CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on July 10 denied an insured's motion for reconsideration in an environmental contamination coverage suit, rejecting the insured's argument that the court erred in determining that the underlying environmental contamination suit did not allege any release of hazardous materials into the environment (Illinois Toolworks Inc. v. ACE Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-20792, Ill. Cir., Cook Co., Chancery Div.).
LOS ANGELES - A couple's previous asbestos action bars a widow's wrongful death action seeking loss of consortium, a California appeals court held July 11 while also concluding that the judge below properly offset an economic award for funeral and burial expenses with proceeds from settlements with asbestos bankruptcy trusts (Janet Stewart v. Union Carbide Corp., No. B267405, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Three companies that own, lease and manage properties on Crown Street in New Haven, Conn., cannot pursue claims that the New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control Authority (RWPCA) and the city of New Haven violated the Clean Water Act (CWA), a federal judge in Connecticut ruled July 11, holding that the plaintiff companies lacked standing (26 Crown Street Associates LLC, et al. v. Greater New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control Authority, et al., No. 15-cv-1439, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106989).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court agreed to decide the proper standard for admitting expert causation testimony in the state when on July 11 it accepted a case that originally resulted in an $8 million asbestos award against tobacco and gaskets companies (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A 2-1 panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 struck portions of a 2015 rule implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to cut down on "sham recycling," a tactic some companies claim to use to say that materials actually get discarded, finding that some parts of the rule were "draconian" (American Petroleum Institute, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 09-1038, consolidated with 15-1083, 15-1085, 15-1088, 15-1089, 15-1094, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12142).
SPOKANE, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on July 10 dismissed amended counterclaims asserted by Monsanto Co., Pharmacia Corp. and Solutia Inc. (collectively, Monsanto) seeking cost recovery from the city of Spokane for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Spokane River, finding that the new allegations did not remedy the deficiencies in the original counterclaims (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-CV-00201-SMJ, E.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106136).
HOUSTON - An insurer has a duty to defend its insureds in an underlying environmental contamination suit because the policy's exclusions for pollution and use of an auto do not apply to bar coverage, a Texas federal judge said July 7 in granting the insureds' motion for summary judgment (USA Environment, L.P. et al., v. American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co. n/k/a AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-2216, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104962).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin promised that an upcoming asbestos trial will not resemble the "shoot out at the O.K. Corral," while lamenting both sides' apparent lack of familiarity with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and blatantly unnecessary briefing in a July 7 ruling touching on expert testimony, the "every exposure" theory, John Crane Inc.'s wealth and other items (Patricia L. Carroll, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 15-373, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55705).
BECKLEY, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on July 7 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an environmental remediation coverage suit after determining that the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith were not filed within the applicable statute of limitations (R.T. Rogers Oil Company Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 16-1390, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105150).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 6 awarded a mesothelioma victim's widow $6,785,000 and found lone remaining defendant John Crane Inc. 75 percent liable for the maintenance worker's injuries (Joyce Moore, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 13-011729 , Fla. Cir., Broward Co.).
ST. LOUIS - Though unopposed, a summary judgment motion filed in a previous asbestosis case gave the plaintiffs a fair chance to contest their case's merits and litigated the same exposure issues now at the heart of a new case alleging mesothelioma, a federal judge in Missouri held July 5 (Diane MacCormack, Nancy Broudy, and Karen Loftus, as personal representatives of Berj Hovsepian v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. 16-414, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103399).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on July 6 declined to stay the remand of an asbestos case over a shipyard defendant's complaint about the "patently erroneous" remand order (Stephen R. Legendre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-02162, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103928).
ALBANY, N.Y. - Three scientific equipment suppliers simply attempt to poke holes in a woman's evidence and do not eliminate the possibility that they supplied asbestos-containing products to her employer, a New York appeals court held in reversing summary judgment June 6 (Eileen A. O'Connor, et al. v. Aerco International Inc. and Fisher Scientific Co. LLC, et al., No. 523122, N.Y. Sup. App. Div., 3rd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5355).
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands judge on June 29 refused to consolidate 99 asbestos cases filed in 2015 for pretrial purposes, saying that while the status quo cannot continue, the parties must confer as to more efficient methods of addressing the growing case load (Albert A. Edwards v. Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp., and Hess Corp., No. 15-CV-382, St. Croix Super., 2017 V.I. LEXIS 95).
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands - Upcoming holidays and the burden of answering 101 asbestos cases in no more than 30 days warrants granting an extension of time where the request was made before expiration of the deadline, a judge in the Virgin Islands held in a July 5 corrected opinion (Albert A. Edwards v. Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp., and Hess Corp., No. 15-CV-382, St. Croix Super., 2017 V.I. LEXIS 95).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on June 30 modified an opinion discussing a company's conduct surrounding privileged document discussing the risk-benefit analysis of asbestos products, but otherwise denied rehearing after refusing to seal the record to protect the document (Elaine Margie Paulus, et al. v. J-MM Manufacturing Company Inc., No. B269904, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on June 29 denied a defendant company's motion for summary judgment and awarded summary judgment sua sponte to a plaintiff group seeking cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), after finding that the act's petroleum exclusion does not apply to oil that becomes mixed with other substances in wastewater (USOR Site PRP Group v. LEI Rone Engineers Ltd., et al., No. 14-cv-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101418).
PHILADELPHIA - A man presents sufficient allegations that a purchaser's retention of the executives, employees and business operations of the company it purchased puts it outside Pennsylvania's general prohibition on successor liability, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held June 28 in remanding the case (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Maynard Herman, et al. v. Ametek Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 17-1602, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100635).
MADISON, Wis. - Owens-Illinois Inc. asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on June 28 for permission to address defenses asbestos plaintiffs' raised in their response to an order to show cause as to why sanctions should not be imposed for filing a frivolous appeal and intentionally obfuscating the true word count of their brief (Janet Pecher, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-1799, Dianne Jacobs, et al. v. Rapid American and Weyerhaeuser Co. and Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2376, Katrina Masephol v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2377, Robert Sydow, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2378, Kathy Boyer v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2379, Janice Seehafer v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2380., 7th Cir.).
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on June 28 reversed a trial court's decision to hold a new trial against a tobacco company on a product liability claim because the jury instructions did not mislead the jury; the panel reinstated the full verdict (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Paul R. Larkin, et al., No. 3D16-910, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 9422).
LOS ANGELES - Plaintiffs on June 28 downplayed the relevance of alleged errors in an California appellate opinion detailing a company's delay in seeking to protect a privileged document discussing the risk-benefit analysis of asbestos products, saying the company's June 22 petition for rehearing attempts to camouflage its own conduct by conflating the right to seal documents with privilege (Elaine Margie Paulus, et al. v. J-MM Manufacturing Company Inc., No. B269904, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed a lower court's approval of a $10,017,000 class action settlement involving property contamination by hexavalent chromium from two industrial sites in New Jersey, but it remanded the case for a reconsideration of litigation costs pursuant to federal rules of procedure (Mattie Halley, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 16-2712, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App LEXIS 11594).
NEW YORK - Citing a recently instituted asbestos case management order, a New York justice in an opinion posted June 26 ordered two consolidated trial groups, one consisting of two plaintiffs and one of three plaintiffs, as well as ordering separate trials for four others. The plaintiffs had asked the court for three trial groups (Robert Duane Altman and Nancy Brown Altman, et al., No. 190012/16, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEWARK, N.J. - An insured seeking coverage for environmental contamination costs settled its claims with one of its insurers on June 27, according to a stipulation of dismissal filed in New Jersey federal court (E.M. Sergeant Pulp & Chemical Co. Inc., et al. v. The Travelers Indemnity Co. Inc., et al., No. 12-1741, D. N.J.).
ST. LOUIS - Under newly minted Missouri precedent, merely registering an agent in the state is insufficient grounds to create jurisdiction, a federal judge in the state held June 27 in declining to find that jurisdiction in an asbestos case existed out of necessity (Willie Everett, et al. v. Aurora Pump Co., et al., No. 17-230, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98731).