LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge In Raritan Bay Slag Case Extends Deadline For Daubert Motions

TRENTON, N.J. - The federal judge in New Jersey presiding over a lead contamination lawsuit brought by an environmental group against NL Industries Inc. for its operation of the Raritan Bay Slag (RBS) site on Oct. 20 issued an order that the deadline for Daubert motions be extended until 45 days after dispositive motions are fully briefed (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Coal Ash Groundwater Contamination Case Valid

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The federal judge in North Carolina presiding over a lawsuit brought by an environmental group that contends that Duke Energy Carolinas LLC is liable for contamination of groundwater in connection with its operation of a steam power station on Oct. 20 denied the company's motion to dismiss the case on grounds the environmental groups have standing to bring the lawsuit (Yadkin Riverkeeper, et al. v. Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, No. 14-00753, M.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Tobacco-Use Evidence Stays In Asbestos Trial, Federal Judge Says

BENTON, Ill. - A federal judge on Oct. 20 set a trial date of Nov. 30 for a case alleging exposure to asbestos in the U.S Navy. On Oct. 15, the judge declined to exclude evidence of tobacco use from the trial while also handing defendant John Crane Inc. a mixed bag of results on its motion in limine (Gerald D. McAlvey v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 14-64, S.D. Ill.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Bad Faith Claim Can't Be Maintained Under Special Relationship Theory

PENDLETON, Ore. - Dismissal of insureds' remaining claims against their insurer is proper because their tort claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing cannot be maintained under the insured's special relationship theory, a federal judge in Oregon ruled Oct. 16 (Travis Vail, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-2029, D. Ore.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140984).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Claims Against Pipeline Owner's Parent Company

BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on Oct. 20 dismissed Chevron U.S.A. Inc.'s claims against the parent company of a pipeline owner after finding that it was not a party to the purchase of sales and asset agreement and trimmed some of the claims asserted against the defendant company because it failed to state claims under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) (Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Apex Oil Company Inc., et al., No. JFM-15-00341, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142170).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Finds Navy Ownership Insufficient For Removal Of Asbestos Action

NEW ORLEANS - Merely demonstrating U.S. Navy ownership of a vessel does not demonstrate that the Navy retained control over daily operations sufficient for removal, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 19 (William E. Bartel, as personal representative of the estate of Silas B. Bishop v. Alcoa Steamship Company Inc., et al., No. 15-30004, William E. Bartel as personal representative of the estate of Joseph L. Dennis v. American Export Isbrandtsen, et al., No. 15-30005, Lawrence R. Craig v. Rio Grande Transport Inc., et al., No. 15-30032, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Reconsiders Ruling On Divisibility Defense In CERCLA Suit

GREEN BAY, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Oct. 19 reconsidered his earlier ruling finding that NCR Corp. submitted sufficient evidence to support its divisibility defense, after finding that the testimony of the company's expert and the evidence he relied on to support his opinions were unreliable (United States of America v. NCR Corporation, et al., No. 10-C-910, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142301).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Evidence Falls Short, Defendants Say In Objecting To Magistrate Judge Report

WILMINGTON, Del. - A magistrate judge's report recommending against granting summary judgment relies on circumstantial evidence of asbestos exposure similar to evidence that secured such relief for several other defendants, two defendants told a federal judge on Oct. 19 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Arthur Dumas v. ABB Group Inc., et al., No. 13-229, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137291).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Default Judgment Entered In N.C. Liquid Nicotine, Trademark Dispute

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Allegations that two individual defendants advertised and sold liquid nicotine products bearing several famous trademarks were accepted as true on Oct. 16, when a North Carolina federal judge granted Reynolds Innovations Inc. (RII) a default judgment (Reynolds Innovations Inc. v. Smoke Anywhere for Penny's LLC, No. 15-273, W.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 2 Defendants Seek Review Of Ruling That Puerto Rico's MTBE Claims Stand

NEW YORK - Two of the defendants in the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico against a group of gasoline companies on Oct. 15 filed a brief in New York federal court seeking reconsideration of a district court's ruling that the statute of limitations has not run on the commonwealth's claim (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 07 Civ. 10470, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Property Owner's Statute Of Limitations Defense Meritless

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 14 ruled that the current owner of an industrial and commercial property's statute of limitations defense against a counterclaimant's cost recovery claim under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act is meritless because the current owner was unable to show that the lawsuit is time-barred under the three-year statute for removal actions or the six-year statute for remedial actions (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corp., et al., No. 10-cv-05105, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140047).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge Grants Request For Lone Pine Order In Contamination Suit

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Forty-nine plaintiffs claiming that contamination from a site formerly operated by Hercules Inc. has migrated onto their properties, resulting in diminished property values and exposure to hazardous materials, must submit an affidavit from an expert demonstrating a contamination migration pathway between the site and the property, as well as laboratory analysis confirming the existence of constituents on the property, a federal magistrate judge in Mississippi ruled Oct. 16 in granting the defendant company's request for the entry of a Lone Pine case management order (Willie M. Ashford, et al. v. Hercules Inc., No. 15cv27-KS-MTP, S.D. Miss.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141011).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Appoints Special Master To Oversee Mercury Cleanup In Maine River

BANGOR, Maine - A federal judge in Maine on Oct. 16 named Susan Calkins as the special master to oversee potential remedies Mallinckrodt U.S. LLC should fund to remediate mercury contamination in the Penebscot River and entered an order stating that an engineering firm will be retained to identify and evaluate potential active remedies to speed the recovery of the area (Maine People's Alliance, et al. v. Holtrachem Manufacturing Company LLC, et al., No. 00-cv-00069-JAW, D. Maine; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140853).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Split Maryland High Court: Lead Plaintiff's Doctor May Testify As An Expert

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A divided Maryland Court of Appeals on Oct. 16 reversed a ruling by an intermediate appellate court that affirmed a trial court's exclusion of a medical expert in a lead-paint poisoning case, concluding that the expert was qualified to testify as to causation (Jakeem Roy v. Elliot Dackman, et al., No. 6, Sept. Term 2015; 2015 Md. LEXIS 717).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Disability, Agent Orange Claim Dismissed On Jurisdictional Grounds

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Oct. 13 dismissed a man's claim for disability pay from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Agent Orange exposure and cancer treatment, contending that his lawsuit alleging violation of his due process rights was filed in the wrong jurisdiction (Floyd L. Williamson v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, et al., No. 15-00806, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138996).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Denies Property Owner's Motion To Dismiss Tainted Groundwater Lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge presiding over the lawsuit brought by the current owner of a contaminated property that has subsequently resulted in groundwater tainted with toxins ruled Oct. 14 that a group owning 28 acres on a portion of the property in question lacks affirmative defenses barring the lawsuit (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation, No. 10-05105, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140047).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Circuit Panel Denies Agent Orange Appeal For Lack Of Jurisdiction

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel in the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 14 dismissed an appeal brought by a woman who contended that her husband was poisoned, and later died, as a result of exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam, ruling that the court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal (Lucy B. Gabriel v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 2015-7091, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17821).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Appoints Special Master To Help Find Proper Remedy For Illegal Discharges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Oct. 14 appointed a special master to help determine a proper remedy for Fola Coal Co. LLC's illegal discharges of ionic pollution, ruling that remedies proposed by the company and environmental groups are complex and costly (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Fola Coal Company LLC, No. 13-5006, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139507).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit: Original, Replacement Asbestos Parts Evidence Insufficient

PASADENA, Calif. - General testimony of asbestos exposure from pump gaskets without more evidence of who manufactured those parts does not create issues of material fact, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 14 (Jeffrey J. Lannes v. Flowserve U.S. Inc., et al. [Warren Pumps Inc.], Nos. 13-56391, 13-56393, 15-56397, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Railroad Defendants: Vinyl Chloride Spill Case Should Stay In District Court

CAMDEN, N.J. - The railroad company defendants being sued by a group of New Jersey residents seeking damages related to a vinyl chloride spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek on Oct. 9 filed a brief in federal court, arguing that the District Court should retain jurisdiction over the case (In Re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D.N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Water Company: More iscovery Needed In C8 Injury Case Against DuPont

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The water company in Ohio that is suing E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. for the costs associated with remediating drinking water that was contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) on Oct. 12 filed a brief in federal court, arguing that more discovery is needed in the case (The Little Hocking Water Association Inc. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 09-1081, S.D. Ohio).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas Supreme Court Grants Petition In Dispute Over Tobacco Fees

AUSTIN, Texas - The imposition of a fee on cigarette manufacturers not part of the 1998 nationwide settlement of deceptive advertising and antitrust claims levied against four major tobacco companies will be debated before the Supreme Court of Texas, which granted a petition for review on Oct. 9 (Glenn Hegar, et al. v. Texas Small Tobacco Coalition, et al., No. 14-0747, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 10th Circuit Reverses, Remands Inmate's Tainted Water Case; Some Claims Valid

DENVER - A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 8 partially reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling, calling for further proceedings on an inmate's claims for relief with regard to his allegations that he was forced to drink water contaminated with uranium because prison officials failed to act properly (Tyrone Walker v. John W. Hickenlooper, et al., No. 14-1462, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17727).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - California Jury Returns Defense Verdict For 2 In Oil Refinery Asbestos Case

OAKLAND, Calif. - A California jury on Oct. 7 returned a verdict for two companies accused of exposing a man to asbestos at an oil refinery, sources told Mealey Publications (James Harkin v. John Crane Inc., No. RG15758794, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - South Carolina Jury Tacks $2M In Punitive Damages On To $12M Asbestos Award

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - A South Carolina jury on Oct. 8 added $2 million to a $12 million punitive damages award in a case alleging that a machinist suffered exposure to asbestos from materials company Celanese Corp. (Dennis Seay v. 3M Co., et al., No. 2013CP4203915, S.C. Cir., 7th Jud. Cir., Spartanburg Co.).