SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 13 certified two questions to the California Supreme Court regarding whether California's notice-prejudice rule is a fundamental public policy for the purpose of choice-of-law analysis and whether a consent provision can be interpreted as a notice provision (Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Co., No.. 14-56017, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 668).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 11 advertised in the Federal Register a proposed rule to prohibit the manufacture, import, processing and distribution of trichloroethylene (TCE), a volatile organic compound used in industrial and commercial processes, due to "unreasonable risks" to health.
TAMPA, Fla. - The daughter of a woman who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) filed suit against three tobacco companies in Florida state court on Jan. 10 pursuant to the Engle findings (Angelia Garrett v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., et al., No. 17-CA-000242, Fla. Cir. Hillsborough Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Chevron Corp. on Jan. 10 filed a brief in California federal court contending that a recent decision handed down by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals supports its contention that a proposed class representing Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion should not be granted class status because the plaintiffs do not meet the criteria for certification (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
SAN ANTONIO - A couple's lawsuit claiming that Volkswagen Group of America Inc. and a local car dealer misrepresented a vehicle's emissions and fuel efficiency should be remanded to state court, a federal judge in Texas ruled Jan. 10, finding that the plaintiffs do not allege that the manufacturer violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) (David L. Bullerwell, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., et al., No. SA-16-CV-1199-XR, W.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3648).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently rejected the foreseeability standard plaintiffs seek in an asbestos action, a Delaware judge federal held Jan. 9 in adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation that two motions for summary judgment be granted (Jimmy R. Mitchell and Connie Mitchell v. Atwood & Morill Co., et al., No. 15-958, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115210).
NEW YORK - A power company's specification that contractors use asbestos and its ability to prevent the related injuries allow it to be held liable under New York Labor Law Section 200, a divided New York appellate court held Jan. 10 (Phyllis Brown, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190415/12, 206, 205, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 98).
NEW YORK - Experts in an asbestos case may make qualitative evaluations regarding exposure and need not precisely identify the quantity of exposure, a New York justice held in a Jan. 9 opinion denying defendants' wide-ranging motion (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Geraldine Andrews, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190034/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 12).
TRENTON, N.J. - Additional discovery is needed into two Canadian companies' contacts with New Jersey so that a woman can fairly contest motions to dismiss her asbestos action on jurisdictional grounds, a federal judge in New Jersey said Jan. 9 (Estelle Grimes, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. 15-8466, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181534).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Jan. 10 issued a group of orders pertaining to punitive damages, damages related to cancer phobia and the admissibility of expert testimonies (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on Jan. 6 filed an answer in one of the cases that is part of the multidistrict litigation pending in California federal court related to injuries allegedly caused by Roundup, denying that exposure to the herbicide "did or could have caused" the plaintiff's "alleged" non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Jan. 6 transferred three more glyphosate-injury lawsuits to the Roundup products litigation MDL pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (In Re: Roundup Production Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, JPMDL).
DENVER - A Colorado man on Jan. 6 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in the U.S. District Court of the District of Colorado, alleging that he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) from exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, and that the company knowingly misrepresented that the product was safe (John Holm v. Monsanto Co., No. 17-56, D. Colo.).
ATLANTA - A Native American-owned tobacco company on Jan. 9 dismissed its suit in Georgia federal court against a cigarette distributor that sold expired cigarettes to retailers without the manufacturer's permission after the parties agreed to a confidential settlement (Grand River Enterprises Six Nations LTD., et al. v. National Distributors Inc., et al., No 1:16-cv-423, N.D. Ga.).
TAMPA, Fla. - Experts' testimony that the U.S. Navy issued reasonably precise specifications for private manufacturers to meet sufficiently demonstrates control over the products in question, and Crane Co. need not show that the government would not have permitted additional warnings, a federal judge in Florida said Jan. 9 in denying remand of an asbestos case (Ralph Donson v. Air and Liquid Systems Inc., No. 16-3022, M.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on Jan. 6 ruled that the federal government owes more than $99 million to companies that it contracted with for the production of aviation fuel (avgas) during World War II, finding that all of the acid waste disposed of at a site in Fullerton, Calif., was "by reason of" the agreements (Shell Oil Company, et al. v. United States of America, No. 06-141-C, Fed. Clms.).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The state of Kentucky never clearly adopted the every-exposure asbestos causation theory, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 10 in affirming summary judgment for a joint compound maker (Carol Lee Stallings, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., et al., No. 15-6387, 6th Cir.).
DETROIT - A 2-1 panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 reinstated an enforcement action brought by the federal government against DTE Energy Co., finding that a federal judge in Michigan erred by failing to consider the panel's earlier ruling instructing it to consider whether the company submitted sufficient information to the agency before modifying a unit at its coal-fired power plant in Monroe, Mich. (United States of America v. DTE Energy Company, et al., Nos. 14-2274, 14-2275, 6th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 416).
PHILADELPHIA - Surviving beneficiaries of a Merchant Marine's Jones Act survival action originally filed in 1989 should not be penalized simply because the court lacked the resources to quickly resolve asbestos cases, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Jan. 6 (Creighton E. Miller (administrator for estate of Joseph F. Braun v. Manville Corporation Asbestos Disease Compensation Fund, et al., No. MDL 875, 11-33896, E.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1975).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on Jan. 6 denied a motion for summary judgment in a cost recovery lawsuit for groundwater contamination allegedly caused by a landfill, ruling that the case was not barred by a statute of limitations (Charter Township of Lansing, et al. v. Lansing Board of Water and Light, No. 14-514, W.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2280).
HAMMOND, Ind. - Insureds seeking coverage for environmental contamination discovered on a property they purchased are not entitled to coverage because the policy bars coverage for known or unknown property damage and for property damage that began before the policy's inception, an Indiana federal judge said Jan. 5 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Atlantic Casualty Insurance Co. v. Juan and Maria Garcia, No. 15-66, N.D. Ind.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1861).
NEW ORLEANS - A company that received $20,000 from a claimant that received money from the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement to repay a loan does not need to return the money to the settlement fund, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 6, holding that the company was not unjustly enriched (In re: Deepwater Horizon, Woodbridge Baric Pre-Settlement Funding LLC v. Louis J. Freeh, No. 15-30599, 5th Cir.).
BALTIMORE - "Formulaic" allegations of asbestos exposure failing to distinguish between defendants or time periods fall short of pleading standards, but the plaintiff may amend in an effort to cure the deficiencies, a federal judge in Maryland held Jan. 3 (Esther Rhodes, et al. v. MCIC Inc., et al., No. 16-2459, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89).
GREEN BAY, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Jan. 3 granted the federal government's motion in limine to preclude a defendant company from arguing that allocations for natural resource damages in consent decrees between the government and parties that contributed to contamination at the Lower Fox River Superfund site were too high, holding that the company was over-reading the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act's section on double recovery (United States of America v. NCR Corporation, et al., No. 10-C-910, E.D. Wis.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 257).
RICHMOND, Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia did not err when finding that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued to a mining company did not shield it from liability for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 4 (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company, LLC, No. 16-1024, 4th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 108).