LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Conflicted Company Not Subject To Punitive Damages In Asbestos Case, Judge Says

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Evidence of a conflicted company struggling with evolving knowledge about asbestos and mesothelioma cannot support a punitive damage claim, a federal judge in North Carolina held March 4 while permitting two other claims (Susan Elizabeth Smith, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., et al., No. 14-943, M.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45100).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Affirms Ruling Denying Man's Attempt To Opt Out Of BP Settlement

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana's did not abuse his discretion when finding that a motion to sever was not an adequate means for man who allegedly sustained injuries while fighting fires that occurred after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 to opt out of a settlement offered by BP Exploration and Production, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 6 (In re: Deepwater Horizon: Seacor Holdings v. Duwayne Mason, No. 15-30597, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Appeals Court: Earlier Tumor Didn't Trigger Time Limit In Asbestos Case

ALBANY, N.Y. - A pathologist's opinion that a tumor identified in 2002 is the same as the one diagnosed as malignant epithelial mesothelioma (MEM) in 2010 lacks sufficient reference to the disease in question or that the same disease existed at both times, a New York appeals court panel held March 31 (Linda Wells v. 3M Co. and Genuine Parts Co., et al., No. 521580, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2396).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Hampshire: U.S. High Court Should Not Hear Exxon's MTBE Cleanup Cost Appeal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorneys for the State of New Hampshire on April 5 filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court contending that Exxon Mobil Corp.'s (EMC) petition for writ of certiorari in the parties' dispute regarding cleanup costs for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) should be denied because the company has failed to preserve a due process challenge to the lower court ruling at issue (Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al. v. State of New Hampshire, No. 15-933, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Judge Says Costs Related To EPA Settlement Are Indemnity Costs

PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal magistrate judge on March 31 granted an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment, but only as it pertained to classifying costs incurred in a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as indemnity costs rather than defense costs (Siltronic Corp. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau, et al., No. 11-1493, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43400).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Oil Spill MDL Judge Approves BP's $18B Settlement With Government, Gulf States

NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana presiding over litigation stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 4 approved an $18 billion settlement offered by BP Exploration and Production Inc. to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) and natural resource damages claims brought by the federal government and states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179, Case No. 09-md-2179, E.D. La).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Denies Petitions Challenging EPA's Approval Of Arizona's Haze Plan

SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 31 denied petitions challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to approve in part and deny in part Arizona's state implementation plan (SIP) governing regional haze, holding that the agency did not act arbitrarily or capriciously (Phoenix Cement Company v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nos. 13-73383, 13-73393, 13-73401, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5944).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - NRDC, ACLU: Michigan, City Of Flint Subject To Injunctive Relief

DETROIT - The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which are among the plaintiffs who sued state and local officials over the lead contamination in the drinking water in Flint, Mich., on March 31 filed joint briefs in Michigan federal court opposing the motion to dismiss filed by the state treasurer and members of the Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board (FRTAB), contending that the defendants are subject to injunctive relief to correct continuing violations of federal law (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 Reverses, Remands Agent Orange Case; Reasons For Denial Were 'Inadequate'

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on March 29 reversed and remanded a case brought by a man who contends that he was injured as a result of exposure to Agent Orange during his service in the U.S. Army. The judge said the Board of Veterans Affairs provided "inadequate" reasons for denying the veteran's claim (Harold L. Burt v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-0853, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 454).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Drinking Water Lawsuit, Says Statute Of Limitations Has Expired

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on March 31 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation and dismissed a lawsuit brought by a local water authority that had claimed that Northrop Grumman Corp. and an affiliate were liable for contaminating the drinking water supply with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (Bethpage Water District v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, et al., No. 13-6362, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43720).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Tobacco Plaintiffs Say 7th Amendment Does Not Apply In Medical-Monitoring Claim

BOSTON - A group of smokers still seeking medical monitoring from Philip Morris USA Inc. says in a March 31 response to the tobacco company's motion for final judgment that there is legal precedent for a Massachusetts federal judge to enter a different verdict on the plaintiffs' consumer protection claim than the jury found on their warranty claim (Kathleen Donovan, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 1:06-cv-12234, D. Mass.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Met Burden In Proving It Has No Duty To Defend, Federal Judge Says

RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on March 29 granted an insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings after determining that the insurer met its burden of proving that it has no duty to defend under certain of its policies for two underlying environmental contamination claims (PCS Phosphate Co. Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., No. 14-99, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41432).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company Denied Rehearing By 4th Circuit In Tainted Groundwater Injury Case

RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 29 denied a petition for rehearing en banc filed by a company that had been sued by a North Carolina man who contended that he contracted cancer as a result of groundwater contamination for which the man said the company was liable (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 15-1001, 4th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Asarco's Claims Against Mining Company Barred By Judicial Estoppel

SALT LAKE CITY - Asarco LLC's claims seeking contribution from a mining company under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) toward the $7.4 million the plaintiff company spent on remediating the Richardson Flat Superfund site in Utah are barred by judicial estoppel and the fact that the plaintiff company could not show that it paid more than its fair share to clean up the property, a federal judge in Utah ruled March 28 in granting Noranda Mining Inc.'s motion for summary judgment (Asarco LLC v. Noranda Mining Inc., No. 12-CV-527-TC-DBP, D. Utah; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41532).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Federal Judge Dismisses 2 Companies In MTBE Contamination Case

NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over multidistrict litigation for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on March 29 dismissed two more defendants (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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Partially Dismisses Tainted Groundwater Case, Allows Some Third-Party Claims

NEW YORK - A judge in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 28 dismissed a groundwater contamination lawsuit against two gas stations, and partially dismissed a third-party claim brought by one gas station owner against the other for allegedly failing to remediate the chemical spill that led to the contamination in the first place (The Plumbing Supply LLC v. ExxonMobil Oil Corp., et al., No. 14CV3674, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41112).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Date Of Injury Or Damage Is Trigger Of Coverage, Not Exposure, Federal Judge Says

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on March 25 granted an insured's motion for summary judgment after determining that coverage for underlying asbestos personal injury claims is triggered not when the exposure occurred, but when the actual injury or damage occurred (Compass Insurance Co. v. University Mechanical & Engineering Contractors Inc., No. 14-04295, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39624).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - EPA: Chemical Repackage Co. Will Pay $85,000 Over Illegal Waste Storage

PHILADELPHIA - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced March 28 that the owner of a chemical repackaging and distribution plant in Reading, Pa., agreed to pay a $55,000 penalty for illegally storing oil and hazardous waste and that it would donate $30,000 of emergency response equipment to a local fire department.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - No Impropriety In Tobacco Appeal, Philip Morris Tells U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON D.C. - Responding to a petition for certiorari and a brief supporting it by a group of judges, Philip Morris U.S.A. Inc. tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a March 26 response brief that an Illinois Supreme Court justice who ran a campaign promise to rule in favor of tobacco companies did not violate due process rights by denying an appellant's motion to recuse himself from deciding an appeal of a $10 billion verdict in a tobacco case (Sharon Price and Michael Furth v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. No. 15-947. U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Railroad Company: Plaintiffs Lack Scientific Evidence Of Chemical Exposure

CAMDEN, N.J. - A railroad company sued for injuries from vinyl chloride contamination that allegedly occurred following a train derailment on March 28 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court contending that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs did not provide any scientific evidence of the dose of chemical to which they claim to have been exposed (In Re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Grants Summary Judgment To 5 Asbestos Defendants

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 22 granted summary judgment to five defendants but found sufficient evidence of an electrician's potential asbestos exposure from Bakelite contactors (Nanette Pace, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 13-6227, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36659).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Says Residents May Amend Injury Lawsuit; Parties Allowed To Intervene

BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on March 23 permitted a group of plaintiffs alleging personal injuries to amend their complaint against Exxon Mobil Corp. and granted a motion to intervene sought by former employees of the plant from which chemicals were allegedly spilled (Tonga Nolan v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, No. 13-439, M.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38303).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Post-Judgment Interest On $1.6M Award For C8 Exposure Permitted

COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on March 22 ruled that a woman who won $1.6 million against E.I. du Pont De Nemours and Co. for injuries due to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) is entitled to post-judgment interest (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 - North Carolina Agency: 'Immediate Action' Needed On EPA Lead Drinking Water Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) on March 24 petitioned the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "to take immediate action" and revise the federal rule pertaining to lead and copper in drinking water pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Circuit Vacates Remand, Orders Consideration Of Further Removal Issues

NEW ORLEANS - Survivor claims sound in strict liability and require vacating remand of an asbestos action and consideration of whether a ship yard has a colorable federal defense, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 22 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-30514, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5328).