LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards $6.4 Million To Estate In Tobacco Suit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 28 awarded the estate of a man who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) $6.4 million after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s role in a conspiracy among tobacco companies to hide the dangers of smoking led to the man's disease and death (Linda Prentice v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-000386, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir. Duval Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Sears To Pay $400,000 In Fines In Deal With EPA On Lead Law Violations

CHICAGO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 28 announced that it had reached an agreement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. under which the company will pay $400,000 to settle claims that it violated federal laws pertaining to toxic substances and property renovation involving lead-based paint hazards (United States of America v. Sears Home Improvement Products Inc., No. 16-9302, N.D. Ill.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Rejects Challenge To Duty To Warn About Third-Party Asbestos Parts

PHILADELPHIA - The argument that a valve company did not have a duty to warn about the dangers of third-party asbestos parts ignores both a previous ruling in the case and legal precedent, a federal judge in Philadelphia held Sept. 28 in affirming a $1,085,000 million verdict (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - House Of Representatives Approves $170M For Flint, Mich., Lead Water Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 28 passed a resolution to improve water resources across the country, including $170 million for repairs to the water infrastructure in Flint, Mich., which continues to deal with lead-contaminated drinking water.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendant: Flint, Mich., Water Crisis Plaintiffs Not Entitled To Extension

DETROIT - An employee of Genesee County, Mich., who is being sued by residents who contend that he is among the parties responsible for the city's lead-contaminated water crisis, on Sept. 27 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the District Court should deny the plaintiffs' motion for an extension of time in which to file their brief opposing the employees' motion to dismiss the lawsuit (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 15-14002, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Premises Owners Liable For Workers', Contractors' Conduct In Asbestos Case

INDIANAPOLIS - Premises owners can be liable for the conduct of their employees and independent contractors where insufficient evidence suggests that an electrician's own work caused his exposure to asbestos, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Sept. 28 (Larry Myers and Loa Myers v. Bremen Casting Inc. and Mastic Home Exteriors Inc., No. 49A04-1503-MI-113, Ind. App.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Companies: C8 Groundwater Contamination Case Should Be Dismissed; Injury Not Shown

ALBANY, N.Y. - Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. on Sept. 26 moved in New York federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a class of residents who contend that the companies are liable for contaminating their drinking water with perfluorooctanoic acid, referred to as C8, contending that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and that the claims should be dismissed under the primary jurisdiction doctrine (Michelle Baker, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al., No. 16-917, N.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Jersey Officials: Case Fails To State Claim; Sovereign Immunity Applies

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other state officials on Sept. 23 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court arguing that a lawsuit brought against them by a group of residents seeking compensatory and punitive damages in relation to lead-contaminated drinking water should be dismissed because the officials are entitled to sovereign immunity (Veronica Branch, et al v. Chris Christie, et al., No. 16-2467, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Denies Motion To Reconsider Ruling Denying Request For Fees, Costs

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California did not apply too narrow of a standard when denying an environmental group's request for $1.2 million in attorney fees and costs in a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit, another federal judge held Sept. 23 in denying the group's motion to reconsider the decision, holding that the group did not provide proper documentation to support the requested amount (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Chico Scrap Metal Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-01207-GEB-AC, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130807).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Mississippi High Court Reinstates Asbestos Drilling Mud Case's $3,856,346 Verdict

JACKSON, Miss. - A judge erred by relying on a previously reversed ruling in deciding to once again wipe out a $3,856,346.17 verdict in an asbestos drilling mud case, the Mississippi Supreme Court held Sept. 22 (Elsie Smith, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 2014-CA-01371-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2016 Miss. LEXIS 399).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Sufficient Questions Of Fact To Keep Asbestos Fiber Company In Case

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Resolution of conflicting evidence regarding a company's supply of asbestos to a joint compound maker is best left to a jury, a federal judge concluded Sept. 21 in declining to grant summary judgment to the last remaining defendant in a case (Maria J. Lee, et al. v. Advance Auto Parts Inc., et al., No. 14-230, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128703).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - North Carolina, Company Settle Groundwater Contamination Case For $6 Million

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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Reinstates Sophisticated Intermediary Asbestos Case

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Overrules Argument That Government's Cost Recovery Claim In Untimely

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Again Declines To Stay Remand While It Considers Asbestos Challenge

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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Proposed Bill Would Amend Safe Drinking Water Act In Light Of Flint, Mich., Crisis

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."

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 'Criminal Falsehoods' Warrant Flint, Mich., Lead Case Against State, Residents Say

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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Government's Closure Of Mine Does Not Make It An Operator

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Registering In State Provides Jurisdiction Over Talc Companies

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Group: More Than 200 Million People Are Drinking Water Tainted With Chromium-6

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.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - ExxonMobil Pipeline To Pay $12M Over 2011 Spill Into Yellowstone River

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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Arizona Appeals Panel Rejects Duty For Take-Home Asbestos Exposures

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Glyphosate Case Alleging Fraud And Seeking Punitive Damages Added To MDL

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - DuPont: New Trial, Remittitur Warranted In C8 Case That Resulted In $5.6M Award

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Lead Water Crisis Plaintiffs Say Claims Properly Pleaded Against State Of Michigan

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.).