LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Group Says Halliburton's 'Reckless Disregard' Led To Tainted Groundwater

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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Group Says Halliburton's 'Reckless Disregard' Led To Tainted Groundwater

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.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Permits Testimony On Use Of Scaffolding In Work Negligence Lawsuit

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Permits Testimony On Use Of Scaffolding In Work Negligence Lawsuit

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Enbridge Energy To Pay $177M To Resolve Claims Over 2010 Pipeline Spills

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - Notice-Prejudice Rule Applies In Contamination Coverage Suit, Panel Says

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).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - 9th Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of Claims Related To Caffeine Content In Drink

PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 reversed a district court's dismissal of claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims in relation to a company's labeling of its energy drinks, finding that certain statements it made could have been misleading (Alec Fisher, et al. v. Monster Beverage Corporation, et al., No. 13-57094, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12608).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Reverses Indemnification Issue In Dispute Over Professional Services Exclusion

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 reversed a lower federal court's grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurer on its duty to indemnify its engineering firm insured and the firm's employee against five underlying lawsuits arising from a fatal accident at a nuclear-powered energy plant (Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., et al v. DP Engineering L.L.C., et al., No. 15-10443, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11951).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Confirms $476 Million Award Issued By Hong Kong Tribunal

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on June 22 granted a Chinese company's petition to confirm an award that was issued by a Hong Kong tribunal, ordering a British Virgin Islands entity to pay $476,700,190.49 in damages and interest (GE Transportation [Shenyang] Co. Ltd. v. A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd., No. 15-6194, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81367).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Chinese Entities File Notice Of Arbitration Against Repsol Oil & Gas

MADRID - A Canadian oil and gas company announced on June 20 that two entities owned by the Chinese government have commenced arbitration against it in relation to their investment in an energy firm.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Kinder Morgan Agrees To Pay $20M To Settle Contamination Suit

SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on June 17 granted Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P.'s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state of California and city of San Diego over groundwater contamination under QualComm Stadium after the company agreed to pay $20 million to settle the suit (People of the State of California, et al. v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P., et al., No.07-cv-1883, S.D. Calif.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Ohio Panel Reverses Judgment For Utility Contractor In Negligence Action

CINCINNATI - An Ohio appellate panel on June 10 reversed a grant of summary judgment for a utility's contractor in a negligence suit, finding that the company had no property interest in the premises and, therefore, could not employ the open-and-obvious doctrine defense (Florence and Edward Eschmann v. RLA Investments, Inc., and Duke Energy Ohio, Inc., et al., No. C-150576, Ohio App., 1st Dist., Hamilton Co.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 2213).