OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents on April 25 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court arguing that a district court's "way forward" of joining all claims against a zinc smelter related to groundwater contamination into a single trial "is the most elegant and thoughtful way to conduct an efficient and just trial" (Helen Briggs, et al. v. Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc., No. 13-1157, W.D. Okla.).
BALTIMORE - A man's asbestos-related exposures occurring during work covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provide his employer with immunity from third-party claims, a federal judge in Maryland held April 25 in granting a railroad summary judgment (Charles Lemuel Arbogast Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 14-4049, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62255).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A company defending an asbestos action may conduct destructive fiber burden analysis testing of pathology materials, a federal judge in Louisiana held April 26 (William D. Coleman v. Anco Insulations Inc., et al., No. 15-821, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62987).
NEW ORLEANS - Removing a case alleging negligence arising from a shipbuilder's alleged discretionary use of asbestos requires more than a simple showing that the U.S. Navy mandated use of the mineral since the claims stem not from its presence, but from its misuse, a federal judge in Louisiana said April 25 (Stephen R. Legendre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-02162, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62364).
SAN FRANCISCO - An expert's knowledge regarding U.S. Navy practices and procedures qualifies him to testify that the asbestos-containing insulation to which a man was exposed was likely original to the boilers in question, and he need not have firsthand knowledge, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 26 (Geraldine Hilt, et al. v. Foster Wheeler LLC, FKA Foster Wheeler Corp., No. 15-17301, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on April 25 transferred two more glyphosate injury lawsuits to the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products liability litigation in California federal court (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
MIAMI - A chemical company sued over its past asbestos dealings argues for a jurisdictional doctrine that would create an explosion of asbestos litigation and effectively leave it open to suit only in the state where it is incorporated, an "absurd" result, a widow told the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals April 26 (James John Waite Jr. and Sandra Waite v. AII Acquisition Corp., et al., No. 16-15569, 11th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri man who sued Monsanto Co. for allegedly causing his non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) through the manufacturing and distribution of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, on April 25 filed a brief in Missouri federal court arguing that the district court should reconsider the stay it issued pending a determination on transfer to the multidistrict litigation because the case does not need to be transferred (Steve Salvaggio, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 17-1113, E.D. Mo.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama did not err in admitting expert testimony that all significant asbestos exposures contribute to mesothelioma nor in concluding that an employer can be liable for exposing household members to asbestos, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 26 (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 12-S-1930, N.D. Ala., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130741).
NEW YORK - A judge in New York federal court on April 25 vacated a default judgment against an oil company that was a third-party defendant in a groundwater contamination lawsuit on grounds that there was "excusable neglect" with regard to its failure to answer the complaint and appear in court (White Plains Housing Authority v. Getty Properties Corp. and Getty Properties Corp., et al. v. Marianina Oil Corp., No. 13-6282, S.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62705).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An appeals court erred in concluding that because a man's asbestos exposure occurred prior to marriage, his widow cannot pursue a statutory loss of consortium claim, the woman told the Florida Supreme Court April 21 (Janis Kelly, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific LLC, et al., No. SC17-714, Fla. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 25 remanded a suit in which the United States alleged that several tobacco companies misled the public about the harmfulness of cigarettes to a district court with instructions to alter preambles the lower court had instructed tobacco companies to attach to a corrective statement about the harmfulness of smoking to cigarette packages and on websites of cigarette companies (United States of America, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 16-5101, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7225).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida on April 24 found for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in a suit in which a woman claimed that the tobacco company was responsible for her husband's laryngeal cancer and subsequent death because it intentionally hid the dangers of smoking from him (Doris Shadd v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008CA038631, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 ruled that the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) did not apply in a putative class action related to the Flint water crisis, and it reversed a district court's decision sending the case back to state court (Tiffany Davenport, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc., et al., No. 17-1200, 6th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7273).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A jury's finding that Ford Motor Co. did not fail to warn about the dangers of asbestos-containing replacement brakes makes the question of liability for third-party parts irrelevant, Delaware's top court held April 21 (In re: Asbestos Litigation Donna F. Walls, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., No. 389, 2016, Del. Sup.).
ST. LOUIS - Recent Missouri Supreme Court precedent finding that registration in the state does not constitute consent to jurisdiction warrants reconsideration of an earlier ruling in an asbestos case and granting the company's motion to dismiss, a federal judge in Missouri said April 21 (Diane MacCormack, Nancy Broudy, and Karen Loftus, as personal representatives of Berj Hovsepian v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. 16-414, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60898).
NEW YORK - Requiring experts to actually sample and test the release of asbestos fibers from products would be fatal to almost all cases, given the lack of existing products to test and their inherent hazards, a New York justice held in allowing the testimony of three experts in an opinion posted April 20 (Jeanne Evans, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190109/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida jury on April 21 awarded the widow of a smoker in a tobacco suit a total of $12 million in punitive damages, bringing the total award against a tobacco company to $15 million (Mary Lima v. R.J. Reynolds, et al., No. 2015CA007140, Fla. Cir., 13th Jud. Cir. Hillsborough Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 reversed a $36 million judgment entered against an insurer in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that an asbestos exclusion is not ambiguous and bars coverage for underlying asbestos-related claims filed against the insured (General Refractories Company v. First State Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3409, 3rd Cir.).
NEW YORK - Because a federal court's ruling enforcing a permanent anti-suit injunction issued as part of a $5.5 billion settlement in the Chapter 11 case of Tronox Inc. is not a final order, it cannot be appealed by 4,300 individuals who say they were injured from the company's operation of a wood-treatment plant in Pennsylvania, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 20 (Avoca plaintiffs, et al. v. Kerr-McGee Corp., et al., No. 16-343, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6949).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on April 19 remanded a class action lawsuit alleging groundwater contamination by a group of defendant chemical companies, ruling that the local exception to federal class action law applied (MD Haynes Inc. d/b/a Cici's Pizza, et al. v. Valero Marketing and Supply Co., et al., No. 17-6, S.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist., LEXIS 59495).
DETROIT - Consumers who purchased Volkswagen vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests cannot seek restitution from the auto manufacturer as part of criminal proceedings brought by the federal government against the company because it would unduly prolong the sentencing process, a federal judge in Michigan ruled April 21 (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on April 21 ordered Volkswagen AG to pay a $2.8 billion fine for equipping its diesel vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests after the company pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - Substantial evidence supports an industrial commission's conclusion that a mechanic's last injurious exposure to asbestos occurred during his work at his own business, a North Carolina appeals panel held April 18 (Melissa Lovelace, et al. v B&R Auto Service Inc., et al., No. COA16-1045, N.C. App., 2017 N.C. App. LEXIS 310).
DES MOINES, Iowa - Counsel's "continuous disregard" for rulings excluding evidence of how much a defendant spent defending asbestos actions and the application of the statute of repose requires a new trial, an Iowa appeals court held April 19 (Shari Kinseth and Ricky Kinseth, et al. v. Weil-McLain Co., and State of Iowa, ex. Rel. Civil Reparations Trust Fund, No. 15-0943, Iowa App.; 2017 Iowa App. LEXIS 363).