BATON ROUGE, La. - Plaintiffs alleging asbestos exposure in drilling mud must respond to written discovery seeking information regarding injuries, exposure and work history and seeking the release of related medical records and work histories, a federal judge in Louisiana said Nov. 14 (Manuel Garza v. Phillips 66 Co., et al., No. 13-742, M.D. La.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two companies supplied tons of asbestos-containing paper to a manufacturer without any type of warning, despite clear evidence of the fiber's dangers to workers and household members, a women tells Delaware's top court in urging it to reinstate her second-hand exposure case (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over litigation stemming from groundwater contamination caused by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on Nov. 13 recommended remanding the Orange County Water District's (OCWD) lawsuit to California federal court, finding that all consolidated pretrial proceedings in the suit have been completed (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products liability Litigation, MDL 1358, Orange County Water District v. Unocal, et al., No. 04 Civ. 4968, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187458).
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on Nov. 10 filed a brief in the multidistrict litigation for the herbicide Roundup in California federal court, arguing that the evidence offered by the plaintiffs' expert concerning the carcinogenic properties of Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate is "unreliable" and constitutes "junk science" (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Monsanto Co. and numerous agricultural trade groups on Nov. 15 filed a lawsuit in California federal court against two state agencies and their directors, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent them from "mandating false, misleading, and highly controversial cancer warnings concerning the herbicide glyphosate" (National Association of Wheat Growers, et al. v. Lauren Zeise, et al., No. 17-at-1224, E.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel on Nov. 14 reversed and remanded a $1.15 billion verdict against the former makers of lead paint in a public nuisance lawsuit brought by the state of California, concluding that "substantial evidences does not support causation as to residences built after 1950." Upon remand, the panel directed the trial court to recalculate the amount of the award to limit it to the amount necessary to cover the cost of remediating pre-1951 homes (The People v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company, et al., No. H040880, Calif. App., 6th Dist.).
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - To hold two companies liable for supplying valves to the U.S. Navy, a plaintiff must also submit evidence that the asbestos-containing gaskets and packing were original or that the companies supplied replacement parts, a federal magistrate judge in Arizona said in a Nov. 9 report and recommendation (Bobby Len Davis and Becky Davis v. Air & Liquid System Corp., et al., No. 14-2288, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186478).
DETROIT - Two employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Nov. 10 moved in Michigan federal court to strike portions of an amended complaint filed by residents of the city of Flint, Mich., contending that the plaintiffs "inaccurately allege that Defendants have been charged with involuntary manslaughter" in connection with the lead-contaminated water crisis in that city (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge considering two companies' motion for reconsideration in light of a ruling excluding plaintiffs' experts in an asbestos-tainted talc case denied the motions without prejudice to the filing of new ones in an order docketed Nov. 7 (Sally Brandt, et al. v. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., et al., No. 151202987, Pa. Comm Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on Nov. 7 filed petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a review of an $11.5 million verdict against the company in an Engle progeny suit and claiming that the 1965 Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, 15 U.S.C 1331-1341, preempts the findings of the Phase I Engle proceedings (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Florence Monroe, No. 17-675, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appellate panel on Nov. 6 vacated a trial court's decision and ruled that a lawsuit filed by an environmental advocacy organization against Dow Agrosciences LLC related to alleged exposure to chemicals that cause cancer should be moved to a different venue, as requested by the company (Dow Agrosciences LLC v. The Superior Court of Alameda County, No. A150854, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of the Fourth District of the Florida Court of Appeal on Nov. 8 found that a U.S. surgeon general's report that was admitted to the jury during an Engle progeny suit was hearsay and should not have been admitted as evidence and remanded the suit to the trial court for a new trial (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. John McCoy, No. 4D16-259, Fla. App. 4th Dist.).
CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator for The Home Insurance Co. on Nov. 3 asked a New Hampshire trial court to approve a $9.3 million settlement with an insured to resolve asbestos claims under eight insurance policies (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Co., No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Super., Merrimack Co.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The law clearly requires those bringing asbestos-related lung cancer claims to submit a medical expert's opinion regarding whether the plaintiff qualifies as a smoker of tobacco products, language intended to prioritize asbestos lung cancer claims and insulate untrained judges from having to translate medical records, a company told the Ohio Supreme Court on Nov. 7 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 7 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana's ruling requiring a commercial barge company to reimburse the government for $20 million in cleanup costs it incurred following a July 2008 oil spill that occurred in the Mississippi River, finding that the defendant company was not entitled to a defense under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) (United States of America v. American Commercial Lines, LLC, No. 16-31150, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22260).
CLEVELAND - A ceramics company packed its products in asbestos-tainted vermiculite long after it learned of the problem and never issued warnings or recalls, a man tells an Ohio court in a Nov. 2 trial brief (Paul M. Cornett, et al. v. Clark Industrial Insulating Co., et al., No. CV-15-845107, Ohio Comm. Pls., Cuyahoga Co.).
DALLAS - A court lacks jurisdiction over 20-year-old deposition testimony into the creation of a memo some believe shows lawyers coaching asbestos witnesses because the testimony is not a court document, plaintiffs and their law firm told a Texas appeals court on Nov. 3 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on Nov. 3 denied Louisiana Generating LLC's motion for a more definite statement, finding that two nonprofit energy cooperative corporations sufficiently stated claims that the defendant company may have violated power supply and service agreements by charging them for costs associated with the remediation of environmental conditions at the Big Cajun II generating plant (Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative, Inc., et al. v. Louisiana Generating, LLC, No. 17-405-JJB-RLB, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182387).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Nov. 2 granted in part a motion to dismiss filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ruling that three environmental groups cannot claim that the agency failed to follow a nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for dischargers of storm water runoff into three watersheds despite recognizing that the discharges negatively affect water quality (Los Angeles Waterkeeper v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-CV-3454-SVW, C.D. Calif.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeals on Nov. 3 reversed a decision from a trial court to grant summary judgment to tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit and ordered that an evidentiary hearing be held on whether the suit was filed before the statute of limitations expired (Desmond Mansfield v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No 5D16-1826, Fla. App. 5th Dist.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal magistrate judge in Connecticut on Nov. 2 ordered the city of Hartford and the Hartford Board of Education to turn over documents related to presentations that their expert performed regarding polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), finding that the information was not protected from disclosure by the work product doctrine (City of Hartford, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15cv1544, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181651).
MILWAUKEE - American Cyanamid Co., which is one of the companies being sued by plaintiffs who contend that they are liable for lead-paint poisoning, on Nov. 3 filed a brief in Wisconsin federal court responding to one of the plaintiffs' statement of facts and arguing that the claims "are barred in whole or in part due to a failure to mitigate his damages" (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
NEWARK, N.J. - The attorney-client privilege should not protect evidence in a case alleging defendants spent decades fraudulently concealing the existence of asbestos in talc, plaintiffs told a federal judge in New Jersey on Nov. 2 (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland appeals panel on Nov. 1 affirmed a trial court's ruling that awarded damages to a man who contended that he was poisoned by lead paint while living in an apartment, concluding that the evidence indicated a causal relationship between lead exposure and the injuries the plaintiff demonstrated (Stanley Sugarman, et al. v. Chauncey Liles, Jr., No. 1460, Md. Spec. App., Sept. Term 2016; 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 1091).
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Nov. 1 denied ExxonMobil Corp.'s and ExxonMobil Oil Corp.'s motion for partial summary judgment regarding damages associated with remediation costs pertaining to groundwater contamination caused by methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), concluding that the defendants' proposed alternative burden for determining proper remediation was "not supported by good cause" (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Amerada Hess Corporation, No. 15-6468, D. N.J.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180986).