CAMDEN, N.J. - The federal judge in New Jersey presiding over claims brought by residents who say they were injured as a result of a vinyl chloride spill into Mantua Creek on Oct. 17 ruled that the majority of a transcript pertaining to settlement transactions could not be sealed (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases [Karen Armistead v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 13-2358], Master Docket No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
NEW ORLEANS - Saying she is "highly suspicious" of the motive behind adding a diversity-defeating asbestos defendant after removal and just before a motion for remand, a federal magistrate judge in Lousiana declined a motion to file a supplemental and amended complaint on Oct. 17 (Nolan Legeaux, et al. v. Borg-Warner Corp., et al., No. 16-13773, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143241).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals court on Oct. 19 affirmed a judge's ruling setting aside a $10.3 million Jones Act asbestos verdict against a cruise line (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 3D 15-356, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).
DETROIT - A class of Michigan residents on Oct. 18 filed a putative class action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief "to vindicate the rights" of school-age children residing in Flint, Mich., who currently have disabilities, or who are at risk of developing them, due to elevated levels of lead in the drinking water (D.R., as a minor through parent and next friend Dawn Richardson, et al. v. Michigan Department of Education, et al., No. 16-cv-13694, E.D. Mich.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Having found that American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care initiative is not an industry standard and does not impose an independent duty of care on a chemical distributor, a West Virginia federal judge on Oct. 13 excluded expert testimony on the initiative from both the distributor and plaintiffs accusing it of contaminating their water supply (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Company Inc., et al., No. 14-01374, S.D. W.Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141865).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A group of residents on Oct. 14 filed a brief in a Tennessee federal court arguing that it should certify a class action against CSX Transportation Inc. and another railroad company related to a spill of toxic chemicals that resulted from a train derailment based on the need to evacuate the residential area surrounding the site (Charles Tipton, et al. v. CSX Transportation Inc., et al., No. 15-311, E.D. Tenn.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - One of the defendants being sued in connection with injuries suffered by two workers when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation filed an answer and counterclaim in Oklahoma federal court on Oct. 14, contending that the plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and that it is entitled to immunity under the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Act (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al., and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).
NEW YORK - A boilermaker pointed to alleged holes in a take-home asbestos case but never introduced evidence demonstrating why the plaintiff could not have suffered exposure when his draftsman engineer father worked around its products, a New York appeals court held Oct. 13 (Mark Ricci v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190224/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6641).
SAN FRANCISCO - A woman cannot hold a manufacturer liable for third-party asbestos-containing parts and has not shown that any alleged exposure constitutes a substantial factor in her decedent's disease, a boiler maker told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal Oct. 12 (Geraldine Hilt, et al. v. Foster Wheeler LLC, FKA Foster Wheeler Corp., No. 15-17301, 9th Cir.).
LENEXA, Kan. - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Oct. 13 that an Iowa-based meat and poultry distributor has agreed to pay $43,000 for excessive discharges of stormwater into Hecker Creek.
DETROIT - A group of defendants in a putative class action filed by residents of Flint, Mich., contending that various state officials are liable for injuries that have stemmed from exposure to lead-contaminated drinking water moved in Michigan federal court to have the case dismissed on grounds that they are covered by sovereign immunity and federal law pertaining to drinking water "provides a comprehensive remedial scheme which precludes all claims" (Lawrence Washington, Jr., et al. v. Governor Richard Dale Snyder, et al., No. 16- 11247, E.D. Mich.).
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on Oct.13 affirmed a defense verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the trial judge did not err by including a question about Philip Morris USA Inc.'s fault on the verdict form over the plaintiff's objections (Jose Vila v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 3D15-1853, Fla. App. 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 15126).
LOS ANGELES - A German tobacco glass pipe maker on Oct. 11 filed suit in California federal court against a retail smoke shop, claiming that the shop has sold and continues to sell counterfeit products made by the pipe maker without its express permission (Sream Inc. v. MP Tobacco Inc., No. 5:16-cv-2143, C.D. Calif.).
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Unified Port District (SDUPD) on Oct. 11 filed a lawsuit in California federal court against the U.S. government, seeking cost recovery and damages related to alleged contamination of the port and the groundwater around it with industrial waste (San Diego Unified Port District v. United States of America, No. 16-2540, S.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - An environmental group on Oct. 12 filed a brief in New York federal court seeking a summary judgment ruling against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly missing a deadline to propose final regulations for perchlorate in drinking water pursuant to Congress' instructions in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) (Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-1251, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Oct. 11 that four companies have agreed to pay $3.5 million for criminal violations of the Clean Air Act as a result of releases of hazardous pollutants at two oil- and chemical-processing facilities in Texas.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Oct. 10 moved in Ohio federal court to bifurcate the next bellwether trial regarding alleged injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) into two distinct phases, one for compensatory liability and damages and the other for punitive liability and damages (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
NEW ORLEANS - Studies conducted in a more confined environment than the workplace in question are admissible because such evidence need not fit the facts of the case precisely under Daubert, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 11 in largely declining to reject an asbestos expert's testimony (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a group of tobacco companies' petition for writ of certiorari to review a case involving the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between a group of tobacco companies and states over whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts state law (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 15-1299, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a petition for writ of certiorari from tobacco companies seeking a review on the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and whether a Maryland appellate court erred by invalidating a multi-hundred-million-dollar arbitration award involving multiple states and a group of tobacco companies stemming from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al v. The State of Maryland, No. 15-1537, U.S. Sup.).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 11 denied petitions from the State of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation seeking an en banc review of a July 27 ruling in which the panel held that a Canadian company's emissions from its smelter cannot be considered a disposal of hazardous waste under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Joseph Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., No. 15-35228, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York appellate court on Oct. 6 reduced two awards in asbestos cases but said the evidence otherwise supported the verdicts against Crane Co. (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation; Laraine Sweberg, etc. v. ABB Inc., et al., Crane Co., No. 190017/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A septic tank installer's conviction for discharging an estimated 1,000 gallons of raw sewage into Wildcat Creek in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) was affirmed by a federal judge in Kentucky on Oct. 6, after he found that the government's circumstantial evidence was still sufficient to support the jury's finding (United States of America v. David Giles, No. 16-cr-0004-GFVT-REW, E.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139072).
NEW YORK - A widow must accept a $4.25 million award for past pain and suffering in an asbestos case or face retrial on the issue, a New York appeals court said Oct. 6 while otherwise rejecting Crane Co.'s challenge to the verdict (Ivana Peraica, etc., et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., Crane Co., No. 190339/11, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The judge presiding over litigation brought against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries stemming from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Oct. 7 ruled that the company is compelled to supplement its discovery requests but held that it would not be subject to sanctions as had been requested by the plaintiffs (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).