PHILADELPHIA - In a breach of contract suit over asbestos insurance claims, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 1 ordered an insurer to produce to a reinsurer original, unredacted versions of documents concerning proprietary information, historical loss reserves and information related to other reinsurance companies (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120858).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general for 15 states and the District of Columbia on Aug. 1 filed a petition for review in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the court should review the final action of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that extended the deadline for promulgating initial area designations for the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standards (State of New York, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 17-1185, D.C. Cir.).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on July 28 granted the state's motion to remand a suit against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the state's water, land and wildlife, rejecting the company's argument that it manufactured the chemicals at the request of the federal government (Washington v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 17-cv-53, W.D. Wash.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 1 issued a press release in which it said it would forgive $20.7 million in debt that the city of Flint, Mich., owes the agency related to the response to the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas City, Kan.-based chemical manufacturer on July 31 entered into an agreement with the government in Kansas federal court in which the company agreed to pay a $950,000 civil penalty and remedy its risk management program to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States v. Harcros Chemicals Inc., No. 17-cv-02432, D. Kan.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After finding that a man who died from laryngeal cancer was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., a Florida jury on July 28 awarded his widow $4 million in damages (Bertie Thomas v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007-CV-036432, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 28 reversed two lower court rulings and remanded two cases pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., ruling that the claims were not preempted by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) (Beatrice Boler, et al. v. Darnell Earley, et al., No. 16-1684 and Melissa Mays, et al. v. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 17-1144, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13691).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on July 26 ruled that the costs of investigating the levels of lead and arsenic contamination emanating from a Superfund site near a housing complex as well as the costs the complex's residents incurred in relocating from the property are recoverable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), but dismissed a proposed class' claims for nuisance against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. and the Chemours Co. (Lerithea Rolan, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 16-CV-357-TLS, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117437).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Nothing in the record suggests that a company's appeal of a ruling ordering it to produce index cards it claims contain trade secrets is a frivolous one or that the move is simply a ploy designed to delay trial, an Illinois appeals court held July 26 (Larry Salvatore Sr., et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks, et al., No. 4-17-0244, Ill. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1539).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on July 26 reversed and remanded a case in which a couple sued a municipality and companies associated with a dry cleaning business, finding that the complaint for physical injuries had been filed in a timely manner, contrary to the rulings of two lower courts (Edan Ben Elazar, et al. v. Macrietta Cleaners, Inc., et al., No. A-11-16, N.J. Sup., Sept. Term 2016; 2017 N.J. 809).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on July 25 ruled that environmental groups that successfully resolved a lawsuit accusing BNSF Railway Co. of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by allowing coal dust from railcars to migrate into waterways could recover $298,331.14 in costs but limited the amount the groups could recover for fees their attorneys charged for block billing and for litigating claims against non-BSNF parties (Sierra Club, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, No. C13-0967-JCC, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116442).
BENNINGTON, Vt. - The state of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) on July 24 reached a consent decree with a plastics manufacturer in which the parties have agreed to drop a groundwater contamination lawsuit in exchange for the company's continued remediation efforts, which will involve the company providing $4,357,853.87 for remediation costs (State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources v, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, No. N/A, Vt. Super., Bennington Unit).
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington federal judge on July 25 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that the insured's complaint seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying environmental contamination suit has stated a coverage claim against the insurer that is appropriate for resolution in the federal court (USNR LLC v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., et al., No. 16-5879, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116463).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The federal judge in Ohio presiding over the multidistrict litigation brought against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on July 24 entered a pretrial order approving modifications sought by the plaintiffs that increase the amount of money the company will pay into a qualified settlement fund (QSF) (In re: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 25 found in favor of Philip Morris USA Inc. after finding that a man who died from lung cancer was not addicted to cigarettes made by Philip Morris and that his lung cancer and death was not caused by an addiction to those cigarettes (Judith Pearson v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2007-CA-017823, Fla. 13th Jud. Cir. Hillsborough Co.).
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - General Motors LLC cannot sue Johns-Manville Corp.'s asbestos personal injury trust in Ohio state court to recover money for payments made to a widow because GM's claim for contribution is barred by the decades-old injunction issued in Johns-Manville's Chapter 11 case, a New York federal bankruptcy judge held July 24 (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656 [General Motors LLC v. Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 1:17-ap-1032], S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A medical expert's opinion that exposure to asbestos in gaskets substantially contributed to the entire dose that caused a man's mesothelioma simply reiterates scientific fact and is sufficiently case-specific to avoid being the "every exposure" theory, a man told a federal judge on July 24 in asking that he reconsider his ruling excluding the testimony (John E. Haskins and Mary L. Haskins v. 3M Co., et al., No. 15-2086, James Willson Chesher, et al. v. 3M., No. 15-2123, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113657).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on July 24 refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an environmental conservation group against the owner of a site that allegedly discharges excessive levels of polluted storm water, holding that the owner's decision to terminate a general permit does not render the group's claims moot (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Shiloh Group, LLC, et al., No. 16-cv-6499-DMR, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115209).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority on July 21 upheld a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rule that prohibits the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices on airplanes because the law banning the devices from planes benefits the health of the passengers (Competitive Enterprise Institute, et al. v. United States Department of Transportation, et al., No.16-1128, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13112).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania man on July 21 sued Monsanto Co. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, contending that the company is liable for negligent conduct because he developed cancer as a result of using the company's herbicide Roundup, which contains glyphosate (Frederick Johnson v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-3260, E.D. Pa.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on July 21 denied a defendant company's motion for partial summary judgment in a suit over cleanup costs at a Superfund site, finding that genuine disputes exist as to whether the company disposed of grease on the property (USOR Site PRP Group v. A&M Contractors, Inc., et al., No. 14-CV-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114531).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general of 11 states on July 24 filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of the EPA's decision to delay implementation of federal requirements preventing the release of toxic chemicals by chemical companies (State of New York, et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1181, D.C. Cir.).
CLEVELAND - Expert asbestos medical testimony that echoes the requirements in Ohio law is sufficient to make a prima facie case and need not be a signed document, an Ohio appeals court held July 20 (Kevin E. Howell v. Consolidated Rail Corp., et al., No. 104554, Ohio App., 8th Dist., 2017 Ohio App. LEXIS 2984).
DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 19 ruled that the federal government can be liable for some cleanup costs at a New Mexico mine as an owner under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because it owned a piece of national forest that was used to dump mine tailings (Chevron Mining Inc. v. United States, et al., No. 15-2209, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12959).