INDIANAPOLIS - A preliminary injunction prohibiting an insurer from changing an insured's defense counsel and environmental consultant is not warranted because the insured failed to prove that it will be irreparably harmed if the insurer is permitted to choose the insured's defense counsel and environmental consultant, an Indiana federal judge said Dec. 27 (CMW International LLC, et al. v. Amerisure Insurance Co., No. 16-1384, S.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178603).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appellate panel on Dec. 29 affirmed a chancery court judge's decision to dismiss a company's declaratory judgment suit against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), finding that the plaintiff company is required to comply with the requirements of the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) (Drytech Inc. v. State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, No. A-5619-14T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2750).
RUTLAND, Vt. - A federal judge in Vermont on Dec. 28 denied a motion to dismiss a groundwater contamination lawsuit against a plastics manufacturer, ruling that a dispute over the state's groundwater contamination standards was not "essential" to the case (James D. Sullivan, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, No. 16-125, D. Vt.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180405).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on Dec. 22 denied a couple's motion for sanctions against a company for allegedly making false statements and denying the existence of evidence as part of a groundwater contamination lawsuit, concluding that "the motion is not well-taken" (Amos Hostetler, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., No. 15-226, N.D. Ind.).
MADISON, Wis. - A judge erred both in rejecting a motion to amend or add findings to a ruling and in the original order granting judgment to an asbestos-insulation manufacturer after a bench trial, a woman claims in Dec. 19 filing with the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Gary Souja, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-4177, 7th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Chevron Corp., which is being sued by Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion, on Dec. 20 filed a brief in California federal court, arguing that the plaintiffs' motion to add photographs into evidence and file them under seal should be denied because they have not shown good cause to supplement the record (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
DETROIT - Michigan residents who have sued Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials for the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., filed a brief on Dec. 21, arguing that the former director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) "cannot seek refuge behind a shield of immunity" (Luke Waid, et al. v. Gov. Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A jury in Ohio on Dec. 21 awarded $2 million to a man who had sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. seeking damages for cancer he said he had developed as a result of 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).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Dec. 21 transferred another glyphosate injury lawsuit to the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, adding another case in which the plaintiff alleges that his exposure to the Roundup herbicide caused him to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Dec. 20 refused to reconsider his previous ruling that dismissed the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) from a lawsuit brought by environmental groups who had contended that the authority and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) were liable for discharging chemicals into the groundwater (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Volkswagen AG on Dec. 20 entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection agency and state of California in which it will pay $225 million on environmental projects designed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and recall 83,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles manufactured from 2009 through 2016 that were equipped with defeat devices to cheat emissions tests to resolve allegations in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and California state law, according to a consent decree filed in California federal court (In re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2672, Case No. 15-md-2672, N.D. Calif.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A group of oil refining and gasoline companies on Dec. 15 filed a joint brief in Rhode Island federal court contending that the state's lawsuit alleging that the companies are liable for contaminating the state's groundwater with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) should be dismissed because the state "insufficiently alleges" standing and "fails to allege the causation required" for its claims (State of Rhode Island v. Alon Refining Krotz Springs, No. 16-495, D. R.I.).
NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator provided a sufficient explanation for its denial of a rulemaking petition filed by environmental groups seeking standards for the amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen that can be discharged into the Mississippi River and waterways leading into the river, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled Dec. 15 (Gulf Restoration Network v. Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-677, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173459).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform on Dec. 16 concluded its investigation into the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., and recommended that the House Committee on Appropriations reconsider allocating more than $279.8 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for work on climate change so that money could be used to upgrade the nation's drinking water systems to protect people from lead.
LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Dec. 20 charged four people with felonies in connection with the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., saying all four were liable for conspiracy to commit false pretenses and two were guilty of committing misconduct and willful neglect of duty in office.
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Dec. 14 granted a motion to dismiss filed by insurers involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute because the insurer, which seeks subrogation from the other insurers, failed to allege in a second amended complaint that all of the insurers covered the same insured (Northern Insurance Company of New York v. Travelers Insurance Co. et al., No. 15-1810, S.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172671).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Because the state's workers' compensation system contemplates coverage for mesothelioma, the law's exclusivity provision bars a tort action against an employer, even where the disease arose outside the period for filing a claim, the Arkansas Supreme Court held Dec. 15 in a 4-3 opinion (Brenda Hendrix, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. CV-15-558, Ark. Sup.).
DETROIT - A divided panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 affirmed a lower court's ruling that the State of Michigan must provide bottled water to all homes in Flint without a properly functioning water filter, denying the appeal of the defendants, who contended that the relief ordered by the court was "overly broad" (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick Khouri, et al., No. 16-2628, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22386).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 14 ruled that a subcontractor could file a fourth-party complaint against an environmental contractor for breach of contract in relation to an underlying lawsuit in which a worker seeks damages for exposure to toxic chemicals while working on an excavation project (Johnnie Parker v. John Moriarty & Associates v. Strittmatter Metro LLC v. Environmental Consultants and Contractors Inc., No. 15-1506, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172688).
JACKSON, Miss. - A railroad cannot offset a $50,000 Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) asbestos verdict with monies collected from asbestos bankruptcy trusts, a divided Mississippi Court of Appeals held Dec. 13 (Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Bennie Oakes, deceased, by and through Clara Hagan, his representative, No. 2015-CA-00644-COA, Miss. App.).
HARRISONBURG, Va. - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Dec. 15 entered into a proposed agreement in Virginia federal court with the federal government, commonwealth of Virginia and its secretary of Natural Resources, in which the company agreed to spend $52 million to restore natural resources along 100 miles of river that were affected by mercury spills dating back to the 1930s and 1940s (United States of America, et al. v. E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company, No. 16-cv-0082, W.D. Va.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A federal judge in Rhode Island on Dec. 13 dismissed with prejudice a Massachusetts-based environmental advocacy group's lawsuit accusing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, its administrator and regional administrator of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by not requiring companies that discharge storm water into waterways of Rhode Island to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction (Conservation Law Foundation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 15-165-ML, D. R.I.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172117).
ST. LOUIS - A man who has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) filed a lawsuit in Missouri federal court on Dec. 15, alleging that Monsanto Co. is liable for his injuries as the manufacturer of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, which he claims is "defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce, and lacked proper warnings and directions as to the dangers associated with its use" (Michael Dowling v. Monsanto Company, No. 16-1935, E.D. Mo.).
CINCINNATI - The First District Ohio Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed a trial court's ruling that an insured's liability for underlying asbestos claims arose from multiple occurrences because each individual's exposure to asbestos constitutes an occurrence (The William Powell Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., et al., No. C-160291, Ohio App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 4982).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The complexity of asbestos cases requires that the workers' compensation commissioner have the power to grant provisional dismissals to "clear the room" and then reinstate claims as necessary, Connecticut's top court held in an opinion set for release on Dec. 20 (John Graham, et al. v. Olson Wood Associates Inc., et al., No. SC 19626, Conn. Sup.; 2016 Conn. LEXIS 371).