RALEIGH, N.C. - Regardless of the terms they couch it in, experts offer the incoherent, untestable and scientifically rejected opinion that every asbestos exposure substantially contributes to disease, an automaker and brake manufacturer told a North Carolina federal judge on May 8 (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas House of Representatives on May 11 voted 126-11 to approve a bill that would require asbestos and silica personal injury claimants suing to recover damages for their diseases to file all claims they have with asbestos and silica bankruptcy trusts before a trial is held.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The coordinating judge in the federal Engle cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on May 11 approved a plan for distributing $100 million in settlement funds to plaintiffs in more than 400 cases (In re Engle Cases, No. 3:09-10000, M.D. Fla.).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 7 denied a defendant company's motion for summary judgment in a Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit brought by three groups complaining about discharges of pollutants from valley fills, finding that the groups have jurisdictional standing to bring their action (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Inc., et al. v. Pocahontas Land Corporation, No. 14-11333, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59910).
RALEIGH, N.C. - Evidence of defendants' conduct after the dates of the last alleged exposure to asbestos from their products may be relevant for some limited purposes, a federal judge held May 11 in largely granting motions to exclude the evidence (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61291).
PHILADELPHIA - Illinois asbestos plaintiffs originally alleging nonmalignant diseases must file amended complaints alleging subsequent lung cancer, and on remand, the court must determine whether such amendment is proper, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 11 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation; plaintiffs - Collins, Doyle, and Larweth, Nos. 13-2087, 13-2088, 13-2090, 14-1235, 14-1755, 14-1756, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7753).
TAMPA, Fla. - An environmental group's lawsuit alleging that the City of North Port, Fla., and three state officials violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by allowing sand, 55-gallon drums and plastic sheeting to be disposed of at Warm Mineral Springs, a 200-foot-deep pond, was found untimely May 8 by a federal judge in Florida, who ruled that the materials were put there more than five years ago (Friends of Warm Mineral Springs Inc., et al. v. Gina McCarthy, No. 13-cv-3236-T-23TGW, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60601).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Absent solid evidence that a man suffers from asbestosis, he cannot link his lung cancer to occupational asbestos exposure, West Virginia's top court held in affirming denial of workers' compensation benefits on May 7 (James Lawrentz v. Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, No. 14-0711, W.Va. Sup. App.; 2015 W.Va. LEXIS 592).
SAN FRANCISCO - Maritime law imposes substantial factor causation and will govern a pending asbestos trial, a federal judge in California held May 8 (Barry Kelly and Molly Kelly v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 11-3240, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60788).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The state's workers' compensation courts properly credited one set of experts relying on case-specific evidence over conflicting expert testimony, West Virginia's top court held May 7 (George A. Vaughan v. Alcan Rolled Products - Ravenswood LLC, No. 14-0817, W.Va. Sup. App.; 2015 W.Va. LEXIS 593).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 8 held that BP Exploration & Production Inc. can appeal some payouts made pursuant to the settlement agreement resolving business and economic losses stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, holding that a May 20, 2013, order entering final approval of the agreement violated BP's right to appeal (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 13-30843, 5th Cir.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia court on May 7 reversed a decision that denied a claim for compensation filed by a technician against his employer, finding that the evidence supported his claims that his health conditions were caused by mold exposure at work (Tommy Jackson v. Fayette County Commission, No. 13-0460, W.Va. Sup.; 2015 W.Va. LEXIS 578).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma residents who sued Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) for alleged injuries from exposure to radioactive waste from a chemical plant operated by HESI on May 7 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that the company should not be permitted to file a sur-reply brief opposing the plaintiffs' motion to compel discovery (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).
DALLAS - Texas law protecting a premises owner from negligence claims arising from a subcontractor's work also protects it from its own contemporaneous conduct, the Texas Supreme Court held May 8 in affirming reversal of a $9 million asbestos verdict (Magdalena Adrienna Abutahoun, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Co., No. 13-0175, Texas Sup.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - After finding that the sellers of a house were unaware of mold and moisture problems at the property when they sold it, a South Carolina federal judge on May 6 granted summary judgment for the sellers of the home (Albert M. Calland III, et al. v. Lloyd H. Carr, No. 9:14-cv-0420, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59175).
PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs never officially settled an asbestos action because they never provided an affirmative response to the offer, a federal magistrate judge held May 6 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Willard Bartel and David Peebles as co-administrators of the estate of Robert Young v. University of Miami, No. MDL 875, 11, 32162, E.D. Pa.).
CLEVELAND - A trial judge erred in allowing expert testimony that "every exposure" to asbestos contributed to a man's mesothelioma, resulting in an $815,723 verdict, an asbestos-brake manufacturer told an Ohio appeals court May 1 (Barbara Watkins, et al. v. Affinia Group, et al., No. CA-15-102538, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on May 5 dismissed without prejudice a couple's lawsuit against CMH Homes Inc., doing business as Oakwood Home Oklahoma City, Clayton Mobile Homes and Karsten Homes, ruling that the plaintiffs were unable to show good cause for serving the defendants with a copy of their complaint 551 days after filing a petition in state court (Jacquelynn L. Jacks, et al. v. CMH Homes Inc., d/b/a Oakwood homes Oklahoma City, et al., No. CIV-15-34-M, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58601).
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) preempts a widow's claims that her husband developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos in a defendant's locomotive brakes, a federal judge in North Carolina held May 1 (Brenda Ricks, et al. v. Armstrong International Inc., et al., No. 14-37, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58054).
NEW YORK - A New York justice divided eight cases into three consolidated trial groups, saying in an opinion posted May 5 that shared attorneys and disease trump differences in places or time periods of exposure (George R. Birrell and Ramona J. Birrell, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 190105/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1471).
LINCOLN, Neb. - A Nebraska federal judge on May 4 issued a ruling partially granting motions for summary judgment filed by a third-party contractor in relation to alleged construction defects in a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) that was installed at a monastery, which allegedly caused mold growth throughout the building (Missionary Benedictine Sisters Inc. v. Hoffman LLC, et al., No. 4:11CV3180, D. Neb.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58101).
FRESNO, Calif. - A former operator of a commercial laundry business sued a California city on May 5, arguing that the defendant is liable for cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act because its failure to maintain its sewer system contributed to soil, groundwater and vapor contamination on the plaintiff's property (Mission Linen Supply Co. v. City of Visalia, et al., No. 15-cv-00672, E.D. Calif.).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on April 30 dismissed a lawsuit by a resident who contended that he had been exposed to hazardous chemicals as a result of an ash spill at a plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) (James Ryan v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 14-356, E.D. Tenn.).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over litigation regarding groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on April 28 partially granted and partially denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants, ruling that some defendants were entitled to dismissal based on lack of evidence, but one was liable for selling gasoline that resulted in contamination (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.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55535).
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal magistrate judge in Utah on April 28 denied a motion to quash a subpoena for a deposition filed by a former senior officer at Atlantic Richfield Co., finding that the woman may have relevant information about operations the company conducted at a site that is subject of a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit (Asarco LLC v. Noranda Mining Inc., No. 12-cv-00527, D. Utah; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55650).