PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Nov. 20 determined that R.J. Reynolds was not liable for the death of a man whose widow had sought $10 million in damages based on her allegations that her husband died from coronary artery disease caused by an addiction to smoking cigarettes (Ann Cavalier v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2007-CA-023832, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir.).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Nov. 18 partially granted and partially dismissed a lawsuit brought by a woman against two companies she contended had contaminated the soil and groundwater near her home with various disposed chemicals, ruling that the facts of the case did not demonstrate a "credible" increase in the risk of cancer (Danielle Trujillo, et al. v. AMETEK Inc., et al., No. 15-1394, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156803).
PITTSBURGH - The Pennsylvania federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by environmental groups against PPG Industries Inc. for allegedly contaminating groundwater on Nov. 19 ruled that PPG is permitted to file a third-party complaint against the operator of a landfill where the company disposed of waste, which is the subject of the lawsuit (PennEnvironment, et al. v, PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156521).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 17 vacated a ruling denying a veteran's widow benefits for his exposure to Agent Orange and remanded the case to the Board of Veterans Appeals for it to consider additional evidence and arguments (Irma Griffin v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 14-2354, Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1554).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Manufacturers of Navy equipment are not liable for asbestos-containing replacement parts they neither manufactured nor supplied, and a widow lacks evidence her decedent came into contact with original parts more than a decade after the ship's commission, a federal judge held Nov. 17 (Carol Lee Stallings, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., et al., No. 12-724, W.D. Ky.).
TRENTON, N.J. - The Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) focuses on the equipment and preempts state law asbestos claims regardless of the operator, a New Jersey appellate court held in affirming summary judgment for five companies Nov. 19 (Estate of Sandra Brust and Philip Brust, et al. v. ACF Industries LLC, f/k/a American Care & Foundry Co., et al., No. A-3431-13T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 19 certified a question for the Texas Supreme Court as to whether an insured can pursue a private cause of action under Texas Insurance Code Chapter 541 if it is denied coverage by an insurer, holding that decisions from the state Supreme Court and its appellate courts have cast doubt on the vitality of the ruling in Vail v. Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. (754 S.W. 2d 129 [Texas Sup. 1988]) (In re Deepwater Horizon; Cameron International Corporation v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc., No. 14-31321, 5th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge should clarify that specific causation remains a requirement in an asbestos case and that a recent expert testimony ruling did not address it, Ford Motor Co. argues in a Nov. 17 motion (Leroy J. Mortimer and Cheryl Mortimer v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-4169, E.D. Pa.).
ST. LOUIS - A group of Arkansas residents who are suing Exxon Mobil Corp. for injuries related to easements for the company's Pegasus Pipeline on Nov. 16 filed a brief in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that a district court erred in decertifying a class and wrongly dismissed the class claims (Rudy F. Webb, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. 15-2879, 8th Cir.).
NEW YORK - The justice overseeing New York asbestos litigation issued an order to show cause Nov. 16 about why he should not quash a subpoena seeking to depose the author of a legal commentary published in Mealey's Asbestos Bankruptcy Report (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Cases, No. 040000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The U.S. Supreme Court rejects as an "unacceptable grasp" Delaware's policy of finding general jurisdiction from the simple process of registering to do business in the state, an asbestos defendant told the state's top court on Nov. 16 (International Paper Co. v. Mary Anne Hudson, No. 508, 2015, Del. Sup.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California judge who ruled that a deal under which a company would pay $350,000 to reimburse the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for costs the agency incurred in cleaning up arsenic, chromium and copper contamination at a former wood-preserving site in Elmira, Calif., was fair ordered the approval of the agreement on Nov. 16 (California Department of Toxic Substances Control, et al. v. Jim Dobbas Inc., et al., No. 14-595 WBS EFB, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154829).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A friction defendant freed by a jury of claims that it exposed a man to asbestos told a federal judge on Nov. 13 that an instruction on intervening cause does not require a new trial (Erik Ross Phillips and Tina Landers v. Pneumo Abex LLC and Reddaway Manufacturing Corporation Inc., No. 10-262, W.D. N.C.).
PHILADELPHIA - A manufacturer can be held liable under maritime law for asbestos-containing replacement parts where it designed its compressors with those parts in mind, a couple told the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 16 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, McAfee v. Various defendants, No. MDL 875, 13-6856, E.D. Pa.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Allegations of legal malpractice by the daughter of a smoker who failed to join the class of plaintiffs in Engle v. Liggett Grp. Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) should be dismissed as untimely pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a law firm and several of its attorneys argued Nov. 12 in a Florida federal court (Shirley Spooner v. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP et al., No. 15-1330, M.D. Fla.).
NEW ORLEANS - An employer failed in its efforts to refute a man's claim that it was the source of his last injurious exposure under the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 12 (Ramsay Scarlett & Co., Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, United States Department of Labor, Ferdinand J. Fabre Jr., No. 15-60112, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19733).
WHEELING, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Nov. 12 ruled that a number of underground coal companies alleging that Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to evaluate how the agency's enforcement of the statute is affecting jobs in the industry can depose the administrator after finding that the plaintiff companies were able to show that she has not delegated the responsibility to anyone else within the agency (Murray Energy Corporation, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-cv-39, N.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152914).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Nov. 13 ruled that a defendant company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act lawsuit could not pursue negligence claims against a third party after finding that it failed to sufficiently allege damages and that the third-party defendant owed it a duty of care (Verse Two Properties LLC v. MedPlast Fremont Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-03765-EJD, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154071).
LOS ANGELES - Testimony that a man could identify products and their asbestos content by color and style sufficiently establishes exposure from those products and it is for a jury to weight conflicting evidence regarding whether he worked only with metal parts, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 13 (Charles Curtis v. ABB Inc., et al., Nos. 13-56976, 13-56977, 13-56-978, 9th Cir.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Nov. 10 partially granted and partially denied dismissal of a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by a couple who purchased property and learned of the presence of hazardous chemicals at levels of concern years after buying the land (Verse Two Properties v. MedPlast Fremont Inc., No. 14-03765, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152800).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Nov. 10, a group of tobacco companies moved for recusal of the District of Columbia federal judge assigned to their lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration over disputed marketing regulations, asserting that the judge's former tenure as partner in a law firm that provided counsel in an FDA-related campaign made recusal necessary (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, No. 1:15-cv-01590, D. D.C.).
MILWAUKEE - A plaintiff company in a cost-recovery suit brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act must disclose amounts of money it has received from its insurance company and other indemnitors and cannot shield the information under the collateral source rule, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled Nov. 10 (Appvion Inc., et al. v. P.H. Glatfelter Co., et al., No. 08-C-16, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152456).
CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a New Hampshire court on Nov. 9 to approve a $3 million settlement of environmental coverage claims between the liquidation estate and an electric utility company (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
CHICAGO - Two defendants' failure to brief a motion to dismiss after the original moving defendant was dismissed waived their opposition to continued litigation, and nothing suggests that the asbestos widow's short delay in moving to substitute herself as plaintiff was done in bad faith, a federal judge held Nov. 10 (Theresa Sydow, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M, and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 14-219, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152160).
MADISON, Wis. - Defendants are entitled to depose an expert witness regardless of his testimony or their familiarity with it, a federal judge held in an opinion filed Nov. 9, while also consolidating for trial four asbestos cases involving alleged defects in respirators (Milton Boyer and Kathy Boyer v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-286, Katrina Masephol v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-186, Janet Pecher, et al. v. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-147, Virginia Prust, et al. v. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-143, Roger Seehafer and Janice Seehafer v. Weyerhaeuser Co. and Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 14-161, Wesley Sydow and Theresa Sydow v. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-219, Brian Heckel, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 13-459, Dianne Jacobs v. Rapid American Corp., et al., No. 12-899, W.D. Wis.).