NEW ORLEANS - Plaintiffs' "every exposure" testimony does not satisfy Daubert standards or comply with Louisiana's substantial factor test, a federal judge held July 14 (Tina Davidson, et al. v. Georgia Pacific LLC, et al., No. 12-1463, W.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1107).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York appellate panel on July 11 ruled that a trial court properly determined that a landlord being sued for allegedly allowing a hazardous lead-based paint condition to exist in a premises was not entitled to summary judgment dismissal of the claim because he had failed to show that he did not have actual or constructive notice of the situation (Amanda McDonald v. Lou Farina, No. 13-01098, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5213).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on July 9 granted a motion to dismiss claims for violations of federal laws regarding environmental contamination against Fluor Corp. because the plaintiffs need to show more than the mere presence of toxins in soil at the company's property; however, the magistrate allowed a company that shares land with Fluor to intervene in the lawsuit (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation, No. 10-05105, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93420).
DALLAS - A divided Texas Supreme Court on July 11 rejected the "any exposure" standard in mesothelioma, saying such cases also require evidence that exposure to defendant's product was a substantial factor in his disease. However, the court said plaintiffs alleging multiple exposures to asbestos need not show "but for" causation (Susan Elaine Bostic, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., No. 10-0775, Texas Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 11 affirmed a ruling awarding summary judgment to three environmental groups accusing a coal company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) for its discharges of selenium, ruling that the company could not invoke the permit shield because it did not disclose the pollutant in its permit application (Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, et al. v. A&G Coal Corporation, et al., No. 13-2050, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13217).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An employer's religious preferences could not block employee access to contraceptives provided for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) under legislation introduced by two Senate Democrats on July 9.
PHILADELPHIA - Punitive damages are available under maritime asbestos law to seaman alleging injury from a vessel's unseaworthiness but not for survival actions, the federal judge overseeing the maritime asbestos multidistrict litigation held July 9 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI), Hector L. Sanchez, et al. v. Various Defendants, No. MDL 875, 02-875, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 partially vacated and partially affirmed a District Court ruling, concluding that the lower court erred when it dismissed the claims of 211 plaintiffs who alleged that they had been injured as a result of exposure to chemicals during the cleanup activities after the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 (In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, No. 12-3403, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate on July 9 passed a resolution that will convey a parcel of land to a redevelopment agency in Nevada to provide for the remediation of lead and arsenic in the contaminated soil.
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on July 9 vacated the National Pollution Funds Center's (NPFC) ruling denying a request submitted by two insurance companies, its subrogees and assignees for limited liability stemming from an oil spill that occurred in Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal in 2005, finding that the board's decision was not in accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) (Great American Insurance Company, et al. v. United States of America, No. 12-cv-9718, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188193).
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 ruled that the U.S. government was not liable for a breach of fiduciary duty to a tribe of Native Americans who claim aboriginal title to land on which the government is approving oil drilling licenses because the tribe failed to show that there was any "agency action" that gave the tribe subject matter jurisdiction over the land (The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. United States of America, et al., No. 13-40644, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12946).
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on July 9 declined a petition challenging an appeals court's conclusion that Michigan's ban on punitive damages did not apply in a California asbestos action, according to its docket (Patrick Scott, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., No. S218322, Calif. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A boiler maker's challenges to product identification by a woman allegedly exposed to asbestos as a social worker and real estate agent goes to credibility and does not warrant judgment, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 8 (Harriet Noble and Robert Berger v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No 190074/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appeals court on July 3 ruled that a trust could not object to the plan of a wastewater disposal company that wants to drill a well on land where the trust owns mineral rights because the trust had proper notice of the drilling company's application and failed to properly oppose the company's permit application (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, et al. v. Denbury OnShore LLC, et al., No. 03-11-00891, Texas App., 3rd Dist.).
AUGUSTA, Maine - The commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the State of Maine on July 7 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine against Gina McCarthy in her role as the administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contending that the state has "exclusive authority" to establish and revise water quality standards (WQS) for all bodies of water in the state, including waters within Indian territories and lands (State of Maine, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 14-264, D. Maine).
NEW YORK - An asbestos defendant's request for more time to review discovery is moot and baseless in light of its own failures, while plaintiffs' request for sanctions is unwarranted as both parties violated discovery orders, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 8 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation Angel Lamberty v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 100988/04, Robert Freeman v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 100867/04, Francis Marino v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 116830/03, Theodore Pendergast v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 104850/04, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A plaintiff responded with more than mere "boilerplate" allegations of asbestos exposure after a company's belated concession that it performed work at a job site, a California appeals court held July 8 in reinstating the claims (Rose Marie Ganoe, etc., et al. v. Metalclad Insulation Corp., No. B248941, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 8 denied CTS Corp.'s petition challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision in 2011 to add a site in Asheville, N.C. that was formerly owned by a subsidiary of the company to the National Priorities List, finding that the agency's decision was not arbitrary and capricious (CTS Corporation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1256, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12804).
BOSTON - An insurer has no duty to provide coverage beyond $5,000 for property damage caused by an oil spill because the policy's pollution exclusion bars additional coverage, the Massachusetts Appeals Court said July 2 (Frank Izdebski v. Hanover Insurance Group Inc., Nos. 12-P-1950, 12-P-1951, Mass. App.; 2014 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 814).
LAFAYETTE, La. - A federal magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on July 3 ruled that a soil contamination case should be remanded to state court because the defendants did not meet the criteria for having it removed to federal court (Elizabeth R. Creadeur v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 14-00695, W.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91253).
NEW YORK - The attorney and the law firm representing Ecuadorian plaintiffs who sued Chevron Corp. alleging environmental contamination filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 2, contending that the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that approved a settlement between some of the Ecuadorian plaintiffs' former attorneys and Chevron should be reversed and vacated because Chevron cannot show that misconduct occurred when an Ecuadorian court awarded the plaintiffs damages of $18.5 billion (Chevron Corporation v. Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, No. 14-832, 2nd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 partially reversed a summary judgment ruling in relation to defense costs incurred in an underlying coverage action for mold claims, finding that the trial court erred when it failed to consider whether a residential company had met its deductible after it accounted for defense costs incurred by an insurance company (Trammell Crow Residential Co. v. American Protection Insurance Co., No. 13-10451, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12785).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Concluding that the alternative would certainly doom a couple's asbestos claims, a Delaware judge on July 2 granted them an extension of time to comply with Florida's asbestos statutes (Harry A. Davis and Madonna S. Davis v. Ace Hardware Corp., et al., No. 12-1185, D. Del.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90657).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on July 2 approved a consent decree between the federal government and International Business Machine Corp. (IBM) in which the company would reimburse the government for $225,000 it has spent to remediate contamination from a site in East Fishkill, N.Y., ruling that the terms of the agreement are fair and reasonable (United States of America v. International Business Machine Corp., No. 14-CV-396, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91750).
CLEVELAND - A widow likely knew of a change in the executor of her late husband's estate at least a year before she filed a motion challenging it as improper, an Ohio appeals court held July 3 in affirming dismissal of an asbestos action with prejudice (National City Bank, executor, etc. v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., et al., No. 100178, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2014 Ohio App. LEXIS 2918).