SAN FRANCISCO - The Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 15 filed a brief in California federal court seeking a protective order limiting review to the administrative record in a lawsuit brought by environmental advocacy groups that seeks to compel the agency to initiate a rule-making procedure to ban the introduction of "fluoridation chemicals" into drinking water on grounds that they cause brain damage (Food & Water Watch Inc., et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 17-2162, N.D. Calif.).
GREENVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi residents who sued a company alleging that it is liable for groundwater contamination filed a brief in Mississippi federal court on Jan. 16 seeking to compel the production of documents related to expert testimony (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A reinsurer breached its contract by refusing to pay its share of losses arising out of the settlement of asbestos claims, an insurer says in a Jan. 16 complaint filed in the Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-00087, D. Conn.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California appeals court on Jan. 12 denied a petition for rehearing, refusing to again visit its conclusion that a judge erred in excluding deposition testimony in the apparent belief that the witness needed to testify to directly witnessing asbestos exposures, according to the court's docket (Keith Turley and Joy Ann Turley v. Familian Corp., No. A149752, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Claims of asbestos exposure from pipe insulation aboard railway passenger cars do not clearly implicate federal statutes governing locomotives or safety appliances and avoid preemption, a federal judge in Kansas held Jan. 12 (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5794).
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for injuries, only to have it reversed, on Jan. 16 filed a letter with the presiding judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing that the special masters in the case "have chosen to utterly ignore" the issues the attorney raised concerning fees. Moreover, he contends that there are "ethical problems" with the billing process the special masters used (Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, et al., Case No. 11 Civ. 691, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. filed an answer in the multidistrict litigation for Roundup in California federal court on Jan. 16 denying that exposure to the herbicide "did or could have caused" non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) as alleged by a specific plaintiff (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation [Kevin McNew v. Monsanto Co.], MDL No. 2741, No. 17-6858, N.D. Calif.).
RICHMOND, Va. - Adopting an asbestos plaintiff's timeliness argument in opposing removal requires the court to impermissibly determine a boilermaker's subjective knowledge, a federal judge in Maryland held in denying remand on Jan. 10 (Janya Sawyer, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1530 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4991).
NEW YORK - New York's top court on Jan. 11 denied leave to appeal after a lower court found a manufacturer of brake-grinding machines had a duty to warn about the dangers the use of its machines with asbestos-containing brakes posed and affirmed a stipulated $9 million award (Walter Miller v. BMW of North America LLC, et al., No. 2017-1076, N.Y. App., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 48).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 16 declined to address former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's claim that a circuit court split exists over how to handle commingled funds in money-laundering cases and whether directing individuals to a law firm constitutes normal attorney conduct or is something more untoward (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 17-562, U.S. Sup.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - The clock for removing an asbestos case began with the receipt of the deposition transcript, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Jan. 11 in adopting a bright-line test (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-30523, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 741).
TOLEDO, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Jan. 9 denied a motion to strike a deposition in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the insurers and the insureds agreed to extend the discovery deadline for the deposition to a time outside of the discovery deadline set by the court (Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. et al., v. FFP Holdings LLC et al., No. 15-377, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3810).
ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Jan. 11 denied a motion for reconsideration, saying the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion clarifying the standard for jurisdiction before he issued his own opinion, while also saying the newly minted precedent would not change the outcome (Willie Everett, et al. v. Aurora Pump Co., et al., No. 17-230, E.D. Mo.).
NEW YORK - The city of New York on Jan. 9 filed a lawsuit in federal court against five oil companies, claiming that the companies are responsible for climate change and seeking to recover damages to the city's infrastructure (City of New York v BP PLC, et al., No. 18-CV-00182, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana did not err when refusing to review the denial of a man's claim for compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement Agreement, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 9, finding that a policy in the agreement excludes transactions that are not arm's length transactions as revenue (Claimant ID 100190818 v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al, No. 17-30099, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A company's sale of tens of thousands of units of asbestos-containing drywall in Oklahoma easily surpasses the bar for jurisdiction in the state, a man told the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 denied two tobacco companies' petition for a writ of certiorari and upheld a finding that using the original Engle findings in Engle progeny suits does not violate due process (R.J. Reynolds, et al. v. Theresa Graham, No. 17-415, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel on Jan. 8 reversed a trial court judge's ruling that a special causation standard applies to companies accused of being responsible parties for contamination under the Polanco Redevelopment Act, finding that a plaintiff must show only that the manufacturer's improper instructions on disposal were a factor in the contamination (City of Modesto v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. A134419, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Calif. App. LEXIS 13).
HARTFORD, Conn. - Five mason laborers seeking medical monitoring after alleged exposed to asbestos during renovations at a school on Dec. 18 appealed a ruling striking their negligence, premises liability and recklessness claims, after arguing that the claims survive under recent Connecticut precedent construing exposures as an injury. The plaintiffs on Jan. 4 asked the court to enter default against the defendants on the negligent infliction of emotional distress claims the court did not strike (Julian Poce, et al. v. O&G Industries Inc., et al., No. HHD CV 17-60742454-S, Conn. Dist., Hartford at Hartford).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - In an asbestos coverage dispute, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 3 denied a panel rehearing and rehearing en banc on a decision to not conduct an in camera review of an insurer's documents disclosed to third parties other than a reinsurer and a claims adjuster (In re OneBeacon Insurance Co. v. The William Powell Co., No. 17-3852, 6th Cir.).
DALLAS - The Texas attorney general overstates the case in favor of unsealing deposition testimony from a law firm's principal and ignores that there is no evidence the record constitutes a court document, appellees told the state's appeals court on Jan. 3 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - The state of Oregon on Jan. 4 filed suit in state court against Monsanto Co., Pharmacia Corp. and Solutia Inc., seeking more than $100 million in damages to clean up contamination in the state's groundwater and soil resulting from the companies' manufacturing of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (State of Oregon v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 18CV00540, Ore. Cir., Multnomah Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The affirmative act of selling asbestos-containing products is misfeasance and does not require a special relationship between the parties for imposition of a duty to protect household members from exposure, a woman told the Delaware Supreme Court on Dec. 28 (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - A court should dismiss five asbestos plaintiffs from a group of 258 consolidated appeals, where one plaintiff's identical state court action was dismissed with prejudice and the other four failed to file timely appeals, ship owners told the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 in defense of personal jurisdiction dismissals (James Matthews, et al. v. Chas, Kurz & Co. Inc., et al., Nos. 16-4146, 16-4269, 16-4354, 16-4757, 17-3238, 17-3480, 17-3735, 17-3915, 17-3918, 6th Cir.).