COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Dec. 12 filed a brief in the perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) injury multidistrict litigation, arguing that the presiding judge should deny the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee's (PSC) request for a trial structure in which one jury would hear evidence for multiple plaintiffs because consolidating multiple plaintiffs into a single trial "would have the profound and unfairly prejudicial effect to DuPont of validating the plaintiffs' claims of both liability and harm" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 13 vacated a district court's order granting summary judgment to the federal government and remanded a suit brought by a Native American tribe over tobacco taxes with directions to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the claims brought by the tribe are barred by the Anti-Injunction Act (Confederated Tribes And Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation v. Alcohol and Trade Tobacco Bureau, et al., No. 14-35165, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22103).
OTTAWA - Canada will ban the use of asbestos products by 2018, Canadian Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced Dec. 15.
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. and its affiliates on Dec. 12 filed a brief in California federal court, arguing that three lawsuits filed by three cities that allege damages caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in drinking water should be dismissed because there is an "irreconcilable gap" between the area where the alleged damage exists and the "damaged" city-owned storm water systems that are at the center of the lawsuit (City of San Jose v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15-03178; City of Oakland v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15-05152; and City of Berkeley v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 16-00071, N.D. Calif.).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Dec. 9 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that they have provided "proper and uncontested evidence of jury bias" such that they cannot obtain a fair trial without a change of venue (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).
DETROIT - The Michigan residents who sued the state of Michigan, some of its employees and a group of private companies in relation to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Dec. 13 filed a brief contending that their claim against one company in particular is valid because that company made a recommendation that the city double the ferric chloride in its water, which exacerbated the corrosion in the pipes delivering water to residents' homes (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
NEW YORK - ExxonMobil Oil Corp. on Dec. 9 filed a petition to compel arbitration in New York federal court, seeking an order that its excess insurer is required to arbitrate a coverage dispute arising out of underlying claims for groundwater contamination (ExxonMobil Oil Corp. v. TIG Insurance Co., No. 16-9527, S.D. N.Y.).
BOSTON - A woman who developed lung cancer after years of smoking filed suit in Massachusetts state court on Dec. 9, claiming that the cigarettes she smoked were unreasonably dangerous and should not have been sold (Marie Kovatsi v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 1684CV03779, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Dec. 9 said she will not render a verdict in a bench trial over untaxed cigarettes until the new year (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA - A company's failure to comply with a state court motion to compel does not warrant sanctions because the request is overly broad, but going forward, the company must produce documents relevant to product identification testimony in an asbestos case, a federal magistrate judge held Dec. 6 (William Ney, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., et al., No. 16-2408, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169371).
BUTTE, Mont. - A federal judge in Montana on Dec. 7 denied a motion filed by a newspaper publisher and an environmental group seeking to intervene in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit between the government and Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) to gain access to confidential settlement information, finding that the request was untimely (United States of America v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. CV-89-39-BU-SEH, D. Mont.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169364).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Dec. 7 found a trial court erred in denying Philip Morris USA Inc.'s motion to dismiss the law firm representing her because one of her attorneys previously represented Philip Morris in similar lawsuits, which prevents him from being the plaintiff's attorney under Florida law (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Ada Caro, No. 4D16-2416, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 18077).
BENTON, Ill. - Neither a company's registration to do business in a state nor its employment of individuals in the state rise to the levels required for jurisdiction, a federal judge in Illinois held in dismissing an asbestos action on Dec. 2 (Sylvia Perez, et al. v. Air And Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 16-842, S.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166645).
NEWARK, N.J. - Plaintiffs in a class action suit alleging that Mercedes-Benz USA LLC misrepresented the efficiency of its BlueTec Clean Diesel vehicles lack standing to bring their action against the auto maker, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Dec. 6, finding that the plaintiffs failed to show that the advertisements they allegedly relied on contained any false statements (In re: Mercedes-Benz Emissions Litigation, No. 16-881, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168535).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute claims in a Dec. 1 motion for partial summary judgment filed in California federal court that it is entitled to reimbursement of the deductible it paid on behalf of its insured because the policy at issue specifically states that the deductible includes claim expenses such as defense costs (American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co., et al. v. Technichem Inc., et al., No. 15-03611, N.D. Calif.).
BENTON, Ill. - Affidavits filed in other cases and courts are sufficient for removal of an asbestos case, a federal judge in Illinois held Nov. 30 (Sylvia Perez, et al. v. Air And Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 16-842, S.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165279).
NEW YORK - Attorneys for oil and gasoline companies, as well as those representing a California water district, on Dec. 5 presented oral arguments before the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals debating the applicability of a res judicata order in a groundwater contamination case involving methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation: Orange County Water District v. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. n/ka TMR Company, No. 15-3934, 2nd Cir.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 2 denied a motion filed by Michigan state officials and refused to stay a district court ruling that the defendants provide bottled water to every house in Flint, Mich., in response to the lead-contaminated water crisis (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).
NEW ORLEANS - A company's uncontested evidence that it had no contacts in Louisiana overcomes conclusory statements and suffices for a finding that a court lacks personal jurisdiction over it, a federal judge in Louisiana held Nov. 30 (Breck Williams, et al. v. Rust Engineering & Construction Co., et al., No. 16-13136, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165012).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Nov. 30 vacated and remanded a ruling that denied benefits to a veteran's widow for his cancer and subsequent death in connection with exposure to Agent Orange, finding that the Board of Veterans Appeals failed to determine if the veteran's cancer could substantiate a claim for benefits (Anita Gauldock v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-2893, Vet. Clms.; 2016 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1846).
SAN FRANCISCO - Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion on Nov. 30 filed a brief in California federal court, contending that their motion to substitute a fisheries expert in place of the expert they originally scheduled is based on good cause under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 16 (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 vacated a $20 million verdict awarded to the estate of a woman following a trial in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the damages awarded by the jury were excessive (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gwendolyn E. Odom, No. 4D14-3867, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17713).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 1 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana's ruling that three franchisors that are not based in the Gulf of Mexico cannot seek to obtain lost franchisee royalties during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, finding that they are not included in the terms of the economic and property damages settlement agreement (Claimant ID 100197593, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 16-30283, 5th Cir.).
RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on Nov. 28 partially granted and partially denied a motion for summary judgment by a hotel, finding that a cigar wholesaler breached a contract it had with a hotel in Las Vegas (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163570).
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge conducted only a perfunctory and conclusory investigation before finding that counsel violated court orders in an effort to elicit expert testimony regarding chemotherapy's impact on kidney disease, yet the jury already knew about the connection and no ruling excluded the testimony, a sanctioned attorney told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 23 (Barry Kelly and Molly Kelly v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 11-3240, 9th Cir.).