DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 15 issued a second order consolidating all of the lawsuits pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., into one action in response to a motion to reconsider filed by a group of state employee defendants. The one-page order did not elaborate on the ruling (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 17 affirmed a federal judge in Tennessee's ruling awarding damages to a contractor that helped remediate the site of the Manhattan Project but found that the judge should recalculate the amount of interest owed to the contractor under the Tennessee Prompt Pay Act (Eagle Supply and Manufacturing, L.P. v. Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC, No. 16-6428, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15498).
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for injuries, only to have it reversed, on Aug. 16 filed a letter with the judge presiding over the matter in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York objecting to "exorbitant and unprecedented" defense costs, and seeking reassignment of the case to another federal court (Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, et al., Case No. 11 Civ. 691, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A doctor with 30 years of experience reviewing asbestos and colon cancer cases satisfies the standard for offering an opinion on causation, a California appeals court held Aug. 14 in dismissing a company's complaints about the quality of some of the underlying evidence the expert relied upon (Dolores Duty, et al. v. TRZ Realty LLC, Nos. A142167, A143260, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5616).
PRESCOTT, Ariz. - A federal judge in Arizona on Aug. 15 ruled that the federal government's fee title ownership of land in the Navajo Reservation that houses 19 uranium mines makes it an owner under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (El Paso Natural Gas Company LLC v. United States, No. CV-14-08165-PCT-DGC, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129696).
SAN FRANCISCO - Plaintiffs' attorneys representing people who contend that they developed cancer as a result of exposure to Roundup, the herbicide manufactured by Monsanto Co. that contains glyphosate, on Aug. 14 filed a brief in a California federal court arguing that they did not act in bad faith when they made 86 documents public that pertain to the lawsuit because when they did so, there was "no longer a live dispute" with regard to their confidentiality (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two amicus curiae parties on Aug. 15 joined a plaintiff in urging the Florida Supreme Court to reject the Daubert standard and reverse an appellate court's ruling excluding experts and negating an $8 million asbestos award (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - In a breach of contract suit, an insurer moved for clarification on Aug. 11 with a Pennsylvania federal court to confirm that it is to produce only unredacted versions of documents previously produced with redactions based on proprietary material, reserves and "other reinsurance" information and additional documents reflecting the date when the insurer provided first notice of asbestos claims to other reinsurers of relevant policies (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa.).
MACON, Ga. - An interlocutory appeal of an order denying a protective fabric maker's motion to dismiss a suit accusing it of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) would not ultimately advance the litigation, a federal judge in Georgia ruled Aug. 15, finding that discovery is needed to determine if wastewater from the company's facility is being discharged into navigable waterways of the United States (Flint Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Southern Mills Inc., No. 16-CV-435, M.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129430).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 10 reversed a federal judge in Montana's ruling that a contribution lawsuit brought under Section 113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act was barred by the statute of limitations, holding that American Smelting and Refining Co. LLC's (ASARCO's) claim did not arise until the entry of a 2009 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (ASARCO v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 14-35723, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14781).
NEWARK, N.J. - The special master appointed to oversee discovery issues in a seven-year-old asbestos lawsuit involving allegations of fraud on the part of a talc defendant and its lawyer said in an Aug. 11 letter that a law firm's representation of an unrelated party does not disqualify him from serving (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A federal judge in South Dakota on Aug. 9 denied a motion brought by a group of plaintiffs seeking to increase the amount of tobacco used in a religious mixture for Native American religious ceremonies in prison after finding that the amount the court already allowed was sufficient for religious ceremonies (Native American Council of Tribes, et al. v. Douglas Weber, et al., No. 4:09-CV-4182, D. S.D., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125754).
SAN FRANCISCO - The federal judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation for Roundup, the herbicide manufactured by Monsanto Co. that contains glyphosate, on Aug. 9 ordered plaintiffs' counsel to show cause why it should not be removed from the case or otherwise sanctioned monetarily in connection with the law firm's decision to post online disputed documents that Monsanto contends are confidential (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
DETROIT - A group of Michigan residents on Aug. 8 filed a class action against Ford Motor Co. in Michigan state court contending that the company is liable for groundwater contamination as a result of leaking "highly toxic chemicals" from its facility in Livonia, Mich. (Bruce Tenniswood, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., 17-011941-NZ, Mich. Cir., Wayne Co.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Aug. 10 found that a tobacco tax labeled as a "smoking cessation fee" is a revenue-raising tax because the money generated from it is being used to balance the state's budget and, therefore, that it should be stricken in its entirety (James P. Naifeh, et al. v. State of Oklahoma, et al., No. 116102, Okla. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The en banc District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 10 refused to grant a petition for rehearing en banc sought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that challenged a split panel decision that found that the EPA did not have the authority to stay the agency's rule on fugitive methane emissions (Clean Air Council, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1145, D.C. Cir.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 9 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former administrator for the city of Flint, Mich., who sought damages for defamation and sought protection under the state's whistleblower act in relation to actions she took during the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis, which she contended resulted in the termination of her employment (Natasha Henderson v. The City of Flint, et al., No. 16-11648, E.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125869).
NEWARK, N.J. - Defendants in a seven-year-old asbestos lawsuit on Aug. 8 asked a New Jersey federal judge to replace a special discovery master due to conflict of interest from his past and current law firm associations (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 7 denied a motion to dismiss brought by a counterdefendant in a tobacco product trademark infringement suit after finding that the court had jurisdiction over the counterclaims because the counterdefendant, which is based in California, has done business in Illinois (Republic Technologies, et al. v. BBK Tobacco & Foods, No. 16-CV-3401, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124673).
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Aug. 7 denied a salvage yard's motion to dismiss a suit brought by an environmental group accusing it of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), ruling that the group has jurisdictional standing and that its allegations were sufficient (Clean Water Action v. Searles Auto Recycling Corp., No. 16-12067-NMG, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124207).
PASADENA, Calif. - A federal trial court abused its discretion twice when making two expert witness decisions against a California city, and the errors were prejudicial to the city in its claims that its groundwater was polluted by a chemical in a company's fertilizer products, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 7 in vacating the trial court's judgment and remanding for a new trial (City of Pomona v. SQM North America Corporation, No. 15-56062, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14491).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 4 stayed three lawsuits filed by cities seeking to recover damages from Monsanto Co., Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. for increased costs the cities have incurred to maintain compliance with permits for discharges of stormwater containing polychlorinated biphenyls, finding that the cities need to exhaust all administrative remedies before their federal lawsuit can proceed (City of San Jose v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-03178, City of Oakland v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-5152, City of Berkeley v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00071, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123673).
SALT LAKE CITY - The owner of a pipeline that leaked crude oil after it was struck by an electrical arc from another company's transition station can seek contribution under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) for approximately $30 million in costs it incurred in remediating the spill, a federal judge in Utah ruled Aug. 4 (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123447).
DETROIT - A panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 reversed summary disposition for a tobacco seller and remanded the suit over the forfeiture and seizure of tobacco products to the trial court to determine if the forfeiture was proper (Value, Inc. v. Department of Treasury, No. 331581, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1235).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 2 denied a motion by the city of Pasadena, Texas, for partial summary judgment, finding that it could face liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because it owned a wastewater treatment plant for 50 years where spills of hazardous waste occurred (USOR Site PRP Group v. A&M Contractors Inc., et al., No. 14-CV-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121386).