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).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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).
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.).
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).
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).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents who are already members of a putative class action against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) alleging groundwater contamination on Aug. 9 filed a separate complaint against the company seeking compensation for "complete reckless disregard" that led to the presence of perchlorate in the aquifer that supplies their drinking water (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).
NEW ORLEANS - An expert may testify that a scaffolding should have been erected to provide workers a safe platform to work from as they attempted to catch leaking oil from a pipe, a Louisiana federal judge ruled July 21, finding that he will be in a better position at trial to assess whether the expert in fact reaches improper legal conclusions (Darrel J. Singleton, Jr., et al. v. Fieldwood Energy, LLC, et al., No. 15-5558, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95427).
DETROIT - Enbridge Energy L.P. and a number of its subsidiaries agreed July 19 to spend $110 million for a series of measures to prevent pipeline spills, pay a $62 million civil penalty for Clean Water Act violations, and reimburse the government for $5 million it spent to cleanup contamination from pipeline spills in Marshall, Mich., and Romeoville, Ill., in 2010, according to a recent docket entry in a Michigan federal court (United States of America v. Enbridge Energy L.P., et al., No. 16-cv-914, W.D. Mich.).
DENVER - A trial court erred in finding that no coverage is afforded for environmental contamination cleanup costs because the trial court failed to determine if the insurer was prejudiced by the insured's late notice of the claim, the Colorado Court of Appeals said July 14 (MarkWest Energy Partners L.P., v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 15-0770, Colo. App., Div. 1; 2016 Colo. App. LEXIS 956).