NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurer told a federal court in Connecticut on July 10 that its reinsured failed to take good faith and businesslike steps in settling certain environmental loss and damage claims against its underlying insured (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00275, D. Conn.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The City of San Jose, Calif., on July 8 sued Monsanto Co., alleging that the manufacturer of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) caused contamination in the San Francisco Bay and that stricter limits on the amount of PCBs that can be in the city's total maximum daily load (TMDL) of storm water into the bay will result in increased costs (City of San Jose v. Monsanto Company, No. 15-cv-03178-NC, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - A couple may conduct further discovery into an automaker's relationship between various prior companies before dismissal of the defendant, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 10 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Jay and Sharon Gayoso v. American Honda Motor Company Inc., et al., No. 190209/14, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A federal judge in Alaska on July 10 granted the federal government's motion in limine to preclude a man from presenting evidence that he was unaware of the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the parameters of a mining facility's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, ruling that the information is not relevant to his defense of allegations that he violated the statute (United States of America v. James Slade, No. 14-cr-00103-05-SLG-DMS, D. Alaska; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89717).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 10 that a federal judge in California properly found that ASARCO LLC's claim for contribution under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Section 113(f) was untimely because the statute of limitations began to run in 1989, when the company first entered into a cost-recovery settlement with another company (ASARCO LLC v CNA Holdings LLC, No. 12-16832, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11919).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on July 9 ordered the owner of a former dry cleaning company to pay $83,885 in past response costs for cleanup of perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination and declared that the owner is responsible for all future response costs, after granting the property owner's motion for default judgment in a lawsuit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (S&K Commack Development LLC v. Hasn Dry Cleaners Inc., d/b/a Kwik Cleaners, et al., No. 13-CV-5297, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89327).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California court rejected the sophisticated intermediary defense the judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation assumed it would adopt in granting summary judgment to a shipbuilder, a man argues in a brief filed July 8 in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Charles Aikins v. Huntington Ingalls Inc. (f/k/a Northrip Grumman Shipbuilding Inc.), No. 14-17446, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York justice acted within her powers in amending an asbestos case management order (CMO) to allow for punitive damages, but the ruling violates due process protections by charging the jury at the conclusion of the evidentiary phase, improperly leaving defendants guessing about whether such damages will be sought, a state appeals court held July 9 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All NYCAL Cases against A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., Crane Co., et al., Nos. 15678, 15677, 15676, 15675 N.Y. Sup. App. Div., 1st Dept.).
ATLANTA - A commercial general labiality insurance policy's "damage to property" exclusions do not preclude coverage for claims of an insured's alleged negligent installation, a Georgia appeals panel ruled July 8; however, the panel affirmed that a fungi exclusion bars coverage for the ensuing mold damage (Michael Dolan, et al. v. Auto Owners Insurance Co., No. A15A0384, Ga. App., 3rd Div.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 421).
RICHMOND, Va. - A premises owner on July 6 appealed a federal judge's ruling finding no evidence its work building ships thousands of miles from active hostilities constituted combat activities or that the government prevented it from warning invitees about the hazards of asbestos (Charles B. Brinkman and Louise K. Brinkman v. John Crane Inc., et al., No. 14-142, E.D. Va.).
NEW YORK - A New York justice handed plaintiffs 60 days to stipulate to the reduction of a $190 million asbestos verdict, saying in an opinion posted July 7 that a pending appellate case could assist both parties (Santo Assenzio v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Robert Brunck v A.O. Smith Water Products, Paul Levy v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Cesar Serna v A.O. Smith Water Products, Raymond Vincent v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Nos. 190008/12, 190026/12, 190200/12, 190183/12, 190184/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 8 affirmed a man's conviction for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for storing barrels of hazardous waste without a permit, rejecting the man's argument that the evidence presented at trial showed that he was actually disposing of waste as a result of leaking containers (United States of America v. Robert Roach, No. 14-50260, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11755).
NEWARK, N.J. - A mechanic's testimony regarding work on airplane engines, combined with evidence that asbestos-containing seals contaminated engine compartments as they broke down, overcome summary judgment, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held in reinstating a man's case July 7 (Susan Haas, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 14-3442, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11668).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on July 7 denied Taylor Energy Co. LLC's second attempt to dismiss a Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) lawsuit brought by three environmental groups over an alleged underwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, ruling that there are enough genuine issues of fact as to whether the groups have standing to pursue their claims (Apalachicola Riverkeeper v. Taylor Energy Company LLC, No. 12-337, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87857).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Co-worker testimony placing a man in the vicinity of a company's asbestos-containing insulation, while circumstantial, overcomes summary judgment, a federal judge in Illinois held July 1 (Gerald D. McAlvey v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 14-64, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85844).
LOS ANGELES - Commercial fisherman, fish buyers and owners of three businesses adversely affected by the May 19, 2015, rupture of Plains All American Pipeline LLC's Line 901, which discharged more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil onto the beaches of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara, Calif., and into the Pacific Ocean, filed a class action lawsuit against the company July 1 in California federal court, claiming that it negligently operated the 10-mile, 24-inch wide pipeline (Keith Andrews, et al. v. Plains All American Pipeline L.P., No. 15-cv-4989, C.D. Calif.).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri jury on July 2 awarded a widow $11.5 million for her husband's death from mesothelioma, including $10 million in punitive damages, in a case alleging exposure to asbestos in gaskets and packing on Crane Co. valves, sources told Mealey Publications (Jeanette G. Poage, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 1322-cc00059, Mo. Cir., 22nd Judicial Cir.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Registering and operating businesses are insufficient to create "all-purpose" jurisdiction in Illinois, a federal judge said July 1 in dismissing three defendants from an asbestos action (Dennis Rozumek v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 15-441, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85778).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee court on June 30 rejected a railroad's challenges to asbestos causation experts and evidence and affirmed a $3,335,685 judgment (Linda J. Russell, et al. v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., No. W2013-02453-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App.; 2015 Tenn. App. LEXIS 520).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on July 2 reversed and remanded a lead-based paint injury lawsuit, concluding that there was ample evidence to establish causation such that the case should not have been dismissed on summary judgment (Myishia Smith v. Rowhouses Inc., No. 993, Sept. Term, 2014; 2015 Md. App. LEXIS 85).
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 affirmed a ruling of an Ohio federal court and determined that two parties engaged in a contract dispute pertaining to their responsibilities stemming from a groundwater contamination lawsuit were liable to pay their own costs in the litigation (Warren Drilling Co. Inc. v. Equitable Production Co., No. 15-0483, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11530).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A federal magistrate judge in New York on July 2 granted in part a motion to compel filed by a defendant company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit seeking production of emails between the plaintiff company and an environmental engineering firm, ruling that some information was not protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege (NL Industries v. ACF Industries, et al., No. 10cv89, W.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86677).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A group of chemical companies being sued by a farm trust that alleges that the companies have contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds on July 1 filed a brief in Florida federal court arguing that the plaintiffs' second amended complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6) (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 1 revived a lawsuit brought by a number of Maryland residents against the city of Baltimore and the developers of the Horseshoe Casino, ruling that a federal judge erred when dismissing their claims under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (Bruce Goldfarb, et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, et al., No. 14-1825, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11320).
NEW YORK - The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on June 30 moved in New York federal court for reconsideration of the court's opinion that dismissed some of the commonwealth's claims, arguing that the ruling constitutes "manifest injustice" and that evidence was "overlooked" (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co., et al., No. 07 Civ. 10470, S.D. N.Y.).