, N.J., that contains soil and sediment contaminated by lead-containing waste (In the matter of Raritan Bay Slag Superfund Site Middlesex County, New Jersey, EPA Docket No. CERCLA 02-2014-2012, EPA).
TYLER, Texas - A unanimous Texas 12th District Court of Appeals panel, in an opinion issued Jan. 31, affirmed a plea to jurisdiction to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline in a lawsuit filed by a landowner seeking rescission of an easement and right of way (Michael Bishop v. TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, No. 13-54, Texas App., Dist. 12).
OMAHA, Neb. - A federal judge in Nebraska on Jan. 31 ordered a company to pay $2.2 million to the federal government and State of Nebraska for 1,533 violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) that resulted in excessive levels of wastewater containing ammonia, oil and grease to be discharged into the City of Lexington's wastewater treatment plant (United States of America, et al. v. Stabl Inc., No. 11-CV-274, D. Neb.).
PHILADELPHIA - A couple established exposure to insulation aboard a ship but not the asbestos content of the insulation, dooming a negligence-based failure-to-warn claim against a shipbuilder, the judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held Jan. 29 (John Leonard and Sandra Leonard v. CBS Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 12-60177, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11333).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Florida's 2005 asbestos legislation bars a cigarette smoker's lung cancer claim, a Delaware judge held Jan. 29 (In re: Asbestos Litigation; Ira Fluitt and Regina Fluitt v. Advanced Auto Parts Inc., et al., No. N12C-07-241 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
NEW YORK - An attorney's affidavit coupled with evidence that a respirator manufacturer pulled certain products does not support a design defect claim in an asbestos action, but the man's failure-to-warn claims may proceed, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 29 (Malgorzata Wiacek, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190096/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 350).
LOS ANGELES - The estate of the owner of a now-defunct fireworks company on Jan. 30 agreed to pay $11 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to resolve the agency's request for past and future response costs incurred in remediating the Rockets, Fireworks and Flares Superfund site in Rialta, Calif., according to a filing in California federal court (United States of America v. Goodrich Corporation, et al., No. 10-00824 PSG, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A unanimous Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 31 affirmed a discovery order from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in an action related to arbitration of the $9 billion personal injury and property damage judgment entered in November against Chevron Corp. by the Ecuador National Court of Justice (In re: Application of Republic of Ecuador, et al., No. 12-15572 $(consolidated$), 9th Cir.).
COLUMBIA, Tenn. - The wife of a laborer at a Tennessee paper recycling factory who alleges in a complaint filed Aug. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee that her husband's employer failed to provide a safe workplace and to warn about the health risks of exposure to silicone silica failed to state a claim in a personal injury lawsuit because the complaint was filed more than a year after the incident, the presiding judge ruled Jan. 30 (Kimberly Ann Davis, et vir v. TIN Inc., et al., No. 13-92, M.D. Tenn.).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana appeals court on Jan. 31 affirmed a trial court's ruling in favor of the sellers of a home, finding that the evidence supported a finding that the sellers were unaware of mold growth in the house (William E. Boehringer, et al. v. Gregory J. Weber, et al., No. 29A05-1303-PL-154, Ind. App.; 2014 Ind. App. LEXIS 36).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge dismissed without prejudice a woman's fraud claim stemming from the death of her husband from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) allegedly caused by exposure to benzene-containing products, saying in a Jan. 31 opinion that the specificity required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) for a fraud action does not allow a plaintiff to group defendants together (Ashly C. Boudreaux, et al, v. Shell Oil Company, et al., No. 13-4762, E.D. La.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Jan. 29 granted the majority of a motion for summary judgment filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by a group seeking information from a former administrator's second email account, finding that information the agency refused to disclose was properly withheld (Competitive Enterprise Institute v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1617 JEB, D. D.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10601).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 28 ruled that Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. can obtain up to $1.55 billion in financing from a dozen banks and financial institutions to support the company's operating needs as it emerges from bankruptcy (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A unanimous New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department, panel affirmed workers' compensation benefits Jan. 30 for a food packaging line worker alleging that exposure to dust and polyethylene fumes caused a temporary occupational respiratory disease (In re Timothy E. Dosztan v Kraft Foods, et al., No. 515222, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3d Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 549).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 30 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an alleged victim of fraud cannot bring a "direct action" against the purported tortfeasor's professional liability insurer (Diane Mauriello v. Great American E and S Insurance Co., No. 13-5469, 6th Cir.).
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - An Illinois jury on Jan. 27 awarded more than $2 million - reduced to $1.7 million by a finding of contributory negligence - in a consolidated trial involving an asbestosis sufferer and an individual who died of lung cancer, sources told Mealey's Publications (Jim Smith v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., Mary Hernandez, as administrator of estate of John Nafziger v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., No. 05L117, 07L91, Ill. Cir., McLean Co.).
DENVER - Neighbors of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant in Colorado may not pursue state law tort claims against the contractors who operated the plant because the claims are preempted by the Price-Anderson Act, the federal judge presiding over the litigation ruled Jan. 28 (Merilyn Cook, et al. v. Rockwell International Corp., et al., No. 90-181, D. Colo.).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A unanimous Second Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal panel ruled Jan. 29 in an opinion of first impression that an annexing municipality is entitled to royalties from natural gas extracted from the roadbeds of statutorily dedicated public roads on the land annexed because ownership of dedicated public roads transfers to the city as a result of the annexation (Chesapeake Operating Inc. v. City of Shreveport, et al., No. 48,608 $(consolidated$), La. App., 2nd Cir.).