LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge: Officials Must Deliver Bottled Water To Flint Residents; Stay Denied

DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 2 denied a motion filed by Michigan state officials and refused to stay a district court ruling that the defendants provide bottled water to every house in Flint, Mich., in response to the lead-contaminated water crisis (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Case, Finds Personal Jurisdiction Lacking In Asbestos Action

NEW ORLEANS - A company's uncontested evidence that it had no contacts in Louisiana overcomes conclusory statements and suffices for a finding that a court lacks personal jurisdiction over it, a federal judge in Louisiana held Nov. 30 (Breck Williams, et al. v. Rust Engineering & Construction Co., et al., No. 16-13136, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165012).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands Agent Orange Benefits Case, Says Claim May Be Substantiated

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 30 vacated and remanded a ruling that denied benefits to a veteran's widow for his cancer and subsequent death in connection with exposure to Agent Orange, finding that the Board of Veterans Appeals failed to determine if the veteran's cancer could substantiate a claim for benefits (Anita Gauldock v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-2893, Vet. Clms.; 2016 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1846).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Plaintiff: Good Cause Exists For Expert Substitution In Oil Rig Explosion Case

SAN FRANCISCO - Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion on Nov. 30 filed a brief in California federal court, contending that their motion to substitute a fisheries expert in place of the expert they originally scheduled is based on good cause under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 16 (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appellate Panel Vacates $20 Million Tobacco Verdict

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 vacated a $20 million verdict awarded to the estate of a woman following a trial in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the damages awarded by the jury were excessive (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gwendolyn E. Odom, No. 4D14-3867, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17713).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit: Franchisors Cannot Seek Lost Royalties Under BP Settlement

NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 1 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana's ruling that three franchisors that are not based in the Gulf of Mexico cannot seek to obtain lost franchisee royalties during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, finding that they are not included in the terms of the economic and property damages settlement agreement (Claimant ID 100197593, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 16-30283, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Partially Grants, Denies Summary Judgment In Tobacco Contract Suit

RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on Nov. 28 partially granted and partially denied a motion for summary judgment by a hotel, finding that a cigar wholesaler breached a contract it had with a hotel in Las Vegas (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163570).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Asbestos Attorney Fights Expert Testimony-Based Sanctions Ruling

SAN FRANCISCO - A judge conducted only a perfunctory and conclusory investigation before finding that counsel violated court orders in an effort to elicit expert testimony regarding chemotherapy's impact on kidney disease, yet the jury already knew about the connection and no ruling excluded the testimony, a sanctioned attorney told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 23 (Barry Kelly and Molly Kelly v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 11-3240, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Denies Rehearing, Says Refinery Owner Not Covered Under Policy

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 29 denied a petition for rehearing after determining that a refinery owner seeking help with environmental cleanup costs under its parent company's insurance policy should have and could have discovered that it was not named as an insured under the policy simply by looking at the insurance policy sometime within the six years of the policy's issuance (AIG Specialty Insurance Company, f/k/a Chartis Specialty Insurance Company v. Tesoro Corporation, No. 15-50953, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - State Employees: Flint Water Crisis Venue Decision Needed Before Dismissal Ruling

DETROIT - Employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Nov. 28 filed a brief asking a Michigan federal court to rule on their motion to change venue before it rules on pending motions to dismiss a lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., who allege that the employees are liable for the city's lead-contaminated water crisis (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Policyholder Is Entitled To Documents Sought In Contamination Dispute

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal magistrate judge on Nov. 23 granted an insured's motion to compel the production of documents in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the insured has shown a need for the requested documents and that the request was not overly burdensome (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, et al., v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., et al., No. 16-2778, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162783).

Mealey's Insurance - Policyholder Is Entitled To Documents Sought In Contamination Dispute

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal magistrate judge on Nov. 23 granted an insured's motion to compel the production of documents in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the insured has shown a need for the requested documents and that the request was not overly burdensome (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, et al., v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., et al., No. 16-2778, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162783).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Illinois Wrongful Death Case Sent To Roundup MDL In Northern California

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Nov. 28 issued an order transferring another case to the multidistrict litigation for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to the weed killer Roundup, stating that the wrongful death lawsuit brought against Monsanto Co. by an Illinois man involves questions of fact common to other actions already sent to the MDL (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Monsanto: City Of Spokane's PCB Contamination Case Fails To State A Claim

SPOKANE, Wash. - Monsanto Co. and its affiliates on Nov. 23 filed an answer against the city of Spokane, contending that the city's attempt to collect remediation costs for alleged contamination of its groundwater with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) should be denied because the plaintiff fails to state a claim (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-00201, E.D. Wash.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Calif. Court Upholds Evidence, Instructions On Way To Affirming Asbestos Verdict

LOS ANGELES - Asbestos plaintiffs themselves introduced irrelevant contract provisions about which they now complain, and any error arising from improper jury instructions regarding an employer's duty did not prejudice them, a California appeals court held Nov. 22 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B265222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pennsylvania High Court Dismisses Asbestos Appeal Over Dangerous Product Question

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Nov. 22 dismissed as improvidently granted an appeal challenging whether a judge or jury properly decides if the lack of warnings on a product renders the product unreasonably dangerous (Thomas Amato and Jean Amato v. Bell & Gossett, et al., No. 5 EAP 2016, Charlotte Vinciguerra, et al. v. Bayer Cropscience Inc., et al., No. 4 EAP 2016, Pa. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Flint Water Crisis Plaintiffs: Defense Motion To Change Venue Should Be Denied

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Michigan residents who allege that state employees are liable for the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Nov. 22 filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that the court should deny the defendants' motion to stay proceedings pending a final decision on their motion to change venue because the defendants' "purported concerns" do not justify a stay (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Fertilizer Maker: Tainted Groundwater Case Fails; Jurisdiction Lacking

TAMPA, Fla. - Fertilizer manufacturers who are being sued for groundwater contamination allegedly connected to an incident at their plant moved in federal court in Florida on Nov. 21, contending that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs' complaint "does not contain a single allegation that" contaminants have been detected beyond the borders of the property where the plant is located and because jurisdiction is lacking (Nicholas Bohn, et al. v. The Mosaic Company, et al., No. 16-02724, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Genuine Issues Preclude Ruling On Contract Issues, Judge Finds

PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on Nov. 21 denied cross-motions for partial summary judgment on breach of contract claims in a suit over indemnification for cleanup from contamination from underground storage tank (UST) leaks, finding that too many issues of material fact exist as to whether the discovery rule or tolling doctrines apply under Arizona law (Greyhound Lines Incorporated v. Viad Corporation, No. CV-15-01820-PHX-DGC, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160960).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 3rd Circuit: Judge's Standard Too Strict In Remanding Boeing Asbestos Case

PHILADELPHIA - Federal contractors must only present a colorable federal defense for removal and are not subject to a special standard requiring that they prove their case to prevail against a motion to remand, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 22 (Steven Papp, et al. v. Fore-Kast Sales Co. Inc., et al., No. 15-2851, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20924).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pa. Top Court Affirms Experts' Cumulative Exposure Testimony In $1M Asbestos Case

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Expert testimony that every dose of asbestos contributes to the cumulative total simply states accepted scientific fact and is not the type of "every exposure" testimony rejected by precedent, a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court held Nov. 22 in affirming a nearly $1 million verdict (Richard Rost and Joyce Rost v. Ford Motor Co., No. 56 EAP 2014, Pa. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Liquidator Asks Court To Approve Settlement Of Asbestos Claims

CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a New Hampshire court on Nov. 21 to approve a $13.8 million settlement agreement with a bankrupt company's asbestos personal injury trust (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York High Court Allows Police Officer To Pursue Asbestos Case Against Buffalo

ALBANY, N.Y. - A state system designed to compensate injured police officers does not constitute a workers' compensation system and allows for a tort action alleging exposure to asbestos while in the employ of the city of Buffalo, a divided New York Court of Appeals held Nov. 21 (In the Matter of James R. Diegelman, et al. v. City of Buffalo, et al., No. 168, N.Y. App.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - DuPont Says It Should Not Be Forced To Disclose Documents In C8 Injury Litigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Nov. 21 filed a brief in the perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) injury multidistrict litigation, arguing that the MDL court should deny the plaintiffs' motion to compel the production of underlying data the company used to create witness summaries for a cancer registry used in the first bellwether trial (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court: Premises Ruling Didn't Nix Duty Question For Negligence Claim

LOS ANGELES - Adjudication of a premises liability asbestos claim arising from work in Iran did not resolve the question of duty under a negligence cause of action, a California appeals court held Nov. 17 (Nader Kordestani, et al. v. ExxonMobil Oil Corp., et al., No. B257193, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).