LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Will Not Change Briefing Schedule In Halliburton Radioactive Materials Case

OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Nov. 10 ruled that plaintiffs who sued Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) for injuries from radioactive waste contamination could not modify the scheduling order in the case because they had enough time to submit an expert report yet failed to do so (Amanda Alexander, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1343, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155978).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Court Extends Government Contractor Removal Statute To Asbestos Warning Cases

RICHMOND, Va. - The same logic underpinning other aspects of the government contractor removal statute apply to failure-to-warn cases, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 1 in reversing a "decades-old practice" in a lower court (Deborah H. Ripley, as administrator of the estate of Bernard W. Ripley v. Foster Wheeler LLC, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., and J Henry Holland Corp., et al., No 15-1918, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19631).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court Extends Government Contractor Removal Statute To Asbestos Warning Cases

RICHMOND, Va. - The same logic underpinning other aspects of the government contractor removal statute apply to failure-to-warn cases, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 1 in reversing a "decades-old practice" in a lower court (Deborah H. Ripley, as administrator of the estate of Bernard W. Ripley v. Foster Wheeler LLC, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., and J Henry Holland Corp., et al., No 15-1918, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19631).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 3rd Circuit Finds No Error In Allowing Expert Testimony In Breach Of Agreement Suit

PHILADELPHIA - In a breach of a lease agreement lawsuit between a class of landowners and an exploration production company, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 24 that a trial judge did not abuse his discretion in refusing to reconsider allowing an expert to testify that natural gas sold to third-party buyers was made before any interstate transportation (David F. Pollock, as executor of the estate of Margaret F. Pollock, et al. v. Energy Corporation of America, Nos. 15-2648 & 15-2649, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19167).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Alleged Misstatements Contained Required Cautionary Language, Judge Rules

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 21 ruled that dismissal of an amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit against parties to a merger deal is proper because lead plaintiffs failed to show that alleged misrepresentations and omissions made by the parties regarding debt and future distributions issues were not publicly available and did not contain the required cautionary language (Irving Braun, et al. v. Eagle Rock Energy Partners, LP, et al., No. 15-1470, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146035).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Alleged Misstatements Contained Required Cautionary Language, Judge Rules

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 21 ruled that dismissal of an amended complaint in a securities class action lawsuit against parties to a merger deal is proper because lead plaintiffs failed to show that alleged misrepresentations and omissions made by the parties regarding debt and future distributions issues were not publicly available and did not contain the required cautionary language (Irving Braun, et al. v. Eagle Rock Energy Partners, LP, et al., No. 15-1470, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146035).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Allows Testimony On Leasing Logistics Of Rail Cars In Breach Of Contract Suit

HOUSTON - In a breach of contract lawsuit, an employee of a supply, trading and logistics company may testify as to the company's efforts "to lease, mobilize and manage the logistics of providing rail cars to a terminal," a Texas federal judge ruled Oct. 18, finding that the employee's experience and education qualify him as an expert (Musket Corp. v. Suncor Energy [U.S.A.] Marketing Inc., No. 15-100, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143881).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Supplier Denies Liability For Injuries From Lithium Battery Explosion

OKLAHOMA CITY - One of the defendants being sued in connection with injuries suffered by two workers when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation filed an answer and counterclaim in Oklahoma federal court on Oct. 14, contending that the plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and that it is entitled to immunity under the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Act (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al., and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Allows Asbestos Expert's Testimony; Evidence Need Not Be Perfect Fit

NEW ORLEANS - Studies conducted in a more confined environment than the workplace in question are admissible because such evidence need not fit the facts of the case precisely under Daubert, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 11 in largely declining to reject an asbestos expert's testimony (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Allows Asbestos Expert's Testimony; Evidence Need Not Be Perfect Fit

NEW ORLEANS - Studies conducted in a more confined environment than the workplace in question are admissible because such evidence need not fit the facts of the case precisely under Daubert, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 11 in largely declining to reject an asbestos expert's testimony (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Allows Asbestos Expert's Testimony; Evidence Need Not Be Perfect Fit

NEW ORLEANS - Studies conducted in a more confined environment than the workplace in question are admissible because such evidence need not fit the facts of the case precisely under Daubert, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 11 in largely declining to reject an asbestos expert's testimony (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Existing Frameworks Wanting; Parties Must Brief On Third-Party Parts Liability

NEW ORLEANS - Rejecting both the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' complete preclusion of liability for manufacturers of products requiring asbestos-containing third-party parts and the existing exemptions for imposing such liability, a federal judge in Louisiana on Oct. 4 asked for additional briefing on the issue (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Existing Frameworks Wanting; Parties Must Brief On Third-Party Parts Liability

NEW ORLEANS - Rejecting both the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' complete preclusion of liability for manufacturers of products requiring asbestos-containing third-party parts and the existing exemptions for imposing such liability, a federal judge in Louisiana on Oct. 4 asked for additional briefing on the issue (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Rejects Derivative Plaintiffs' Motion To Lift Stay In Related Class Action

PHOENIX - Lifting a stay and unsealing documents in a securities class action lawsuit against a solar energy panel manufacturer and certain officers and directors is not proper because the parties seeking to intervene, lift the stay and unseal the documents - investors in a related shareholder derivative lawsuit - would be permitted to "conduct discovery in aid of their demand futility argument," which has been denied twice in that action, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Sept. 30 (Mark Smilovits, et al. v. First Solar Inc., et al., No. 12-0555, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135704).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Judge Rejects Derivative Plaintiffs' Motion To Lift Stay In Related Class Action

PHOENIX - Lifting a stay and unsealing documents in a securities class action lawsuit against a solar energy panel manufacturer and certain officers and directors is not proper because the parties seeking to intervene, lift the stay and unseal the documents - investors in a related shareholder derivative lawsuit - would be permitted to "conduct discovery in aid of their demand futility argument," which has been denied twice in that action, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Sept. 30 (Mark Smilovits, et al. v. First Solar Inc., et al., No. 12-0555, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135704).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Upholds Denial Of Class Certification For Unmanifested Asbestos Claims

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 28 affirmed a bankruptcy court's denial of class certification for holders of possible future asbestos injury claims against Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp., holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the proposed class would not be superior to individual litigation (Michael Cunningham, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 15-1218, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133167).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Judge Upholds Denial Of Class Certification For Unmanifested Asbestos Claims

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 28 affirmed a bankruptcy court's denial of class certification for holders of possible future asbestos injury claims against Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp., holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the proposed class would not be superior to individual litigation (Michael Cunningham, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 15-1218, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133167).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Confirms $1.6M Award For Liberian Vessel Owner

SALT LAKE CITY - After a Utah-based charterer failed to respond to a Liberian vessel owner's petition to confirm a $1,669,221 arbitral award that was issued in London in its favor, a Utah federal judge on Sept. 27 found that the award must be confirmed under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Asphalt Trader Ltd. v. Taryn Capital Energy LLC, No. 1:16-cv-00054, D. Utah; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132647).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Judge Dismisses Appeal Of Future Claimants Of Energy Future's Failed Plan

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 26 dismissed an appeal by potential asbestos claimants of the plan of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) after finding that the plan is null and void because it was never consummated (Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1183, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131217).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - North Carolina, Company Settle Groundwater Contamination Case For $6 Million

RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Sept. 23 announced that it reached a settlement with Duke Energy Carolinas LLC under which the company will pay $6 million to the state for violations associated with a coal ash spill at its power plant on the Dan River that resulted in groundwater contamination (In the matter of: Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, No. DV-2016-0017, NCDEQ, Rockingham Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - EEOC May Proceed With Retaliation Claims Due To Speech On Medical Exams

GREEN BAY, Wis. - An employer's changes to its health insurance plan that require employees to undergo a health risk assessment (HRA) or pay an additional amount per year is permissible because it is voluntary under 42 U.S. Code Section 12112(d)(4)(B), a Wisconsin federal judge ruled Sept. 19; however, the judge further ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may proceed with retaliation claims it is bringing on behalf of a terminated worker who alleges that she was fired after speaking out against the changes (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-1019, E.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127292).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Asbestos Claimants Appeal Energy Future's Plan Confirmation

WILMINGTON, Del. - Three asbestos personal injury claimants on Sept. 12 appealed a Delaware federal bankruptcy court's recent confirmation of the first of two plans of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) to federal court (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Certification Denied In Suit Alleging Thermostat Didn't Perform As Promised

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A Maryland man who claims that the Nest Learning Thermostat (NLT) didn't live up to claims that it would help him save on energy costs failed to satisfy the commonality, typicality, adequacy or predominance requirements, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 15, denying the consumer's motion for class certification (Justin Darisse v. Nest Labs, Inc., No. 14-1363, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107938).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Failure To Cure Pleading Deficiencies Leads To Dismissal Of Securities Suit

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a company that sells renewable energy and certain of its executive officers has failed to cure each of the scienter pleading deficiencies in making his claims under federal securities law that resulted in three previous dismissal rulings, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 9 in dismissing the third amended complaint with prejudice (Tai Jan Bao, et al. v. SolarCity Corp., et al., No. 14-1435, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105179).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Failure To Cure Pleading Deficiencies Leads To Dismissal Of Securities Suit

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a company that sells renewable energy and certain of its executive officers has failed to cure each of the scienter pleading deficiencies in making his claims under federal securities law that resulted in three previous dismissal rulings, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 9 in dismissing the third amended complaint with prejudice (Tai Jan Bao, et al. v. SolarCity Corp., et al., No. 14-1435, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105179).