LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Bankruptcy - Bankruptcy Judge Nixes Energy Future's Request To Expedite Confirmation Plan

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on May 2 denied a request by Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) to expedite consideration of dates and deadlines for confirmation of the company's revised plan of reorganization, which EFH was forced to file after its previously confirmed plan could not be effectuated (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Judge Excludes Causal Link Testimony In Private Nuisance Lawsuit

PORTLAND, Ore. - In a private nuisance lawsuit between a homeowner and wind turbine companies, experts cannot testify regarding the causal link between turbine-generated infrasound and adverse human health effects, an Oregon federal magistrate judge held April 28 (Daniel Brian Williams v. Invenergy, LLC and Willow Creek Energy, LLC, No. 13-01391, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57045).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Russian Federation Did Not Ratify Treaty; $50B In Awards Quashed By Hague Court

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The District Court of The Hague on April 20 reversed more than $50 billion in awards issued in three arbitration cases filed against the Russian Federation in relation to investments made in OAO Yukos Oil Co. (Yukos) after determining that the Russian Federation was not bound by the terms of the arbitration clause in the Energy Charter Treaty because the federation never ratified the treaty (The Russian Federation v. Veteran Petroleum Ltd., No. 477160; The Russian Federation v. Yukos Universal Ltd. [Isle of Man], No. 477162, The Russian Federation v. Hulley Enterprises Ltd., No. 481619, Hague Dist.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Sophisticated User Doctrine Doesn't Stretch To Salesman, California Court Finds

LOS ANGELES - The absence of evidence that a refractory salesman or his peer group knew of the dangers of asbestos prevents application of the sophisticated doctrine, a California appeals court held in reversing a verdict on April 13 (Richard F. Moran III v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., No. B261682, Calif. Super., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 280).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Sophisticated User Doctrine Doesn't Stretch To Salesman, California Court Finds

LOS ANGELES - The absence of evidence that a refractory salesman or his peer group knew of the dangers of asbestos prevents application of the sophisticated doctrine, a California appeals court held in reversing a verdict on April 13 (Richard F. Moran III v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., No. B261682, Calif. Super., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 280).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Group Suing Halliburton For Radioactive Material Injuries Wants To Add Plaintiffs

OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of plaintiffs who contend that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) is liable for personal injuries as a result of the company's release of radioactive materials into the environment on April 12 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court, contending that they should be given leave to amend their complaint to add new plaintiffs (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Defendants Did Not Meet Requirements In Seeking Appeal In Securities Suit

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on March 14 denied three motions for certification of an order for interlocutory appeal in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the issues raised by defendants in the action failed to meet statutory requirements for certification (In re Cobalt International Energy Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3428, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32173).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Energy Future Says 2 Asbestos Claims Appeals Should Be Heard Together

WILMINGTON, Del. - Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) on March 11 asked a Delaware federal court to consolidate two appeals filed by five asbestos personal injury claimants challenging bankruptcy court rulings confirming EFH's reorganization plan and denying certification for a class of future asbestos claimants (Michael Cunningham, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1218, D. Del.; Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1183, D. Del.).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Judge: Defendants Did Not Meet Requirements In Seeking Appeal In Securities Suit

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on March 14 denied three motions for certification of an order for interlocutory appeal in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that the issues raised by defendants in the action failed to meet statutory requirements for certification (In re Cobalt International Energy Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 14-3428, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32173).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - State Environmental Agency Settles MTBE Claims With 1 Defendant For $1.7M

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 19 approved a $1.7 million settlement between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Duke Energy Merchants LLC (DEM), one of the defendants in a lawsuit seeking damages for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 08-0312, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21263).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Michigan Appeals Court: Power, Telephone Companies Not Liable For Fall

TROY, Mich. - A trial court properly granted summary judgment on behalf of power and telephone companies accused of creating an unsafe condition by allowing a utility pole to be placed near a tree, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Feb. 16 (Jennifer L. Terry v. Consumers Energy Company and Michigan Bell Telephone Company, No. 325017, Mich. App.; 2016 Mich. App. LEXIS 303).

Mealey's Insurance - Parties Settle Gas Well Blowout Coverage Dispute; Insurers' Appeal Dismissed

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Feb. 12 dismissed an insurer's petition for review after the parties notified the high court that they settled the dispute arising out of coverage for damages associated with the blowout of an insured's gas well (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., et al. v. Petroplex Energy Inc., No. 15-0805, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Groundwater Contamination Case Dismissed For Lack Of Specifics, Judge Says

CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 10 dismissed a complaint filed by the City of Evanston, Ill., against two energy companies for allegedly contaminating groundwater by improperly disposing of solid waste, ruling that the city's notice of intent to sue the companies was not specific enough to indicate the nature of the charges against them (Northern Illinois Gas Company v. City of Evanston, Ill. and City of Evanston, Ill. v. Northern Illinois Gas Company, No. 14-9227, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16331).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Proposed Preamble In Tobacco Case Adopted By D.C. Federal Judge

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Efforts by four cigarette manufacturers to revisit the majority of corrective statements for dissemination to the media already endorsed by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals were rejected by a District of Columbia federal judge Feb. 8 as "ridiculous" and a "waste of precious time, energy and money" (United States, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 99-2496, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14744).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - U.S. Supreme Court Stays Enforcement Of EPA's Clean Energy Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 9 voted 5-4 in favor of staying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement of the Clean Energy Plan in order for challenges from 30 states to proceed through the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (State of Nebraska v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15A793, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - North Carolina Fines Duke Energy More Than $6.63M For Coal Ash Contamination

RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Feb. 8 fined Duke Energy Carolinas LLC $6,631,005.41 million for a coal ash spill at the company's power plant on the Dan River (In the matter of: Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, No. DV-2016-0017, NCDEQ, Rockingham Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - NLRB: Tesoro, Unions Settle Strike Dispute For More Than $8.08M

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 5 announced that it has approved a more than $8.08 million settlement agreement between Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO-CLC (Steelworkers), ending a strike dispute (Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., No. 19-CA-147090, NLRB, Region 19; Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., No. 21-CA-146968, NLRB, Region 21).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Lanham Act Dispute Over Hacky Sack Claims Dismissed

CHICAGO - Citing the "farcical nature" of a television commercial for the popular 5-Hour Energy drink, an Illinois federal judge on Feb. 1 dismissed allegations of false advertising and invasion of privacy levied against the drink maker (Johannes T. Martin v. Living Essentials LLC, No. 15-1647, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11287).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Interlocutory Appeal Not Warranted In Tainted Groundwater Case

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A federal judge in North Carolina on Jan. 29 denied a motion filed by Duke Energy Carolinas LLC in which the company sought certification for an interlocutory appeal in a groundwater contamination case, ruling that the company failed to carry its burden of demonstrating that there were "extraordinary circumstances" warranting the appeal (Yadkin Riverkeeper, et al. v. Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, No. 14-00753, M.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Trims Claims In Securities Class Action Lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Jan. 27 granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss filed by a corporation and certain of its executive officers in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that some of the alleged misrepresentations cited by the lead plaintiff in making his claims are nonactionable (In re Energy Recovery Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 15-0265, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9781).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Federal Judge Trims Claims In Securities Class Action Lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Jan. 27 granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss filed by a corporation and certain of its executive officers in a securities class action lawsuit, ruling that some of the alleged misrepresentations cited by the lead plaintiff in making his claims are nonactionable (In re Energy Recovery Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 15-0265, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9781).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Madrid Arbitration Court Finds Spain Did Not Breach Energy Charter Treaty

MADRID, Spain - The Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism on Jan. 25 announced that the Court of Arbitration of Madrid has issued an award, finding that the Kingdom of Spain did not breach the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in relation to changes made to the regulatory framework for renewable energy premiums (Charanne B.V. & Construction, Investments S.A.R.L. v. Kingdom of Spain, No. 062/2012, Madrid Arb.).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Unmanifested Asbestos Claims Subject Of Appeals In Energy Future Case

WILMINGTON, Del. - Three people who were exposed to asbestos but do not yet have an asbestos-related disease on Jan. 12 asked a Delaware federal court to decide on appeal whether a bankruptcy judge erred in rejecting their request to certify a class of similar claimants in the Chapter 11 case of Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 15-1218, D. Del.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Investor Failed To Plead Scienter In Making Securities Law Claim, Judge Rules

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Dismissal of a second amended securities class action complaint is proper because a shareholder has failed to properly plead scienter in making his federal securities law claims against a solar energy company and certain of its officers and directors, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 5 (Tai Jan Bao, et al. v. SolarCity Corp., et al., No. 14-1435, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1190).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Investor Failed To Plead Scienter In Making Securities Law Claim, Judge Rules

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Dismissal of a second amended securities class action complaint is proper because a shareholder has failed to properly plead scienter in making his federal securities law claims against a solar energy company and certain of its officers and directors, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 5 (Tai Jan Bao, et al. v. SolarCity Corp., et al., No. 14-1435, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1190).