ATLANTA - Crane Co. cannot be liable under Georgia law for asbestos-containing replacement parts on its valves because the state's laws implicitly accept the bare metal defense, a federal judge in Georgia held Nov. 21 (Mike Thurmon, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Inc., et al., No. 11-1407, N.D. Ga.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164136).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A divided New York Court of Appeals on Nov. 25 affirmed a lower court ruling that additional payments were not available on an insurance policy for injuries suffered as a result of exposure to lead-based paint because the policy limits were not increased when the policy was renewed (Jannie Nesmith v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 187, N.Y. App.; 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 3350).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 25 reversed a ruling that concluded that a veteran's injuries were not caused by exposure to Agent Orange, determining that the examiner who reached that conclusion did so "without any supporting rationale" (Robert E. Kring v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 12-3235, Vet. Clms. App.; 2014 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1959).
PHILADELPHIA - The judge overseeing the federal maritime asbestos docket included punitive damages in a Nov. 24 order remanding 50 asbestos claims. Sources said it is believed to be the first time the judge has remanded punitive damage claims (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI] Various -plaintiffs v. Various defendants, No. MDL 02-875, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 25 agreed to review a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not exceed its authority when enacting a rule limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-47, State of Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-46, National Mining Association v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-49, U.S. Sup.).
BALTIMORE - District judges retain the power to issue sanctions in remanded cases, including vacating remand, a divided en banc Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 25 in an asbestos-tainted talc action (Joyce Barlow v. Colgate Palmolive Co. and John Crane-Houdille Inc., et al., Clara Mosko v. Colgate Palmolive Co. and John Crane-Houdaille Inc., et al., Nos. 13-1839, 13-1840, 4th Cir.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., which is being sued by a West Virginia resident who claims that she was injured by perfluorooctanic acid, also known as C8, that was released by the company's plant in Wood County, W.Va., on Nov. 25 removed the case to West Virginia federal court (Jacolyn Bailey v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 14-28949, S.D. W.Va.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The parties in the consolidated Paulsboro train derailment litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on Nov. 24 stipulated that a plaintiff who had been dismissed earlier in the litigation could file an amended complaint and name additional defendants (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on Nov. 24 ruled that an index of documents the Army Corps of Engineers is withholding pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by Ohio residents who want information about hydraulic fracturing operations in a watershed conservancy district is not warranted at this time (Leantra Harper v. Department of the Army Huntington District, Corps of Engineers, No. 14-986, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164053).
LOS ANGELES - Imposing liability on a premises owner for household exposures to asbestos threatens "limitless liability," a divided California appeals panel held Nov. 21 in affirming judgment for the company (Wanda L. Beckering v. Shell Oil Co., No. B256407, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8363).
PITTSBURGH - One of the defendants in a natural gas lease dispute on Nov. 23 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court contending that information which was inadvertently sent to the plaintiffs' counsel by the gas company's expert constitutes work product and the plaintiffs should be precluded from using it (Rugh A. Mason, et uxor v. Range Resources-Appalachia, et al., No. 12-369, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Nov. 21 ruled that plaintiff property owners can seek money from Consolidated Edison of New York Inc. under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) for cleanup of a site that formerly housed a manufactured gas plant (MFG) owned by the company but ruled that the plaintiffs had to do so under two different sections of the statute (HLP Properties LLC, et al. v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., No. 14 Civ. 01383, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163336).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., which has been sued by a class of Ohio residents who contend that the company is liable for wrongful death and other injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid, on Nov. 21 filed 52 boilerplate answers contending that the claims are barred because of a previous settlement in the case, and arguing that any alleged damages to which the plaintiffs may be entitled must be reduced in proportion to the comparative and/or contributory fault or negligence of parties other than DuPont (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
SHREVEPORT, La - A federal judge in Louisiana on Nov. 20 ruled that a pumping company embroiled in a lawsuit with an oil and gas exploration company related to allegedly negligent behavior at a hydraulic fracturing well site could not present testimony from its expert on grounds that he failed to provide material information to the fracking company concerning appraisal methods used to determine the value of fracking equipment (Cudd Pumping Services Inc. v. Coastal Chemical Co. LLC, et al., No. 11-01913, W.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163738).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina ruled Nov. 18 that a defendant in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit can recover some litigation costs from a third-party defendant company that sold it the property at issue pursuant to an indemnification agreement (Ashley II of Charleston LLC v. PCS Nitrogen Inc., et al., No. 05-2782-MBS, D. S.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162788).
DALLAS - The Texas Supreme Court on Nov. 21 reversed course and agreed to decide whether the state's laws protect a premises owner from liability for contemporaneous negligent acts in an asbestos exposure case involving a contractor, according to its docket (Magdalena Adrienna Abutahoun, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Co., No. 13-0175, Texas Sup.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 18 granted a second extension of discovery in a hydraulic fracturing lawsuit brought by a group of residents who contend that residential water wells were contaminated by hydraulic fracturing chemicals. The order constituted one paragraph and provided no explanation for the judge's decision (Susan Berish, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., et al., No. 10-1981, M.D. Pa.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A former employee of the Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (NSRC) on Nov. 18 filed a lawsuit in Ohio federal court alleging that she suffered personal injuries as a result of exposure to hazardous chemicals when a train car imploded in a rail yard (Karalee Carr v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, No. 14-00883, S.D. Ohio).
HOUSTON - Oil company Hess Corp. on Nov. 19 moved in Texas federal court for dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a hydraulic fracturing company that contends that Hess is liable for negligence and damages connected to alleged contamination of horizontal hydraulic fracturing wells; Hess says the plaintiffs lack standing and the case is barred by the statute of limitations (Texokan Operating Inc., et al. v. Hess Corporation, No. 13-02866, S.D. Texas).
NEW YORK - An asbestos widow sufficiently fulfilled the statutory requirements necessary to sue the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, even though she labeled the notice of claim as one for "personal injury" rather than "wrongful death," the New York Court of Appeals held Nov. 20 (In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Andrucki, et al. v. Alcoa Company of America, et al., Port Authority of New York and Jersey, No. 185, N.Y. App.; 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 3216).
PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs in two federal asbestos multidistrict cases told the judge on Nov. 19 that changes in the litigation over the last 14 years warrant allowing the imposition of punitive damages (Kenneth McAfee and Shirley McAfee v. 20th Century Glove Corporation of Texas, et al., No. 13-6856, Gerald Morris and Barbara Morris v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 13-6591, E.D. Pa.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York state appellate panel on Nov. 20 affirmed a lower court's decision and determined that a landlord being sued for alleged injuries caused by exposure to lead-based paint had the right to compel the discovery of the academic records of the plaintiff's siblings and mother, as well as the discovery of the plaintiff's mother's medical records. The panel said the plaintiff's mother also needed to undergo an IQ test (Jarrod Perez v. Lenore Fleischer, No. 51879, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8060).
HOUSTON - The families of two Texas residents who were former employees of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. who died following exposure to what they referred to as "highly toxic gas" on Nov. 17 filed two lawsuits against the company in Texas state court, seeking $1 million each, alleging that DuPont is liable for the deaths because of a chemical leak at the chemical processing facility where the decedents worked (Jasmine Rae Wise, individually and as the representative of Chrystle Rae Wise, v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 2014-67256, Texas Dist., Harris Co., and Michelle Tisnado, individually and as the representative of the Estate of Gilbert Tisnado v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 2014-67139, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).
TEXARKANA, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Nov. 18 reversed and remanded a case in which a trial court ruled that a drilling company had to pay a hydraulic fracturing contractor for services provided, ruling that the contract that was admitted into evidence was not the actual contract between the parties (Matador Production Company v. Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems Inc., No. 06-14-00015, Texas App., 6th Dist.; 2014 Texas App. LEXIS 12438).
PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on Nov. 17 dismissed a shareholder class action against a hydraulic fracturing company on grounds that the class failed to show that the fracking company violated any federal securities laws in its operations and earnings statements (In Re: Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 13-01800, D. Ariz.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161814).