NEW YORK - A New York state appeals court on May 15 affirmed a trial court's denial of summary judgment in a lead exposure lawsuit, saying the record demonstrates that lead abatement did not begin until after the plaintiff was diagnosed with high blood-lead levels (Christopher Brown v. Wendy Webb-Weber, et al., Nos. 159252/14 and 595628/16, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3446).
LOS ANGELES - Factually devoid discovery responses and questionable chain of custody over allegedly asbestos-tainted talc samples sinks a man's case, a California appeals court affirmed May 16 (John Wittman v. Coty Inc., No. B286135, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW ORLEANS - Technical deficiencies in a complaint are not evidence of improper joinder, and a woman will need discovery to flesh out her claims against a retailer she claims sold asbestos-tainted talc, a federal judge in Louisiana held in finding joinder proper and remanding the case on May 17 (Marilyn Rousseau v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 18-2922, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83230).
OLYMPIA, Wash. - A 7-2 Washington Supreme Court on May 17 found that emails between a county and the Washington Department of Ecology were protected from disclosure under the Public Records Act (PRA) because they were work product and because the sharing of the information between the parties did not constitute a waiver of that privilege (Kittitas County v. Sky Allphin, et al., No. 93562-9, Wash. Sup., 2018 Wash. Sup., 2018 Wash. LEXIS 336).
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Former lead paint manufacturer NL Industries Inc. has agreed to pay $60.18 million to 11 California counties and municipalities for lead paint remediation, according to a May 16 press release from Santa Clara County (County of Santa Clara, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 1-00-CV-788657, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).
ATLANTA - A Florida federal court did not abuse its discretion in excluding an expert's opinion that pollution from a fertilizer factory caused or worsened a woman's pulmonary diseases, and then awarding the factory judgment for lack of expert causation evidence, because the court correctly found that the expert's "methodology was undermined by multiple defects," the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 14 (Rhonda Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC, No. 17-10894, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12478).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In a May 14 jurisdictional brief, an appellant tells the Florida Supreme Court that he was erroneously denied an opportunity to file an amended complaint against two tobacco companies after the trial court deemed the case a legal nullity, upon learning that the original named plaintiff died before her complaint could be filed (Raymond Staines v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc., No. SC18-628, Fla. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Similar types of products at the heart of two men's asbestos exposures are not enough to overcome different vectors of exposure and diseases, a New York justice held in denying consolidated trial in an opinion posted May 15 (Joseph Montebianco, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 190185/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WAUSAU, Wis. - A Wisconsin statute governing fraudulent transfer of assets does not alter the fraudulent transfer exception analysis to the general rule against successor liability, a majority of the state's Supreme Court held May 15 (Penny L. Springer v. Nohl Electric Products Corp., et al., No. 2015AP829, Wis. Sup.).
BALTIMORE - An illogical $5 million asbestos verdict finding defendants liable for negligently failing to warn but not the lower standard of strict liability failure to warn likely arose from jury instruction error and warrants a new trial, a Maryland appeals court held May 11 (Mack Trucks Inc., et al. v. Christopher Coates Sr., No. 2706 September Term 2016, Md. Sp. App.).
BOSTON - A federal judge on May 14 filed a certified question to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, asking whether the state's six-year statute of repose applies to an asbestos case, creating absolute immunity for a turbine generator manufacturer (June Stearns, et al. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-13490, D. Mass.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a 70-page summary judgment issued May 15, a District of Columbia federal judge confirmed as constitutional the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's May 2016 "Deeming" and "User Fee" Rules, finding only one provision relating to in-store blending of pipe tobacco in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (Cigar Association of America Inc., et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 16-1460, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81101).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Natural Resource Defense Council and six other groups on May 15 filed a petition in the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that would eliminate greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars, sport utility vehicle and pickup trucks made from 2022 through 2025 (Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. n/a, D.C. Cir.).
DENVER - A group of Colorado residents on May 14 filed a lawsuit in Colorado federal court against the 3M Co. and affiliated companies, alleging that they are liable for personal injury and property damage as a result of contaminating the drinking water in the cities of Security, Widefield and Colorado Springs with aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) (Cody Ingemansen, et al. v. The 3m Company f/k/a Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., et al., No. 18-1167, D. Colo.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A release agreement between a general contractor and Lumber Liquidators Inc. resolving warranty claims stemming from bamboo flooring that buckled due to the lack of expansion spaces requires the contractor to indemnify the company for allegations brought by the developer of a condominium complex, a Rhode Island trial court judge ruled May 10, finding that terms of the release are unambiguous and enforceable (Providence Capital LLC v. Lumber Liquidators Inc., et al., No. PC-2015-0995, R.I. Super., Providence Co., 2018 R.I. Super. LEXIS 48).
DENVER - A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will consider a law firm's motion for damages, costs and sanctions for what the firm calls a frivolous appeal in an underlying lawsuit for injuries against Dow Chemical Co. related to injuries from exposure to nuclear waste, according to an order issued by the 10th Circuit clerk on May 10 (Louise M. Roselle, et al. v. Berger & Montague P.C., No. 17-1328, 10th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A mechanic's testimony that he worked with an electrician at a cookie factory creates questions regarding whether they worked together and negates the need for an asbestos defendant to have cross-examined the electrician about the co-worker in his own asbestos case, a New York justice held in denying summary judgment in an opinion posted May 11 (David Cerutti, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., No. 190009/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2018 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1679).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on May 10 transferred to the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products liability litigation a case in which an Iowa man contends that he developed T-cell lymphoma as a result of exposure to glyphosate and other chemicals in the herbicide Roundup (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
PHOENIX - Arizona does not impose a duty on employers to protect household members from asbestos absent evidence of a special relationship or public policy to the contrary, the state's high court held May 11 in a divided opinion (Mary Quiroz, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., et al., No. 16-0248, Ariz. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court on May 14 agreed to review a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that maritime law permits holding a manufacturer liable for third-party asbestos-containing replacement parts (Air and Liquid Systems Corp, et al. v. Roberta G. DeVries, et al., No. 17-1104, U.S. Sup.).
GULFPORT, Miss. - A coastal services professor designated as an expert for an environmental group claiming that a contractor's road construction project is violating the Clean Water Act by disposing of excessive amounts of sediment in the Biloxi Back Bay can offer limited testimony regarding how the sediment flows from the project to the waterway, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled May 9, finding that the some of his opinions were based on inadequate data (Gulf Restoration Network v. Oscar Renda Contracting Inc., No. 17CV130-LG-RHW, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77907).
GREENVILLE, Miss. - Residents who allege that a group of companies are liable for groundwater contamination on May 10 filed a brief in Mississippi federal court contending that it should exclude all reports and opinions of the EPA Region 4 that are included in the companies' disclosure of expert witnesses (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).
BOSTON - While some factors weigh in favor of applying Massachusetts law to an asbestos wrongful death action, the fact that the injury occurred in Maine, a state where the defendant enjoyed a longstanding relationship, warrants applying the latter state's laws, a federal judge in Massachusetts held May 9 (Ruth Burleigh, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 16-11030, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77891).
SEATTLE - A Washington county on May 8 sued five oil companies in state court, contending that they "borrowed the Big Tobacco playbook" when failing to disclose that the burning of fossil fuels is linked to global warming and climate change that has adversely affected public and private property (King County v BP Plc., et al., No. n/a, Wash. Super., King Co.).