OTTAWA, Ill. - In a majority ruling, an Illinois appeals court on March 4 found that a trial court erred when it failed to award the purchasers of a property damages for mold remediation, finding that the evidence showed that mold growth was caused by flooding in the property's basement (Jaclyn S. Patten, et al. v. Deborah C. Skiles, et al., No. 3-13-0849, Ill. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 412).
NEW YORK - After finding that mold and other issues were the result of a tenant's failure to maintain an apartment, a New York court on March 4 ordered that the owner of the property be granted access to cure the condition (ROC Century Associates LLC v. Chittampalli Seshacchar Narayanan Srinivasaraghavan Vasumathi Narayanan a/k/a RAJAM I. SRINIVASAN 510 W 110TH STREET, APT. 11F NEW YORK, NY 10025, et al., No. 78931/2014, N.Y. Civil, Kings Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 617).
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman on March 5 announced that ExxonMobil Corp. will pay $225 million to remediate contamination resulting from refinery operations at sites in Bayonne, N.J., and Lindenin N.J.
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing litigation over groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on March 5 awarded summary judgment to ExxonMobil Corp., after finding that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico could not establish claims for negligence and strict liability because it could not show that the company supplied gasoline to five test sites that tested positive for contamination (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.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28013).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following up on its Feb. 24 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 9 ordered Nebraska to pay Kansas $5.5 million within 60 days for taking too much water from the Republican River Basin in 2005 and 2006 (Kansas v. Nebraska, et al., No. 126, Original, U.S. Sup.).
LAKE CHARLES, La. - A man who purchased seven tracts of land following the expiration of mineral leases provided to 12 companies cannot pursue claims seeking remediation of the properties, a Louisiana appeals panel ruled March 4, affirming a ruling awarding summary judgment to the defendants (Vincent Charles Bundrick, et al. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp., et al., No. 14-993, La. App., 3rd Cir.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A man may pursue his asbestos-exposure action based on his testimony regarding work aboard ships and schematics suggesting the presence of asbestos, a New Jersey appeals court held March 3 (Henry W. Latter Jr., et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. A-2714-13T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 425).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A regulatory agency in the State of California on March 3 announced that it had ordered the closure of 12 underground injection wells used by hydraulic fracturing companies. The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) said the wells needed to be closed to protect groundwater aquifers.
WHEELING, W.Va. - The federal judge in West Virginia presiding over the royalty dispute between a group of West Virginia landowners and a hydraulic fracturing company regarding allegations that the company failed to pay the landowners' royalties pursuant to their leases, on March 2 referred the plaintiffs' motion to compel discovery to a magistrate judge (Patrick D. Leggett, et al. v. EQT Production Company, et al., No. 13-0004, N.D. W.Va.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma residents who contend that they were injured from exposure to radioactive waste from a chemical plant operated by Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) on March 3 denied the residents class certification (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on Feb. 27 certified a class of Minneapolis homeowners suing General Mills Inc. (GMI) for alleged contamination in the neighborhood near a former GMI facility (Karl Ebert, et al. v. General Mills, Inc., No. 13-3341, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23736).
SEATTLE - A shipbuilder's reliance on rulings in the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation ignores that even the multidistrict litigation judge agreed that circumstantial evidence can be used to establish causation, a federal judge in Washington held March 2 in denying rehearing (Connie M. McCrossin, et al. v. IMO Industries Inc., et al., No. 14-5382, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24952).
HOLLISTER, Calif. - A hydraulic fracturing company on March 3 filed a complaint in California state court seeking declaratory judgment against the County of San Benito, contending that the county's ordinance banning fracking is preempted by state law (Citadel Exploration Inc. v. County of San Benito, No. 15-00028, Calif. Super., San Benito Co.).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Residents living near a former thermostat and building controls manufacturing facility operated by Johnson Controls Inc. can pursue a claim that the company violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by contributing to an imminent and substantial danger to human health and the environment through its disposals of trichloroethylene (TCE), a federal judge in Indiana ruled March 2 in denying in part the company's motion to dismiss (Ronald Schmucker, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., et al., No. 14-CV-1593-JD, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24591).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Senate on Feb. 27 unanimously adopted legislation requiring plaintiffs to submit sworn statements disclosing asbestos bankruptcy trust submissions and taking other measures that will allegedly contribute to transparency in the process.
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin appellate panel on Feb. 26 affirmed a lower court's decision to impose sanctions and revoke an attorney's pro hac vice status in lawsuit pertaining to a dispute over a contract for the supply of frack sand on grounds that the parties acted in bad faith (In the Matter of Sanctions in Minerals Development & Supply Company Inc. v. Hunton & Williams LLP, No. 2014AP287, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 154).
NEW YORK - A brake-grinding machine manufacturer must face liability for a man's exposure from asbestos-containing brakes used in conjunction with the grinder, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Feb. 27 (Linda Vellucci, as executrix of the heirs and estates of John Vellucci v. Borg Warner Corp., et al., No. 190201/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 518).
DALLAS - A Texas appeals court on Feb. 27 affirmed a trial court's decision grating summary judgment in favor of a real estate firm in relation to a condominium owner's claims that her unit contained mold, finding that it did not err in refusing her additional time for discovery (Michelle Manatou v. Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc., No. 05-13-01035, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 1942).
NEW ORLEANS - A man submits no evidence indicating that his father suffered exposure to asbestos-containing friction products originating with three automobile manufacturers, a federal judge in Louisiana held Feb. 25 (Scott Laurent v. City of New Orleans, et al., No. 14-2022, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22867).
SAN FRANCISCO - The California federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by a nonprofit group consisting of commercial fishermen and buyers in the San Francisco Bay against a utility company they contend has contaminated soil, groundwater and the bay through its operation of manufactured gas plants (MGPs) on Feb. 26 denied the utility's motion to dismiss on grounds that the company did not meet its burden to show that the claims are faulty (San Francisco Herring Association v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 14-04393, N.D. Calif.; 2105 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24306).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York presiding over a drinking water contamination lawsuit on Feb. 27 granted the Bethpage Water District (BWD) permission to amend its complaint against two companies it contends are liable for damages caused by the release of hazardous substances in drinking water, ruling that amended the complaint would not "unduly prejudice" the defendants (Bethpage Water District v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, et al., No. 13-6362, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24051).
ST. LOUIS - The federal judge presiding over a resident's personal injury lawsuit against contractors pertaining to alleged exposure to radioactive material related to the Manhattan Engineering Project near the St. Louis Airport on Feb. 27 denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the record needs to be developed further to determine whether the statute of limitations applies to the plaintiffs' claims (Scott D. McClurg, et al. v. MI Holdings Inc., et al., No. 12-361 [consolidated], E.D. Mo.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas water authority cannot use the state's Expedite Declaratory Judgment Act to clear the way for a water project, a panel of the Third District Texas Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 26 (Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority v. Texas Attorney General, et al., No. 03-14-00393-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 1795).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - An Illinois appeals court on Feb. 25 heard arguments over whether a jury's $1,443,810.53 asbestos verdict can stand in the face of challenges to the verdict form's lack of itemization and references to a leasee's nearby use of asbestos (In re: Estate of Lilienthal, No. 4-14-0280, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).
NEW YORK - Ford USA acted as a "global guardian" of the brand and cannot escape liability for Ford UK asbestos-containing parts, but New York courts lack jurisdiction over the foreign company, a New York appeals court held Feb. 26 (Raymond Finerty, et al. v. Abex Corp., et al., No. 190187/10 14344 14343, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).