2 Pegasus Oil Spill Putative Class Actions Survive Dismissal Motions

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Two putative class action lawsuits seeking property damage compensation stemming from the rupture of Exxon Mobil Corp.'s Pegasus pipeline that inundated Mayflower, Ark., with heavy Canadian tar stands oil survived motions to dismiss Oct. 31 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern...

Court Affirms Expert Rulings, Asbestos Verdict For Auto Companies

LOS ANGELES - A trial judge did not err in barring an asbestos expert from testifying regarding publications not in evidence nor in limiting cross-examination of two defense witnesses in a trial netting a defense verdict for automobile manufacturers, a California appeals panel held Oct. 30 (Christie...

Rhode Island Judge: Plaintiff May Have Defendants' Photos From Site, Not Documents

BRIDGEPORT, R.I. - A widow is entitled to photographs taken during a walkthrough of a facility where asbestos exposure allegedly occurred but has not shown sufficient need to obtain copies of requested documents, a Rhode Island judge held Nov. 6 (Gloria Cary, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al....

New York Justice Affirms Ruling Allowing Deposition Of Expert In Italy

NEW YORK - An unclear mesothelioma diagnosis warrants deposing a treating physician who moved to Italy, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Nov. 7 (John W. Adler v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190392-2012, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5101).

West Virginia Supreme Court Reverses Orders Excluding Plaintiff's Causation Experts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 13 that a trial court judge abuses his discretion when he determines, in the course of disposing of motions in limine, that the opinions of the disputed experts are right or wrong (Deborah Kay Harris v. CSX Transportation Inc....

5th Circuit Affirms Expert Exclusion, Summary Judgment In Painter's Benzene Case

NEW ORLEANS - A trial court correctly excluded testimony linking a painter's multiple myeloma to workplace exposure to benzene because the expert assumed facts substantially different from the undisputed record, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 15 (Craig Moore, et al. v. International...

Judgment Grants Veterans Of U.S. Weapons Testing Notices Of Risk, Medical Care

OAKLAND, Calif. - Final judgment was entered Nov. 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the certified class action pursued on behalf of some 100,000 veterans exposed to biological and chemical agents during experiments conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense, Army...

R.I. Judge Reverses Course, To Conduct In Camera Review Of Bankruptcy Submissions

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - In camera review of asbestos bankruptcy trust forms is necessary to determine whether they contain discoverable evidence of a man's exposure to Crane Co.'s products, a Rhode Island judge held Nov. 18 in an order granting reconsideration (Rosie K. Sweredoski, et al. v. Alfa...

Magistrate Judge Finds Groups Properly Asserted Privilege Over Documents

PITTSBURGH - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania overseeing discovery in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) lawsuit on Nov. 22 denied a renewed motion to compel filed by a defendant company, finding that it was unable to show that the plaintiff groups waived privilege over documents...

Michigan Appeals Court Reverses $3.8M Sanction Against Environmental Agency

LANSING, Mich. - A Michigan Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 26 reversed a trial court's order requiring the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment to pay $3.8 million in attorney fees and expert witness costs as a sanction for egregious conduct by its counsel, finding that it is...

N.C. Court Affirms Admission Of Experts Testifying On Their Area Of Expertise

RALEIGH, N.C. - A workers' compensation commission properly admitted the testimony of a veterinarian on the issue of animal studies in an asbestos-related esophageal cancer case, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held Dec. 3 (Paulette Smith Wise, executor of the estate of Harvey Smith v. Alcoa...

Pennsylvania Appeals Panel Affirms Exclusion Of Expert In Chemical Exposure Suit

HARRISBURG - A unanimous Pennsylvania Superior Court panel issued an opinion Dec. 6 affirming summary judgment against the widow of a contractor employee who alleges that her late husband contracted cancer as a result of chemical exposure at a Rohm & Haas Co. facility in suburban Philadelphia; the...

Judge: 'Identified Exposure' Testimony Differs From 'Each And Every Exposure'

SEATTLE - An expert's testimony that each "identified exposure" to asbestos substantially contributes to mesothelioma differs from the type of "each and every" exposure challenged by a defendant, a Washington federal judge held Dec. 13 in allowing trial testimony from three experts...

11th Circuit Affirms Document Discovery Ruling For Ecuador

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 18 affirmed a decision requiring an expert to produce certain documents for use in foreign proceedings, finding that the materials did not contain any core opinion work product of Chevron Corp.'s attorneys (Republic of Ecuador, et al. v. Chevron...

New York City Housing Authority Settles Tenant's Mold-Related Claims

NEW YORK - The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on Dec. 17 announced that it has reached an agreement with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to settle a class action filed by tenants who claim that their apartments contain mold, resulting in a plan to resolve the widespread mold issues...

Jury Deadlocks In Marine-Parts Asbestos Exposure Case

SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge declared a mistrial in an asbestos action after the jury reported Dec. 16 that it was deadlocked and that additional deliberation was unlikely to change the result (Joanne K. Lipson, et al. v. ON Marine Services Co. LLC, Ferro Engineering Division, No. 13-1747, W...

11th Circuit Panel Affirms Chevron Must Produce Notes Of Lago Agrio Lawsuit Expert

ATLANTA - A unanimous 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed the issuance of an order compelling Chevron Corp. and one of its experts to produce some 1,200 documents to the Republic of Ecuador to permit the country to defend the $9 billion judgment against Chevron in the Lago Agrio litigation...

Florida Appeals Court: Engle Opt Out Does Not Enjoy Class Tolling

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An estate whose representative opted out of Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) and failed to file her wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations may not take advantage of claim tolling offered by class membership, Florida's First District Court...

Motions To Dismiss Claims Against Coal, Gas, Electricity Defendants Granted In Part

MUSKOGEE, Okla. - Defense motions to dismiss a first amended class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Oklahoma alleging air, soil and water contamination from the disposal of oil and natural gas well completion waste and coal combustion waste were dismissed in part...

New York Justice Bars Asbestos Expert From Testifying On Talc Contamination

NEW YORK - A plaintiffs' expert modified a widely accepted testing criteria before concluding that a defendant's talc contained asbestos, a New York justice held Jan. 9 in precluding James Millette's testimony under Frye (Lawrence Bernard and Marilyn Bernard, et al. v. Brookfield Properties...

Divided 5th Circuit Panel Affirms Approval Of Gulf Oil Spill Settlement

NEW ORLEANS - A 2-1 panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 affirmed a decision by the federal judge in Louisiana overseeing claims stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to approve a $9.2 billion settlement agreement...

Judge: EPA Need Not Produce Records For In Camera Review

DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Jan. 8 granted in part an environmental group's motion for summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, finding that some information withheld by the agency was not protected by the work product...

9th Circuit Finds Judge Failed To Properly Vet Asbestos Experts, Testimony

SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge impermissibly delegated his role as gatekeeper under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 $(1993$)) to the jury when he admitted two experts and "each and every" exposure testimony in an asbestos case that produced a $10.2 million verdict, a...

Rhode Island Judge Allows Replacement Naval Expert's Trial Testimony

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - An asbestos plaintiff's quick disclosure of a replacement naval expert and the long time before trial warrants allowing the expert's trial testimony, a Rhode Island judge held Jan. 15 (Rosie K. Sweredoski, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 2011-1544, R.I. Super., Providence...

Class Certification Vacated For Residents Near Refinery Leak

CHICAGO - Certification of a class of southern Illinois residents who claim that the value of their properties was affected by an underground plume from the leak of benzene-contaminated petroleum products from a nearby refinery was vacated Jan. 17 by the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which said...