FRANKFORT, Ky. - A septic tank installer's conviction for discharging an estimated 1,000 gallons of raw sewage into Wildcat Creek in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) was affirmed by a federal judge in Kentucky on Oct. 6, after he found that the government's circumstantial evidence was still sufficient to support the jury's finding (United States of America v. David Giles, No. 16-cr-0004-GFVT-REW, E.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139072).
NEW YORK - A widow must accept a $4.25 million award for past pain and suffering in an asbestos case or face retrial on the issue, a New York appeals court said Oct. 6 while otherwise rejecting Crane Co.'s challenge to the verdict (Ivana Peraica, etc., et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., Crane Co., No. 190339/11, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The judge presiding over litigation brought against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries stemming from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Oct. 7 ruled that the company is compelled to supplement its discovery requests but held that it would not be subject to sanctions as had been requested by the plaintiffs (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 refused to hear a widow's appeal in her wrongful death lawsuit against gasoline companies that she contended were liable for her husband's death due to his exposure to benzene (Yolande Burst v. Shell Oil Company, et al., No. 16-241, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - Rejecting both the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' complete preclusion of liability for manufacturers of products requiring asbestos-containing third-party parts and the existing exemptions for imposing such liability, a federal judge in Louisiana on Oct. 4 asked for additional briefing on the issue (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).
SEATTLE - Wrongful death actions accrue at the time of death, but require that a valid, timely, underlying claim exist, the Washington Supreme Court held Oct. 4 in a 5-4 decision, affirming summary judgment in a daughter's asbestos case (Judy R. Deggs, et al. v. Asbestos Corp. Limited, et al., No. 91969-1, Wash. Sup.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A man's lawsuit claiming that Volkswagen Group of America Inc. violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and other state laws when marketing "clean diesel" vehicles that contained a defeat device to beat emissions tests belongs in state court because the allegations do not raise a federal question, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Oct. 4 (Christopher Ruzich v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., et al., No. 16-4753, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138436).
BOSTON - A group of health organizations on Oct. 4 filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in federal court in Massachusetts claiming that the agency has not come up with a new graphic warning label for cigarette boxes and advertisements as it is required to do by law (American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration, No. 1:16-cv-11985, D. Mass.).
MADISON, Wis. - An expert's opinion that cumulative exposures to asbestos lead to mesothelioma does not differ noticeably from the type of "every exposure" testimony excluded by the court, and the plaintiff cannot otherwise demonstrate exposure or causation, a federal judge held Sept. 30 in granting judgment after a bench trial (Gary Suoja, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 99-475, W.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135421).
DALLAS - A woman's petition for a deposition in advance of filing a lawsuit seeks only to preserve testimony, and her failed attempt to so in state court does not preclude the remedy, a federal judge in Texas held Sept. 29 (In re: Barbara Reed, No. 16-1964, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135963).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Sept. 30 partially remanded a ruling that denied a veteran benefits for his alleged exposure to Agent Orange, concluding that the Board of Veterans Appeals must re-evaluate its definition of inland waterways to determine exposure (James R. Johnson v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-1101, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2016 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1503).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on Sept. 28 partially reversed and partially affirmed a ruling in a carbon monoxide poisoning case and determined that the insurer for a staffing company did not owe a duty to defend to the general contractor who had organized the project where two workers sustained their injuries (William F. Spencer v. Chevron Corporation, et al., No. 2016-CA-0174, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 1786).
DETROIT - Employees of the State of Michigan on Sept. 29 filed a brief in Michigan federal court, arguing that the lawsuit brought against it by residents of Flint, Mich., in relation to the lead-contaminated water crisis should be dismissed because the plaintiffs' attempt to "severely limit the application of absolute immunity only to prosecutors is incorrect" (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 28 ruled that the City of San Diego's nuisance claim against Monsanto Co. and its affiliates lack evidence, but he concluded that other claims pertaining to alleged contamination of the San Diego Bay with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were valid (San Diego Unified Port District, et al v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-578, S.D. Calif.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 28 awarded the estate of a man who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) $6.4 million after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s role in a conspiracy among tobacco companies to hide the dangers of smoking led to the man's disease and death (Linda Prentice v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-000386, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir. Duval Co.).
CHICAGO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 28 announced that it had reached an agreement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. under which the company will pay $400,000 to settle claims that it violated federal laws pertaining to toxic substances and property renovation involving lead-based paint hazards (United States of America v. Sears Home Improvement Products Inc., No. 16-9302, N.D. Ill.).
PHILADELPHIA - The argument that a valve company did not have a duty to warn about the dangers of third-party asbestos parts ignores both a previous ruling in the case and legal precedent, a federal judge in Philadelphia held Sept. 28 in affirming a $1,085,000 million verdict (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 28 passed a resolution to improve water resources across the country, including $170 million for repairs to the water infrastructure in Flint, Mich., which continues to deal with lead-contaminated drinking water.
DETROIT - An employee of Genesee County, Mich., who is being sued by residents who contend that he is among the parties responsible for the city's lead-contaminated water crisis, on Sept. 27 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the District Court should deny the plaintiffs' motion for an extension of time in which to file their brief opposing the employees' motion to dismiss the lawsuit (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 15-14002, E.D. Mich.).
INDIANAPOLIS - Premises owners can be liable for the conduct of their employees and independent contractors where insufficient evidence suggests that an electrician's own work caused his exposure to asbestos, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Sept. 28 (Larry Myers and Loa Myers v. Bremen Casting Inc. and Mastic Home Exteriors Inc., No. 49A04-1503-MI-113, Ind. App.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. on Sept. 26 moved in New York federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a class of residents who contend that the companies are liable for contaminating their drinking water with perfluorooctanoic acid, referred to as C8, contending that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and that the claims should be dismissed under the primary jurisdiction doctrine (Michelle Baker, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al., No. 16-917, N.D. N.Y.).
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other state officials on Sept. 23 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court arguing that a lawsuit brought against them by a group of residents seeking compensatory and punitive damages in relation to lead-contaminated drinking water should be dismissed because the officials are entitled to sovereign immunity (Veronica Branch, et al v. Chris Christie, et al., No. 16-2467, D. N.J.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California did not apply too narrow of a standard when denying an environmental group's request for $1.2 million in attorney fees and costs in a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit, another federal judge held Sept. 23 in denying the group's motion to reconsider the decision, holding that the group did not provide proper documentation to support the requested amount (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Chico Scrap Metal Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-01207-GEB-AC, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130807).
JACKSON, Miss. - A judge erred by relying on a previously reversed ruling in deciding to once again wipe out a $3,856,346.17 verdict in an asbestos drilling mud case, the Mississippi Supreme Court held Sept. 22 (Elsie Smith, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 2014-CA-01371-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2016 Miss. LEXIS 399).
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Resolution of conflicting evidence regarding a company's supply of asbestos to a joint compound maker is best left to a jury, a federal judge concluded Sept. 21 in declining to grant summary judgment to the last remaining defendant in a case (Maria J. Lee, et al. v. Advance Auto Parts Inc., et al., No. 14-230, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128703).