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.).
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).
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).
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.).
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."
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.).
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).
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).
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.
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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.).
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).
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).
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.).
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).
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.).
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).