NEWARK, N.J. - A federal magistrate judge in New Jersey on Feb. 7 denied a motion to compel filed by a third-party defendant company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit seeking information from another third party, holding that information created as part of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process is not discoverable (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al. v. American Thermoplastics Corp., et al., No. 98-CV-4781, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16743).
SEBRING, Fla. - A Florida state jury on Feb. 8 rendered a verdict in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial after it found that a woman who was addicted to cigarettes knew or should have known that she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by the Engle claim cutoff date (Angela Durance v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 11-26-GCS, Fla. 10th Jud. Cir., Highlands Co.).
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on Feb. 6 signed a final order canceling a trial scheduled for March following an $81,308.71 settlement between a group of Mexican migrant workers who claimed that the owners of farms they worked at underpaid them and violated federal labor laws (Cecillo Gutierrez-Morales, et al. v. Earl Lee Planck Jr., et al., No. 5:15-cv-158, E.D. Ky.).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana dismissed a case on Feb. 3 after being informed the parties settled, just a day after the judge excluded treating physicians from offering expert testimony regarding asbestos's role in the plaintiff's asbestosis and lung cancer (Jesse Frank Sheppard v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2401, E.D. La.).
NEW YORK - Production of electronic documents in an asbestos dispute do not satisfy discovery requests where they are not in the requested format and lack metadata, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Feb. 3 (All Craft Fabricators Inc. v. ATC Assoc. Inc.,, No. 156897/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 323).
NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on Feb. 3 recommended approving a settlement agreement between the federal government and the New York Racing Association over the association's discharges of wastewater into New York state's and the city of New York's sewer systems without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, finding that the terms of the agreement were fair and reasonable (United States of America v. The New York Racing Association, No. 16 CV 5442, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16621).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 7 dismissed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, its governor, various state employees and the city of Flint, Mich., for the lead-contaminated water crisis on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to comply with the notice requirements of a federal law pertaining to safe drinking water (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Jan. 31 issued a conditional transfer order sending four glyphosate injury cases to the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, adding still more cases in which the plaintiffs allege that their exposure to the Roundup herbicide caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on Feb. 1 affirmed that an assignment of rights under numerous insurance policies issued between 1964 and 1986 is enforceable and valid because the assignment was made after the loss occurred and the insurers' obligation to insure the risk under the policies was not altered by the assignment to a successor company (Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., et al., No. 2015, 076523, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 121).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 31 denied appeals from a company in a suit brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that it lacked jurisdiction to review three rulings on motions seeking discovery from a nonparty company based in England (P.H. Glatfelter Co. v. Windward Prospects Ltd., Nos. 15-3847, 16-1197, 16-1310, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1707).
NEW ORLEANS - An insurer owes no duty to an employee of an insured for damages arising out of the employee's exposure to asbestos while employed by the insured, a Louisiana federal judge said Jan. 30 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Jesse Frank Sheppard v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2401, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12011).
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The claim by asbestos abatement and surveying companies and their principles that the government targeted them for enforcement actions based on their race "is arrant nonsense" unsupported by any facts, a Canadian judge held Feb. 1 (Manoj Singh aka Mike Singh, et al. v. Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia, et al., No. S166982, British Columbia Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Jan. 30 affirmed a Board of Veterans Appeals ruling that denied education benefits to the daughter of a veteran who died from heart disease caused by exposure to Agent Orange, concluding that the board did not fail its "duty to assist" (Torie S. Garrett v. Robert D. Snyder, No. 15-2724, U.S. App., Vet. Clms., 2017 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 77).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Feb. 1 answered a complaint filed in the perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) injury multidistrict litigation, arguing that the case should be dismissed with prejudice in its entirety on grounds that the claims are barred because the plaintiff assumed a risk and/or was contributorily negligent (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, members of his administration and the State-Operated School District of the City of Newark, N.J., on Jan. 30 filed two briefs in New Jersey federal court arguing that the lawsuit brought by residents who contend that the state and the school district are liable for lead-contaminated drinking water in the school district should be dismissed for lack of standing and failure to state a claim (Veronica Branch, et al v. Chris Christie, et al., No. 16-2467, D. N.J.).
NEW ORLEANS - Producing an unprepared corporate witness who failed to answer almost 100 noticed matters despite months of preparation time was akin to offering no witness at all, a federal judge in Louisiana held Jan. 31 in ordering a new deposition and imposing costs and fees (Martha Denmon Storer, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., et al., No. 14-2488, W.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13349).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on Jan. 31 reversed a trial court's ruling and said a lead-poisoning complaint brought against multiple defendants should be dismissed because the evidence shows that none of the defendants owned the property in question when the plaintiffs lived there (Arelie F., et al. v. Cathedral Properties LLC, et al., No. 2914, 350662/09, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 585).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 30 found that an Indiana law that regulates the manufacturing and distribution of vapor pens and liquids used in e-cigarettes violates the dormant commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, reversing a grant of summary judgment to the state and remanding to the trial court with instructions to declare the challenged provisions of the law unenforceable against out-of-state manufacturers (Legato Vapors LLC, et al. v. David Cook, et al., No. 16-3071, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1598).
BILLINGS, Mont. - Allegations that the state of Montana declined to act after its investigation discovered asbestos contamination at the Libby, Mont., are sufficient to keep it in a case and defeats diversity, a federal judge in Montana held Jan. 30 in adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation and remanding the case (Timothy S. McDowell, personal representative of the estate of Susan K. McDowell v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co., et al., No. 16-67, D. Mont., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12524).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana couple on Jan 31 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in Louisiana federal court, contending that the company's negligence and fraud led to the wife's exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and caused her to develop cancer (Bennierita Smith, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-844, E.D. La.).
DETROIT - A group of Flint, Mich., residents on Jan. 30 filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, seeking $722.4 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged mishandling of the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint (Jan Burgess, et al. v. United States of America, No. 17-10291, E.D. Mich.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 affirmed that two insurers in an environmental contamination coverage dispute did not waive their right to assert a late-notice defense because the insured's notice of the underlying environmental claims was not timely (Travelers Indemnity Co., et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., No. 15-3117, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1471).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Monsanto Co. and two of its affiliates on Jan. 27 filed a brief in Oregon federal court contending that a district court should dismiss the Port of Portland's lawsuit alleging groundwater contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on grounds that the allegations are barred by the state's product liability statute and there are "insufficient facts alleged to sustain a cognizable legal theory" (Port of Portland v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 17-15, D. Ore.).
PHILADELPHIA - A "free and clear" sale of assets in a bankruptcy court auction precludes holding the purchaser liable for pre-purchase take-home asbestos exposures, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Jan. 26 (Jacqueline S. Wagner and Thomas H. Wagner v. Standard Steel LLC, et al., No. 850 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.).