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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 Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Reinstates Sophisticated Intermediary Asbestos Case

SAN FRANCISCO - Recent California Supreme Court precedent shows that a federal judge erred in applying the sophisticated user doctrine, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said in reinstating an asbestos case on Sept. 21 (Kimbra Gottschall, et al. v. General Dynamics Corp., et al., No. 14-15379, 14-15380, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17248).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Overrules Argument That Government's Cost Recovery Claim In Untimely

BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 22 overruled a railroad roundhouse operator's argument that the statute of limitations barred the government's cost recovery claim under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that the tolling period did not begin to run until the U.S. Army issued a record of decision (ROD) in September 2015 stating that removal actions at a portion of the Fort Devens Superfund site in Ayers, Mass., were complete (United States of America v. Boston and Maine Corporation v. Town of Ayer, Mass., No. 13-10087-IT, D. Mass.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129726).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Again Declines To Stay Remand While It Considers Asbestos Challenge

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 21 again denied a defendant's motion seeking stay remand of an asbestos case now set for trial later this year while it challenges the order returning the case to state court (Velma Searcy v. 3M Co. and Hexcel Corp., No. 16-56034, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Proposed Bill Would Amend Safe Drinking Water Act In Light Of Flint, Mich., Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two federal legislators on Sept. 22 introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that would amend the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) aimed at improving drinking water standards, specifically with regard to the amount of lead in the water, by increasing compliance among local water utilities while fostering "greater community right to know about drinking water quality."

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 'Criminal Falsehoods' Warrant Flint, Mich., Lead Case Against State, Residents Say

DETROIT - A group of Michigan residents on Sept. 22 filed an omnibus response in a lawsuit regarding the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich., contending that although employees of the state have yet to be indicted for the lead water crisis in Flint, there are "more than enough questions of fact, internal contradictions, and criminal falsehoods" to warrant denial of their motion to dismiss (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 15-14002, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Government's Closure Of Mine Does Not Make It An Operator

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The federal government's enforcement of War Production Board Limitation Order L-208(Rule L-208) during World War II at the Lava Cap Mine does not make it an operator under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 21 in granting the government's motion for summary judgment on a defendant's counterclaim for contribution (United States of America, et al. v. Sterling Centrecorp Inc., et al., No. 08-cv-02556, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128371).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Registering In State Provides Jurisdiction Over Talc Companies

PHILADELPHIA - Registering to do business in Pennsylvania provides consent to personal jurisdiction in the state even in light of recent Supreme Court precedent, a federal judge in Philadelphia held Sept. 20 in a case alleging ovarian cancer arising from exposure to talc (Nancy Bors v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 16-2866, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128259).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Group: More Than 200 Million People Are Drinking Water Tainted With Chromium-6

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Environmental Working Group (EWG) on Sept. 20 released a report indicating that its analysis of federal data from drinking water tests shows that more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states are drinking water contaminated with hexavalent chromium - also known as chromium-6 - a known carcinogen.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - ExxonMobil Pipeline To Pay $12M Over 2011 Spill Into Yellowstone River

BILLINGS, Mont. - ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. on Sept. 21 agreed to pay $12 million to the federal government and State of Montana to compensate for natural resources damages to the Yellowstone River that occurred following an oil spill in July 2011 (United States of America, et al. v. ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, No. 16-cv-143, D. Mont.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Arizona Appeals Panel Rejects Duty For Take-Home Asbestos Exposures

PHOENIX - Saying Arizona does not recognize foreseeability in its duty analysis, a panel of the state's appellate court on Sept. 20 declined to impose a duty on a premise owner for a man's take-home asbestos exposures (Mary Quiroz, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., et al., No. 1 CA-CV 15-0083, Ariz. App., Div. 1; 2016 Ariz. App. LEXIS 218).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Glyphosate Case Alleging Fraud And Seeking Punitive Damages Added To MDL

DETROIT - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Sept. 21 issued notice that another glyphosate injury case has been added to the list of cases in the Roundup Products Liability Litigation MDL (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - DuPont: New Trial, Remittitur Warranted In C8 Case That Resulted In $5.6M Award

COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Sept. 19 filed a brief in Ohio federal court seeking judgment as a matter of law or a new trial and remittitur on the cancer claims of David Freeman, who won a combined $5.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the company for cancer stemming from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) (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 - Lead Water Crisis Plaintiffs Say Claims Properly Pleaded Against State Of Michigan

DETROIT - A group of residents on Sept. 19 filed a brief in Michigan federal court arguing that they have properly pleaded their claims against employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Gov. Rick Snyder with regard to the lead contamination of the drinking water in Flint, Mich. (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Gov. Richard Dale Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Lockheed Martin For Lack Of Jurisdiction, Remands Asbestos Case

PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania law imposing jurisdiction over companies that register to do business in the state applies only to periods where the company was actually registered, a federal judge held Sept. 16 in granting dismissal and remanding an asbestos case (Leona George, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 16-115, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126176).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - DuPont: C8 Plaintiff's High Cholesterol Claim Fails For Lack Of Evidence

COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Sept. 16 moved in Ohio federal court for summary judgment on claims made by one of the plaintiffs in the ongoing trials pertaining to alleged injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), arguing that the plaintiff has "not even attempted to come forward with the requisite evidence to support his allegations" (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 - Judge: Property Owner Not Entitled To $9.7M In Damages For Access

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - A defendant property owner can recover only $72,964 in damages for providing access to its land in order for a plaintiff company to remediate trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Sept. 15, finding that the defendant's request for $9.7 million in damages stemmed from the amount of time the plaintiff company has spent on remediation efforts (Newell Brands Inc. v. Kirsch Lofts LLC, No. 15-CV-597, W.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125987).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - D.C. Circuit Denies Motion For Rehearing, Rehearing En Banc In Tobacco Sales Suit

WASHINGTON D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 denied a former tobacco seller's motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc of a case where the court determined that the seller was not the original source of information that Philip Morris USA Inc. was price gouging cigarettes at U.S. military outposts and dismissed his complaint against the tobacco company (United States, Ex Rel. Anthony Oliver v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 15-7049, D.C. Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Ecuadorian Residents Seek Rehearing En Banc At 2nd Circuit In Lago Agrio Case

NEW YORK - A group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney on Sept. 16 filed a petition in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking a rehearing en banc with regard to the Second Circuit's prior decision that affirmed a lower court's ruling that a group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney committed fraud when they won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for alleged injuries related to the company's involvement with an oil consortium (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 14-826 [consolidated with] Chevron Corporation v. Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, No. 14-832, 2nd Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands, Finds Reasonable Chance Of Recovery Against Nondiverse Defendant

NEW ORLEANS - The mere fact that a man and his co-workers cannot identify a company that allegedly supplied asbestos-containing products to their employer does not preclude recovery or justify finding the defendant improperly joined, a federal judge in Louisiana held Sept. 14 in granting emergency remand (William Gregory Bozeman v. Wyeth Holdings Corp., et al., No. 16-14606, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124713).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge: Maritime Law Warrants Granting Pump, Boiler Makers Judgment

WILMINGTON, Del. - A couple's evidence placing two defendants' products aboard U.S. Navy ships does not establish causation under maritime law, a federal magistrate judge held Sept. 16 in recommending that the court grant summary judgment (Jimmy R. Mitchell and Connie Mitchell v. Atwood & Morill Co., et al., No. 15-958, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115210).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Federal Judge Denies Motion For Sanctions In Untaxed Tobacco Suit

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 14 denied New York City and New York state's motion to impose sanctions on the attorneys representing United Parcel Service Inc. in a tobacco trafficking suit because the judge found that the city and state's failure to produce certain pieces of evidence during discovery was accidental (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Delaware High Court: Coverage Triggered If Injury Occurred During Policy Period

WILMINGTON, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court on Sept. 12 determined that coverage for underlying asbestos bodily injury claims is owed if the bodily injury was sustained during the applicable policy periods of the excess insurance policies at issue (In re Viking Pump Inc. and Warren Pumps LLC Insurance Appeals, Nos. 518, 2014; 523, 2014; 525, 2014; 528, 2014, Del. Sup.; 2016 Del. LEXIS 474).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Court Reverses $8M Verdict, Orders Retrial For Tobacco Defendant

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After rejecting an expert's testimony that every exposure to asbestos substantially contributes to developing mesothelioma, a Florida appeals court on Sept. 14 granted a directed verdict to a gasket company and ordered a new trial for a tobacco company (Crane Co., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and Hollingsworth & Vose Co. v. Richard DeLisle and Aline DeLisle, Nos. 4D13-4351, 4D14-146, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Case Alleging Failure To Pay Workers' Comp Asbestos Benefits May Proceed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A mesothelioma sufferer has standing to pursue, and the court has jurisdiction over, claims that an employer and its insurer are not making timely payments under North Carolina's workers' compensation statutes, a federal judge in North Carolina held Sept. 9 (James Norman Richardson v. PCS Phosphate Company Inc., et al., No. 16-00068, W.D. N.C; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122354).