UTICA, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on March 3 denied eight motions to exclude various experts regarding liability and cleanup practices in environmental lawsuits between a town, county, water authority and General Electric Co. (GE) (Town of Halfmoon and County of Saratoga v. General Electric Co., No. 09-228; Saratoga County Water Authority v. General Electric Co., No. 11-6, N.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26888).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court panel on March 3 found nothing "speculative or illogical" about "every exposure" testimony on which a $2 million asbestos verdict was built (Nickole Davis, as personal representative etc. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. B256793, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 169).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on March 4 dismissed as untimely a petition filed by three environmental groups over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 1980 rule that regulates emissions in nonattainment areas under the Clean Air Act (CAA), after finding that the petition was untimely (Sierra Club de Puerto Rico, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-1138, U.S. App., D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4092).
INDIANAPOLIS - A 3-2 majority of the Indiana Supreme Court on March 2 struck down the state's 10-year statute of repose in asbestos products liability cases, finding that the statute unconstitutionally created disparate treatment of those injured by asbestos (Larry Myers and Loa Myers v. Crouse-Hinds, Division of Cooper Industries Inc.; and Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Hollingsworth & Vose, No. 49S00-1502-MI-119, General Electric Co. v. Mary R. Geyman, et al., No. 49S00-1501-MI-35, Owens-Illinois Inc. v. Mary R. Geyman, et al., No. 49SS00-1501-MI-36, Ind. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Evidence that former New York State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver received millions of dollars in fees from mesothelioma leads in exchange for funding research and helping the researcher's family supports a jury's verdict finding him guilty, the United States told a federal judge in New York on March 3 (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 15-93, S.D. N.Y.).
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah legislators on March 2 held hearings on legislation requiring plaintiffs to submit sworn statements that they investigated and filed all available asbestos bankruptcy trust claims.
DAYTON, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on March 1 dismissed without prejudice claims from a property owner seeking cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for remediation of a former paper mill, ruling that the plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege that hazardous substances were disposed of on the property (Garrett Day LLC v. International Paper Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-36, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25494).
LANSING, Mich. - The Democratic Leader of the Michigan House of Representatives on March 2 called on Gov. Rick Snyder to resign in light of developments related to the water crisis in Flint, and a new email released by the Michigan Democratic Party indicates that the governor had knowledge of the Flint water crisis as early as February 2015.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on March 1 awarded the widow of a man who developed lung cancer after years of smoking $350,000 after finding that lung cancer was not the cause of his death (Bernice McCall v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. No. 2007-CV-036888, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - Courts at every stop found jurisdiction over plaintiffs' asbestos actions lacking, and the law-of-the-case doctrine supports applying that conclusion now, ship owners embroiled in three long-running cases told the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 1 (Lionel C. Wilson, Joseph F. Braun, and Thomas Guiden v. Matson Navigation Co. Inc., American President Lines Ltd., Nos. 15-1387, 15-1388, 15-1389, 3rd Cir.).
NEW CASTLE, Del. - In a lawsuit against power plant operators for their alleged unlawful dumping of toxic coal ash waste, an expert may not testify as to concentrations and dispersion of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a Delaware judge ruled Feb. 26, granting in part a motion to exclude (Anajai Calcano Pallano, et al., v. The AES Corp., et al., No. N09C-11-021 JRJ, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2016 Del. Super. LEXIS 101).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An insurer is liable for an insured's defense and indemnification costs incurred as a result of underlying asbestos personal injury lawsuits filed against the insured, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Feb. 29 (York International Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 10-0692, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24294).
NEW ORLEANS - The difficulties inherent in identifying exposures in an asbestos case warranted allowing the addition of defendants two months after the deadline for amended pleadings, a federal judge in Louisiana held Feb. 26 (Patsy S. Boyd, et al. v. Boeing Co., et al., No. 15-25, E.D. La.).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 25 refused to reconsider a Nov. 19, 2015, ruling allowing PPG Industries Inc. to file a third-party complaint against the former owner and operator of a landfill, ruling that there is no evidence that potential claims against the party are unmeritorious (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23174).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appellate panel on Feb. 29 declined an asbestos-friction defendant's request for rehearing after reversing summary judgment in favor of it and two other companies, according to the court's docket (Geraldine Bierner Lepore, et al. v. Kelsey-Hayes Co., et al., No. A137451, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
LONDON - The investigational drug Tremelimumab does not improve overall survival rates of mesothelioma patients when used alone, AstraZeneca announced Feb. 29.
NEW ORLEANS - A federal jury in Louisiana on Feb. 25 cleared a BP Exploration & Production Inc. supervisor who was on board the Deepwater Horizon oil rig of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) (United States of America v. Robert Kaluza, No. 12-cr-00265, E.D. La.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Counsel's and a private investigator's declarations attesting to a sincere campaign to build a case overcome allegations of bad faith in pursuing the defendant, a federal judge held in remanding a case Feb. 24 (Richard Cesarin v. Asbestos Corporation Limited, et al., No. 15-6056, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22718).
HOUSTON - Plaintiffs' motion to enjoin a judge from enforcing legislatively enacted medical requirements appears to ask a judge to enjoin himself and thus seeks the wrong type of relief, a Texas appeals court panel held in affirming denial of the motion Feb. 25 (In re: Texas State Silica Products Liability Litigation, No. 01-15-00251-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 1965).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge denied on Feb. 24 motions to bar testimony from experts for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a Missouri gas company in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) by the gas company's alleged modifications without the proper permits (United States of America v. Ameren Missouri, No. 11-77, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22323).
JOPLIN, Mo. - A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 24 ruled that a plaintiff in a chemical injury case could not admit into evidence another similar lawsuit in an attempt to show causation; however, it could be used to show "the reprehensibility of the defendants' conduct" regarding punitive damages (Jodelle L. Kirk v. Schaeffler Group USA Inc., et al., No. 13-5032, W.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22149).
LANSING, Mich. - A spokesman for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Feb. 26 said "the governor is committed" to talking with the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at a hearing scheduled to take place in March as part of an ongoing investigation into the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich.
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on Feb. 23 ordered the city of Visalia, Calif., to conduct a final search for documents that are responsive to a plaintiffs' claims that the city's sewer system contributed to perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination in a nearby plume in order to stop the city's piecemeal production of information (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 1:11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22066).
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge improperly applied case law from a products liability case in a premises liability case and then compounded the error by denying a motion to amend the complaint, plaintiffs told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Feb. 18 (Titus May, etc., et al. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., etc., et al., No. 15-56219, 9th Cir.).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), which is a defendant in a lead contamination lawsuit brought by two environmental groups, on Feb. 22 filed a brief in a New Jersey federal court arguing that the claim should be dismissed because it is barred by federal law (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).