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.).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A judge's post-verdict jury instruction regarding the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA)'s bar on contributory negligence requires a new trial on the issue of damages in an asbestos case, Tennessee's top court held July 1 in largely upholding the verdict (Anne Payne v. CSX Transportation Inc., No. 223107, Tenn. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - BP Exploration & Production Inc. will pay $18.7 billion over the course of 18 years to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) and natural resource damages claims from the federal government and states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the company announced today (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On remand, a veterans appeals board must explain how it reconciled conflicting evidence in denying a former laundryman's asbestos exposure claim, an appeals court judge held June 29 (Carolyn Morrison v. Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, No. 13-3474, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 873).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An appeals board provided inadequate support for denying a veteran's claim that asbestos exposure led him to contract throat cancer, an appeals court judge held June 30 (James R. Kowalew v. Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, No. 14-0869, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 892).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A third-party defendant in a lawsuit brought by two men who contend that they were injured when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation filed an answer June 30 denying the allegations and contending that its product either was not the product at issue in the lawsuit, or the product was misused after it was manufactured (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al., and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.)
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on June 30 dismissed a former inmate's civil rights action which claimed a prison's drinking water was contaminated. The judge said that the plaintiff failed to state a claim (Rhea Michelle Walker v. Camp Brighton Prison, No. 15-12153, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84529).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 30 ruled that a former BP Exploration & Production Inc. engineer who was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice for deleting text messages and emails related to the calculations of the amount of oil spilling out of the Macondo well following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 is entitled to a new trial, ruling that a federal judge in Louisiana did not err when finding that the jury foreperson was exposed to prejudicial extrinsic evidence (United States of America v. Kurt Mix, No. 14-30837, 5th Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 30 denied as moot a hydraulic fracturing company's motion to partially dismiss a complaint filed by residents who contend that the company contaminated their groundwater (Tammy Manning v. WPX Energy Appalachia LLC, No. 12-0646, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84473).
SAN FRANCISCO - A group of plaintiffs suing Chevron Corp. alleging that the company is liable for damages caused by the explosion of a natural gas rig filed a brief in California federal court on June 29, opposing the company's motion to strike or dismiss the plaintiffs' third amended complaint, contending that it is appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 15 (Foster Ogola v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
SEATTLE - A broker need not know asbestos would end up in pipe used in Washington because the volume of sales suggested the fibers would enter the stream of commerce, a state appeals court held June 29 in reversing dismissal (Candance Noll, et al. v. American Biltrite Inc., et al., No. 71345-1-I, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 1364).
PITTSBURGH - A group of residents on June 26 filed a purported class action in Pennsylvania federal court against a power company and its affiliates, contending that they have been injured as a result of the defendant's "reckless" operation of two nuclear materials processing facilities (Russell Crocker, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., et al., No. 15-00844, W.D. Pa.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Consolidated Rail Corp. (CONRAIL), one of the railroad defendants being sued in New Jersey federal court by residents who seek damages related to a chemical spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek filed an answer on June 29 in which it admits only that certain cars on the train derailed, and it "specifically" denies that the bridge collapsed. Moreover, the defendant says it admits that one of the train cars was breached and "released a limited quantity of vinyl chloride," but it denies that the event caused harm to people or property (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A judge overseeing an asbestos case nearing trial on June 29 barred an expert from testifying that "every exposure" leads to disease and excluded another expert's testimony regarding causation, finding it insufficiently specific (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 83991).
ANCHORAGE, Ala. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 remanded a case to the Environmental Protection Agency to make a determination regarding whether the discharge of noncontact cooling water into the Beaufort Sea will cause unreasonable degradation of the marine environment, after the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) challenged an EPA permit authorizing the discharge by oil and gas facilities of waste streams into marine waters of the sea (Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 13-70633, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11062).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 denied petitions asking the high court to review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling affirming a federal judge in Louisiana's finding concerning BP Exploration & Production Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp.'s liability under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for pollution caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 (BP Exploration & Production Inc. v. United States of America, No. 14-1217, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation v. United States of America, No. 14-1167, U.S. Sup.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A group of reinsurers told a federal court in Connecticut on June 26 that their reinsured's claim regarding certain environmental damage losses should not be counted as a single occurrence (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00275, D. Conn.).
NEWARK, N.J. - The bare metal defense entitles three product manufacturers to summary judgment, a judge said before remanding the remainder of the asbestos action on June 26 (Linda Hammell, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 14-13, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83154, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83153, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83152).
LOS ANGELES - A trial court properly concluded that an employer shifted the burden of summary judgment and that plaintiffs failed to create triable issues, a California appeals court held June 24 (Teresa Quiroz, et al. v. BNSF Railway Co., No. B250165, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4426).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on June 25 allowed an industrial hygienist's asbestos-exposure testimony, over defense complaints that he lacked sufficient experience with mastics or adhesives. The judge previously admitted deposition testimony finding that an insurer's interests were represented by a predecessor in interest and said plaintiffs could raise challenges to defense experts in cross-examination (Sally Gros Vedros, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., et al., No. 11-1198, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82672).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on June 25 denied Carolina Water Service Inc.'s motion to dismiss a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit brought by Congaree Riverkeeper Inc., finding that the group has standing to pursue a claim that the company is violating the act by failing to connect its wastewater treatment facility to the regional system and that the claim is timely because it constitutes an ongoing violation (Congaree Riverkeeper Inc. v. Carolina Water Services Inc., No. 15-cv-194, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82387).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Ford Motor Co. and a woman who claims that it fatally exposed her husband to asbestos settled the action after five days of trial, according to a June 24 docket entry. The federal judge overseeing the case previously declined to sanction Ford for failing to produce certain documents, citing the plaintiff's familiarity with the testimony (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Olga Pavlick, et al. v. Advance Stores Company Inc., et al., No. 10-174, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81504).