LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Disclaimer Of Asbestos Claims Specific Enough For Remand

MIAMI - A couple's disclaimer of any claims arising from exposure during a man's service in the U.S. Navy aboard a submarine defeats federal officer removal, a federal judge held May 9 (Richard Batchelor v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. 16-21235, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court: Machine's Inevitable Use With Asbestos Brakes Creates Potential Liability

SAN FRANCISCO - A grinding machine's inevitable use with asbestos-containing automobile brakes during the period in question permits liability under strict liability and negligence theories, a California appeals court held May 9 (Renee Rondon, et al. v. Hennessy Industries Inc., Nos. A141686, A142411, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - EPA: Carbon Fiber Supplier To Pay $125,000 For Violating Notification Law

SEATTLE - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 5 that SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC will pay $125,000 for violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA) stemming from the company's failure to alert a local emergency planning committee about its storage of nitrogen and ammonium bicarbonate and its releases of ammonia and hydrogen cyanide at its Moses Lake, Wash., manufacturing plant.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - SEPTA To Pay $116,843 For Violating Storage Tank Regulations, EPA Says

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 4 that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Public Transit Authority (SEPTA) will pay $116,843 for violating underground storage tank regulations at five of its bus garages in Philadelphia.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Says Asbestos Case Spoliation Claim Came Too Late

MADISON, Wis. - Plaintiffs' spoliation of evidence allegations belonged in a discovery motion, not a request for a jury instruction, a judge held May 5 while also denying a motion for reconsideration of several previous rulings (Milton Boyer and Kathy Boyer v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-286, Katrina Masephol v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-186, Virginia Prust, et al. v. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-143, Roger Seehafer and Janice Seehafer v. Weyerhaeuser Co. and Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 14-161, Wesley Sydow and Theresa Sydow v. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 3M Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Co., No. 14-219, Brian Heckel, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 13-459, Dianne Jacobs v. Rapid American Corp., et al., No. 12-899, W.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59710; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59961).

Mealey's Insurance - Pollution Exclusion Does Not Apply To Release Of Sewer Gas, Federal Judge Confirms

PHOENIX - Because the release of sewer gases caused by the improper installation of a plumbing system is not traditional environmental pollution, a policy's pollution exclusion does not bar coverage for an underlying suit arising out of the release of gases into a shopping center; however, a question of fact exists regarding whether the insurer had a duty to contribute to the settlement of the underlying suit, an Arizona federal judge held May 6, denying reconsideration (National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, et al. v. James River Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-765, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60445).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Allegations, Imputed Knowledge Of Asbestos Save Punitive Damages Claim

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Imputed knowledge of the dangers of asbestos combined with allegations that a pump company caused its products to enter the stream of commerce are sufficient for a punitive damages claim, a Connecticut federal judge held May 4 (James Schmidt v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 15-941, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59007).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Ohio Court Reinstates Negligence Case Against Asbestos Insulation Supplier

CLEVELAND - An estate lacks sufficient evidence to hold a product distributor strictly liable for a manufacturer's asbestos-containing insulation, but presents enough evidence about the known dangers of asbestos during the period in question to proceed with a negligence cause of action, an Ohio appeals court held May 5 (Estate of Ian W. Blandford, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 103030, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 4th Circuit Affirms Remand, Causation Standard Rulings In Asbestos Cases

BALTIMORE - Evidence of conduct coming under valid government contracts satisfied the standard for removal. and a judge did not err in applying the frequency, regularity, proximity standard in a direct-evidence asbestos case, a federal appeals panel held May 6 (Ronald F. Hurley, et al. v. Alltite Gaskets, et al., No. 14-2049, Kevin Harper, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 14-2271, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8415).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 'Every Exposure' Opinions Required Daubert Hearing, Ohio Court Says

CLEVELAND - A judge erred when he failed to conduct a hearing on the underpinnings of two experts' testimony that every exposure to asbestos contributes to disease, an Ohio appeals court held May 5 (Barbara Watkins, et al. v. Affinia Group, et al., No. CA-15-102538, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Premises Owner's Duty To Wife Of Contractor A Jury Question, Court Says

NEW ORLEANS - Whether a premises owner owed a duty to the wife of an independent contractor's employee is a jury question, a Louisiana appeals court held May 4 in reversing summary judgment on the issue (Elizabeth Gailyne Sutherland v. Alma Plantation LLC, et al., No. 2015-CA-1136, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 885).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - FDA To Regulate Sale, Distribution Of E-Cigarettes, Other Tobacco Products

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Food and Drug Administration on May 5 announced that it will soon regulate the sale and distribution of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco. The agency currently regulates cigarette, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Flint Water Employee Reaches Deal, Agrees To Cooperate With Lead Investigation

DETROIT - An employee of the City of Flint, Mich., who is one of three men indicted in connection with the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis, has reached a plea deal with the special prosecutor, the Michigan attorney general announced May 3.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Class: New Jersey Governor, School Officials Liable For Lead Poisoning In Newark

TRENTON, N.J. - A group of residents on May 2 filed a purported class action in New Jersey federal court seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Gov. Chris Christie and officials associated with Newark Public Schools in relation to lead-contaminated drinking water in the city and its schools (Veronica Branch, et al v. Chris Christie, et al., No. 16-2467, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - N.Y. Justice Allows Testimony That Cumulative Exposures Cause Asbestos Disease

NEW YORK - Plaintiffs may present expert testimony that cumulative asbestos exposures lead to mesothelioma, a New York justice held in an opinion posted May 3 (Alice Butera, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 102479/2003, Helena D. Miskill, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 109496/2003, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Tobacco Plaintiff Asks Court To Deny Motion To Stay Proceedings

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A woman who won an Engle progeny verdict against Philip Morris USA Inc. asked a federal judge in Florida on May 2 to deny the tobacco company's motion to stay her motion to reinstate her punitive damages award, saying it would be "needlessly cruel" to stay her 20-year-old case (Judith Berger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Brake-Grinding Manufacturer Can't Escape California Asbestos Suit, Court Says

OAKLAND, Calif. - An automobile brake-grinding-machine manufacturer must face claims arising from a man's asbestos exposure because the evidence suggests the machines' use would inevitably create a hazardous condition, a California appeals court held April 28 (Susan Hetzel v. Hennessy Industries Inc., No. A144218, Calif. App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3167).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Asbestos Brake Maker, Amici Urge California Court To Take 'Every Exposure' Case

LOS ANGELES - California's high court should accept review of a $2 million verdict in an asbestos case and firmly establish that testimony that any exposure to asbestos causes disease falls short of the state's causation standard, amici curiae argue in an April 29 brief (Nickole Davis, as personal representative, etc. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. S233753, Calif. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York High Court To Hear Arguments On Consolidation Of Asbestos Cases

NEW YORK - New York's high court will hear oral argument on May 3 on whether a lower court erred in affirming the consolidated trial of two asbestos cases involving different types of exposures and resulting disease (In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation; Ruby E. Konstantin, individually and as executrix of the estate of Dave John Konstantin v. 630 Third Ave. Associates, et al., No. APL-2014-00317, N.Y. App.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Top Court: Ford USA Not On The Hook For Ford UK's Asbestos Products

NEW YORK - An appeals court erred in finding that Ford USA's control over the brand's trademark placed it sufficiently in the chain of distribution for liability arising from Ford UK's asbestos-containing products, New York's high court held May 3 (Raymond Finerty, et al. v. Abex Corp., et al., No. 190187/10 14344 14343, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).

Mealey's Insurance - 9th Circuit To Hear Oral Arguments In Appeal Of Environmental Coverage Ruling

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments May 2 in a suit in which an insurer contends that an Oregon federal judge incorrectly ruled that a notice letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency related to the insured's liability for a Superfund site constitutes a suit under the insured's policies (Ash Grove Cement Co. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 13-35900, 13-35905, 14-35298; 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Third-Party Defendant: Complaint Should Not Be Amended; Claims Are 'Futile'

NEW YORK - A third-party defendant in a groundwater contamination lawsuit on April 28 filed a brief in New York federal court, arguing that the third-party plaintiff should not be permitted to amend its complaint because its claims are "futile" (The Plumbing Supply LLC v. ExxonMobil Oil Corp., et al., No. 14CV3674, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Evidence Supports C8 Plaintiff's Damages Claim Against DuPont

COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on April 29 denied E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.'s motion to dismiss a punitive damages claim against it in a lawsuit brought for injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), determining that a "reasonable jury" could find that the evidence "clearly and convincingly" showed DuPont's "conscious disregard" for the rights and safety of the plaintiffs (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Divided Indiana Top Court Denies Rehearing In Repose In Asbestos Cases

INDIANAPOLIS - A divided Indiana Supreme Court on April 28 denied rehearing in the case striking down the state's 10-year statute of repose in asbestos cases (Larry Myers and Loa Myers v. Crouse-Hinds, Division of Cooper Industries Inc.; and Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Hollingsworth & Vose, No. 49S00-1502-MI-119, General Electric Co. v. Mary R. Geyman, et al., No. 49S00-1501-MI-35, Owens-Illinois Inc. v. Mary R. Geyman, et al., No. 49SS00-1501-MI-36, Ind. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Top Court Set To Hear Arguments On Liability For Replacement Parts

NEW YORK - New York's top court will hear oral argument on May 3 on whether manufacturers can be held liable for third-party asbestos-containing replacement parts, according to the court's website (In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation; Doris Kay Dummitt, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton, et al., No. 2014-00209, N.Y. App.).