PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania jury on Oct. 2 returned a defense verdict for Ford Motor Co., finding it not liable for take-home asbestos exposures (Larry English, et al. v. Borg-Warner Corp., et al., No. GD-13-022072, Pa. Comm. Pls., Allegheny Co.).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 5 granted in part an environmental group's motion for summary judgment, after finding that a petroleum company's discharges of storm water contained levels of zinc and copper that were in excess of limits allowed by its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Rainier Petroleum Corporation, No. C14-831RSM, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135709).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A July 2014 decision by the Baltimore County Circuit Court to let stand a judicial arbitration panel's reallocation of a nonparticipating manufacturer (NPM) "adjustment" among six states deemed not diligent in enforcing escrow statutes under the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of nationwide tobacco litigation was error, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled Oct. 2 (State of Maryland v. Philip Morris Inc., et al., No. 1256, Md. Spec. App.).
NEW YORK - An appellate ruling relieving a manufacturer of liability for a salvage worker's asbestos exposure does not bar a man's claim for exposure arising from disassembling a boiler, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Oct. 1 (Ernest G. Smith and Claudia Smith v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190299/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3473).
SEATTLE - A federal jury on Oct. 1 found for Ford Motor Co. on a couple's asbestos-related product liability and negligence claims (Gregory Cannard and Susan Cannard v. Ford Motor Co., No. 14-5588, W.D. Wash.).
CONCORD, N.H. - A three-judge panel of the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Oct. 2 affirmed a jury's decision finding that Exxon Mobil Corp. should pay $236 million to clean up contamination caused by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), but overturned the trial court judge's decision to place $195 million of the award in a trust (State of New Hampshire v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., Nos. 2013-0591, 2013-0668, N.H. Sup.; 2015 N.H. LEXIS 108).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A couple's suit alleging asbestos exposure aboard a tugboat invokes admiralty jurisdiction, a federal judge in Connecticut held in dismissing Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States on Sept. 30 (Dennis Thibodeau v. United States of America, No. 13-710, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134227).
BOSTON - Efforts by class action plaintiffs to establish that Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM) could have promoted e-cigarettes as a safer alternative design to a conventional cigarette were rejected Oct. 2 by a Massachusetts federal judge, who instead found that an e-cigarette "is not a cigarette, under any generally accepted definition" (Kathleen Donovan, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 1:06cv12234, D. Mass.).
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A federal judge in Idaho on Sept. 30 dismissed a lawsuit brought by the federal government under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act seeking to recover response costs for the cleanup of a portion of the Bunker Hill Mining and Metalurgical Complex Superfund site in northern Idaho, after finding that the defendant company was not a successor in interest to a former owner of the site (United States of America v. Marmon Holdings Inc., No. 10-cv-00526-EJL-CWD, D. Idaho; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135022).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico against Shell Oil Co. on Oct. 1 ruled that the defendant oil companies did not show that the statute of limitations has run on the commonwealth's claim (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.).
INDIANAPOLIS - Kentucky's status as a one-disease state bars a couple's action alleging asbestos exposure in private employment but not their maritime-law claims, a federal judge in Indiana held Sept. 30 (Bryan Kimberly Hedden and Cynthia Hedden v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 13-1986, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132684).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. filed a motion focused on product identification issues, but then improperly argued and obtained judgment on causation issues surrounding whether its talc contained asbestos, Alabama's Supreme Court held Sept. 30 (Frank Kruse, et al. v. Vanderbilt Minerals LLC, f/k/a R.T. Vanderbilt Company Inc., No. 1121382, Ala. Sup.; 2015 Ala. LEXIS 121).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal magistrate judge in Ohio on Sept. 30 granted in part the state's request for a preliminary injunction, ruling that three former owners of a property where trichloroethylene (TCE) was used during their manufacturing processes should be required to install groundwater monitoring wells and take quarterly samples in an effort to prevent the spread of contamination to sources of public drinking water (State of Ohio, ex rel. Michael Dewine Ohio Attorney General v. Superior Fibers Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1483, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132885).
BROOKLYN. N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 30 awarded a tenant $587,078.98 for groundwater contamination damages that were caused by the negligence of her landlord (Helene K. Tobin v. Ivan Gluck, et al., Nos. 07-1605 and 11-3985, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133812).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sept. 29 denied a petition for allowance of appeal, leaving stand a ruling that a law protecting Crown Cork & Seal Co. from asbestos-related liabilities could in theory apply to other companies and does the legitimate job of protecting the state's jobs (James C. Markovsky, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., et al., No. 162 EAL 2015, Pa. Sup.).
BENTON, Ill. - Evidence suggests that the Navy knew of the hazards of asbestos and issued reasonably specific guidelines for turbines it purchased, a federal judge held Sept. 28 in denying remand (David Baley v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 15-569, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130171).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A panel of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Sept. 29 affirmed a trial court's decision granting summary judgment to a landlord who had been sued for damages related to lead-paint exposure. The panel concluded that evidence was lacking regarding other possible sources of the plaintiffs' alleged lead-based paint exposure (Patricia Barr, et al. v. Stanley Rochkind, No. 1152, Sept. Term 2014; 2015 Md. App. LEXIS 125).
BENTON, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 28 declined to consolidate for trial four asbestos cases, saying in a docket entry that while the cases share common legal issues, case-specific facts prevented consolidation from preserving judicial economy (Kenneth R. Greenleaf Sr. v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 14-51, S.D. Ill.).
NEW YORK - A New York state jury on Sept. 25 awarded $25 million to a man for his mesothelioma, holding brake-grinding machine manufacturer Hennessy Industries Inc. 86 percent liable for the man's injury (Walter Miller v. BMW of North America LLC, et al., No. 190087/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SAN DIEGO - A California appeals court on Sept. 28 affirmed its decision that the only measure of restitution in a products action under California's unfair competition law (UCL) is the measure established in In re Vioxx Class of Cases ( 180 Cal.App.4th 116, 131 [103 Cal. Rptr. 3d 83]), affirming a trial court's decision refusing to award tobacco plaintiffs restitution (In re Tobacco Cases II, No. D065165, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 834).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy Corp., which had initially appealed a $25,116,883.61 fine levied by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for groundwater contamination resulting from its operation of a coal-generating plant, on Sept. 29 agreed to settle the claims brought by the DENR for $7 million.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on Sept. 28, on remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, affirmed use of a pro rata approach to calculating damages for apportioning liability in a groundwater contamination case, ruling that it was equitable (AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas Inc., No. 00-090113, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130592).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge on Sept. 29 awarded $3 million in a take-home asbestos case after finding that Alabama law imposes a duty on employers to protect household members from asbestos exposure and applying substantial factor causation (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).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., which is being sued by a group of Ohio residents who contend that the company is liable for personal injuries related to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), on Sept. 24 filed a brief in Ohio federal court 10 days after the beginning of the first bellwether trial, contending that it should be granted judgment as a matter of law (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A settlement's general references to unrelated asbestos injuries failed to adequately notify and inform the plaintiff under Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) standards, a California judge held in excluding the agreement Sept. 24 (Emerson v. Allied Packing & Supply Inc., et al., No. RG13 698637, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).