NEW YORK - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by a man who contends that he was injured as a result of exposure to hazardous chemicals while cleaning up the disaster site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on Nov. 13 partially granted and partially denied a motion by property owners seeking to dismiss the action, ruling that there was sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of fact regarding whether some defendants exercised "supervisory control" over the work (In Re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation [Waldemar Ropel, et al.] v. 233 Broadway Owners LLC, No. 12-mc-102, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160212).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the Court of Veterans Appeals on Nov. 14 ruled that a veteran is not entitled to benefits for alleged exposure to Agent Orange, but he remanded the case to the Board of Veterans Appeals because it incorrectly applied the law in reaching its decision (David Allen Pykiet v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 13-3372, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2014 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1915).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Nov. 14 reversed a trial judge's ruling finding that trespass and nuisance claims brought by residents who claim that they have suffered damages as a result of whiskey fungus caused by ethanol emissions from nearby distilleries are preempted by the Clean Air Act (CAA), ruling that the plaintiffs were not required to prove a lack of preemption (Bruce Merrick, et al. v. Brown-Forman Corp., et al., No. 2013-CA-002048-MR, Ky. App., 2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 178).
OTTAWA - A Canadian woman on Nov. 13 filed an application for leave to appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court a ruling by the Alberta Court of Appeals, which dismissed her lawsuit against a hydraulic fracturing company and the Canadian Energy Resources Conservation Board (CERCB) for alleged exposure to hazardous amounts of methane, ethane and other chemicals (Jessica Ernst v. The Energy Resources Conservation Board, et al., No. 14-36167, Canada Sup.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A water association's objections to two discovery rulings entered by a federal magistrate judge regarding privileged documents were overruled by a federal judge in Ohio on Nov. 12, after he found that the rulings were not erroneous or contrary to law (Little Hocking Water Association Inc. v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company, No. 09-cv-1081, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159313).
PHILADELPHIA - The federal asbestos multidistrict litigation judge on Nov. 12 issued an order to show cause, asking plaintiffs in six cases involving 17 defendants whether the court should discontinue severance of punitive damages claims (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], MDL 875, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - The U.S. Navy's "detailed and comprehensive specifications" raise a colorable federal officer defense, even in the absence of evidence that the Navy ever actually rejected asbestos-related warnings, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 13 (Susan Cuomo, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-4510, 2nd Cir.).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Exxon Mobil Corp., which is being sued by a class of residents for alleged injuries related to easements for its Pegasus Pipeline, on Nov. 12 filed a brief arguing that the Arkansas federal judge presiding over the case should disregard the plaintiffs' statement of undisputed material facts opposing the company's motion for summary judgment (Rudy F. Webb, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. 13CV232 BSM, E.D. Ark.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (NSRC), one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed by New Jersey residents who contend that a train derailment resulted in a vinyl chloride spill that caused them injury, on Nov. 12 filed an answer to the allegations in New Jersey federal court, denying liability and arguing that if any plaintiffs were injured, it was the result of their own negligence (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Nov. 12 found that claims asserted by a purchaser who alleged that mold growth in his mattress caused him to suffer numerous injuries were time-barred and granted a motion to dismiss filed by the manufacturer of the product (Ralph Simon v. Select Comfort Retail Corp., No. 4:14-CV-1136, E.D. Mo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159186).
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - A group of Illinois residents on Nov. 10 sued the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) opposing the passage of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (HFRA), contending that the rulemaking process that led to the act's passage was "invalid" (Marie Smith, et al. v. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, et al., No. 14-CH-711, Ill. Cir., 3rd Jud. Cir.; Madison Co.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A judge's "kind statements" from the bench do not indicate that her $3.8 million asbestos verdict includes damages unavailable in a survival action, a divided Louisiana appeals court held Nov. 10 (Dorothy Carter White, et al. v. Entergy Gulf States Louisiana LLC, et al., No. 2013 CA 1608, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2014 La. App. LEXIS 2712).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Nov. 10 adopted a bankruptcy judge's report and recommendation suggesting the final approval of a proposed $5.2 billion settlement that would resolve claims brought by the federal government against Kerr-McGee Corp. and its parent company Anadarko Petroleum Corp. over cleanup of contamination at Superfund sites in Ohio and New Jersey and 50 abandoned uranium mines in the Navajo Nation (In re Tronox Inc. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp., No. 14-cv-5495, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158767).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana on Nov. 10 denied a motion filed by E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. seeking to dismiss a chemical exposure case filed by a former employee, ruling that the record contains evidence that could lead a reasonable trier of fact to find that the employee put DuPont on notice about sulfuric gas leaks (Jeffrey M. Simoneaux v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company, No. 12-219, M.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158631).
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Co-worker testimony establishes possible exposure only to two defendants' products, and concluding that such exposure definitively occurred would require impermissible speculation, a North Carolina federal judge held Nov. 7 (Joseph Logan, et al. v. Air Products and Chemicals Inc., et al., No. 12-1353, M.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157612).
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. 10 filed a brief contending that the plaintiffs have "a strained application" of an earlier settlement, which DuPont argues bars the current litigation (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the Veterans Claims U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 7 refused to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to issue a rating decision because, the judge said, the record did not indicate that the secretary "engaged in an arbitrary refusal to act" (Bruno G. Bruni Jr. v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 14-3579, Vet. Clms.; 2014 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1887).
ATLANTA - The State of Georgia on Nov. 7 said it has sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in federal court to force the Corps to address requests for additional water supply at Lake Allatoona and to prepare up-to-date water control plans and manuals for the operation of two federally operated dams (The State of Georgia v. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. n/a, N.D. Ga., Atlanta Div.).
WHEELING, W.Va. - An oil and gas exploration company being sued by a West Virginia couple for allegedly contaminating drinking water as a result of its hydraulic fracturing activities on Nov. 11 filed its answer to the complaint, contending that the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (Charles E. Bertrand, et al. v. Gastar Exploration Inc., No. 14-00147, N.D. W.Va.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal judge in Oklahoma presiding over a lawsuit brought against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) by a group of residents who allege injury from exposure to radioactive waste on Nov. 10 ruled that a discovery order should not be amended to provide for random selection of discovery plaintiffs (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-012723, W.D. Okla.).
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. - A woman's epithelial mesothelioma was the same disease she was diagnosed with in 2002, making her 2012 suit untimely, a New York justice held Nov. 5 (Linda Wells v. Abex Corp., et al., No. 48156/12, N.Y. Sup., Schenectady Co.).
NEW CASTLE, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court on Nov. 6 affirmed a trial court's denial of an insurer's request to permanently enjoin a respirator maker from prosecuting silica- and asbestos-exposure actions in West Virginia on the basis that an injunction would not protect the insurer from inconsistent judgments and would be inequitable to the claimants (The North River Insurance Co. v. Mine Safety Appliances Co., No. 8, 2014, Del. Sup.; 2014 Del. LEXIS 527).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The committee representing asbestos claimants in Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC's bankruptcy case on Nov. 7 accused Garlock of fraudulently withholding evidence for last year's hearing to estimate Garlock's asbestos liability and asked a North Carolina federal bankruptcy court to reopen the hearing. Garlock responded the same day that the committee's request should be denied because the committee had access to the evidence in question and fails to rebut the basis for the bankruptcy court's estimation ruling (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
PITTSBURGH - A farm, which is a limited partnership, on Nov. 5 voluntarily dismissed its complaint against a hydraulic fracturing company, which it had argued owed it compensation for use of its land for an impoundment (Dryer Farms LP, et al. v. Range Resources Appalachia, No. 14-01047, W.D. Pa.).
DALLAS - The Fifth District Texas Court of Appeals on Nov. 7 issued a notice that the clerk's record in the appeal filed by hydraulic fracturing company Aruba Petroleum is overdue and must be filed within 30 days in order for the company's appeal of the $2.9 million verdict to proceed (Aruba Petroleum Inc. v. Lisa Parr, No. 05-14-01285, Texas App., 5th Dist.).