NEW YORK - The evidence largely supports a jury's asbestos verdict, but the five plaintiffs originally awarded a record-setting $190 million verdict must stipulate to just under $30 million in damages or face a new trial on the issue, according to documents filed Feb. 9 in a New York court (Santo Assenzio v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Robert Brunck v A.O. Smith Water Products, Paul Levy v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Cesar Serna v A.O. Smith Water Products, Raymond Vincent v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Nos. 190008/12, 190026/12, 190200/12, 190183/12, 190184/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Testimony from co-workers that came after defendants ceased using asbestos in their products is irrelevant and requires granting three summary judgment motions in an asbestos-friction case, a federal judge held Feb. 10 (Donna Franklin, et al. v. Caterpillar Inc., et al., No. 13-888, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15768).
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge did not err in applying Texas asbestos causation law to one set of defendants and California's standard to another, nor in concluding that the stricter Texas standard warrants summary judgment, a California appeals court held Feb. 10 (Doyle Green & Yvonne Green v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. A134983, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3).
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - A New York jury on Feb. 10 awarded a man $10.55 million for asbestos exposure he suffered while working with R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. talc at a summer job he took during high school, sources told Mealey's Publications (Katherine Chisholm, et al. v. R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc., et al., No. 2012-1056, N.Y. Sup., Schenectady Co.).
MILWAUKEE - A man lacks evidence to overcome summary judgment to asbestos-containing paper or pipe manufacturers, a Wisconsin appeals court panel affirmed Feb. 10 (Todd A. Alexander, et al. v. Auer Steel & Heating Co., et al., No. 2014AP335, Wis. App.; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 95).
CARSON CITY, Nev. - In a 6-1 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court on Feb. 6 said it lacked jurisdiction over a controversial water pipeline project because a district court judge's underlying decision was not final and appealable (Jason King, et al. v. Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Behalf of Cleveland Ranch, et al., No. 64815, Nev. Sup.).
DETROIT - The federal government's motion for judgment on the pleadings against third-party claims brought by a defendant in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit was granted Feb. 10 by a federal judge in Michigan who held that Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. (MichCon) could not pursue its claim to recover costs it voluntarily spent to remediate contamination from a property because it and the government are potentially responsible parties (PRPs) (Ford Motor Company, et al. v. Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, No. 08-13503, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15702).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California officials responsible for the conservation of natural resources and the protection of the state's drinking water on Feb. 6 sent a letter to the director of the water division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stating that by April 1, the Division of Gas, Oil and Geothermal Resources of the California Department of Conservation will initiate rulemaking to establish a regulatory compliance schedule to eliminate certain underground injection of hydraulic fracturing waste into "undisputedly non-exempt" drinking water aquifers statewide.
DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court on Feb. 9 declined to require that changes to water rights requires "requantification" of water used but said state water engineers can raise the issue of unused rights in the state's water courts (Concerning the Application for Water Rights of Sedalia Water and Sanitation District in Douglas County, et al., Dick Wolfe, P.E., et al. v. Sedalia Water and Sanitation District, et al., No. 14SA12, Colo. Sup.; 2015 Colo. LEXIS 71).
BALTIMORE - Chevron USA Inc. filed a lawsuit in Maryland federal court on Feb. 6 seeking $30 million in remediation costs and other relief against an oil company it alleges is liable for groundwater contamination caused by the discharge of petroleum hydrocarbons from an underground pipeline (Chevron USA Inc. v. Apex Oil Company Inc., et al., No. 15-00341, D. Md.).
NEW YORK - An executive's testimony regarding company asbestos practices before his arrival is conclusory absent the documents on which he claims he relied, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Feb. 6 (Madeline E. Izbicki, et al. v. Advance Auto Supply, No. 190140/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 281).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Feb. 6 remanded a lawsuit regarding Agent Orange benefits on grounds that the Board of Veterans Appeals failed to explain why it found that the widow of a veteran lacked credibility or probative weight in her request for compensation (Frankie J. Bowen v. Robert A. McDonald, No.13-3315, Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 145).
LOS ANGELES - A defendant company hired by Anheuser-Busch Inc. to design and construct holding tanks on a 21.1 acre site in California cannot pursue claims for cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) against two of its co-defendants, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 5, holding that the company could not seek cost recovery under the statute because it was a potentially responsible party (PRP) and because it did not release its liability to one of its co-defendants as part of a settlement with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) (Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles v. PCC Technical Industries Inc., et al., No. 11-1626, C.D. Calif.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A man's failure to file a timely motion to substitute himself as personal representative in a personal injury asbestos action bars a subsequently filed wrongful death action, a federal judge in North Carolina held Feb. 6 (Richard Eric Taylor, et al. v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 12-688, M.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14388).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico bankruptcy judge on Feb. 5 denied a request by objectors to retain the proceeds from the sale of a utility company because a state receiver allegedly undervalued the water rights belonging to a bankrupt company (In Re: Picacho Hills Utility Company, Inc., No. 13-10742, D. N.M. Bkcy.; 2015 Bankr. LEXIS 371).
DALLAS - An agreement tolling the statute of limitations in an asbestos action ended when with a decision on the constitutionality of retroactive application of a law shielding Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. from liability, a federal judge held Feb. 5 in dismissing a widow's case (William G. Lett and Maria Lett v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-860, Patricia Lusk, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-861, Debra White, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc. and Guardline Inc., No. 14-862, N.D. Texas).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A report issued Feb. 5 by an environmental group contends that despite a fracking ban in the State of New York, more than 460,000 tons of radioactive fracking waste has been dumped in the state because the governor has allowed fracking companies to dump their waste in New York.
FRESNO, Calif. - Defendant companies that sold gasoline containing the additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) at two stations in California did not intend to dispose of the chemical, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 4 in dismissing a lawsuit brought by the City of Merced Redevelopment Agency (RDA) against the companies (City of Merced Redevelopment Agency, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., No. 08 Civ. 06306, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 5 denied Consolidate Edison Company of New York Inc.'s motion to reconsider a ruling finding that some plaintiff companies can pursue contribution claims against the defendant under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Section 113(f), holding that Consolidated Edison provided no precedent to support its argument that the plaintiff companies' application to enter into a Brownfield Cleanup Agreement (BCA) with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not trigger the statute of limitations (HLP Properties LLC v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., No. 14 Civ. 01383, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14677).
NEW YORK - Sufficient evidence exists of a company's predecessors utilizing asbestos-containing products at the World Trade Center (WTC) during a man's time there, a New York appeals court held Feb. 5 (James Augustus Proctor and Joy C. Proctor v. Alcoa Inc., et al., No. 14153 190040/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 938).
ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 5 asked parties to explain why North Carolina residents' action alleging asbestos exposure largely in North Carolina should not be transferred to that state (Anthony Trezza and Peggy Trezza v. 84 Lumber Co., et al., No. 14-1282, E.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13740).
PHILADELPHIA - A couple's motion seeking reconsideration of judgments based on the "bare-metal defense" and to vacate application of maritime is untimely and meritless, the judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held Feb. 3 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, McAfee v. Various defendants, No. MDL 875, 13-6856, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fraudulent concealment of exposure evidence by asbestos personal injury attorneys "is far closer to the norm that the exception," a law professor said at a U.S. House subcommittee hearing Feb. 4 on the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, while one asbestos attorney testified that there is no significant fraud in the asbestos trust system and that the House bill is just another tactic of asbestos producers to delay payments to dying victims.
WILMINGTON, Del. - Delaware lacks jurisdiction over Dana Companies, and its actions in asbestos litigation did not waive the defense, a state judge held Jan. 30 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Thomas Anderson, et al. v. Dana Companies LLC, No. 13C-03-076, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
CHICAGO - Judgment for two companies in an asbestosis action precludes a widow's mesothelioma action against those same companies filed with the first action pending, a federal judge in Wisconsin held Feb. 3 (Beverly Ahnert, et al. v. Brand Insulation Inc., et al., No. 13-1456, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12403).