SAN DIEGO - A co-worker's vague recollection that boilers originated with a specific manufacturer falls short of demonstrating asbestos exposure from its products, a California federal judge held May 24 (Gail Elizabeth Walashek, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 14-1567, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55013).
SAN DIEGO - The family of former professional baseball player Tony Gwynn filed suit in California state court on May 23, claiming that smokeless tobacco led to the salivary gland cancer that caused his death (Alicia Gwynn et al. v. Altria Group Inc., et al., No. 37-2016-00017104, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 20 reversed certification of a class of homeowners in a Minneapolis neighborhood who have sued General Mills Inc. for environmental contamination, finding that the class lacks requisite commonality and cohesiveness (Karl Ebert, et al. v. General Mills, Inc., No. 15-1735, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9233).
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The City of Long Beach on May 19 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. and two of its affiliates in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, contending that the company concealed information regarding the toxicity of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that is manufactured, and city residents have been - or will be - injured as a result (City of Long Beach v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 16-3493, C.D. Calif.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on May 19 granted a plaintiff's motion in limine to prevent E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. from questioning his treating physician regarding causation in his claim that DuPont is liable for his cancer from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 24 ruled that the lead plaintiff in a putative class action that alleges personal injuries from exposure to fugitive chemicals from the closed Bhopal, India, pesticide refinery from which methyl isocyanate was released in 1984 failed to show that the court had new evidence that was sufficient to raise an issue of material fact in opposition to the defendant's summary judgment motion (Jargarnath Sahu, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 14-3087, S.D. N.Y.).
BALTIMORE - A couple failed to properly disclose the full range of products an expert would testify to, and their argument that the defense was to blame is "preposterous," a federal judge in Maryland held May 18 in excluding the testimony and granting summary judgment (Charles Lemuel Arbogast Jr. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 14-4049, D. Md.).
LOS ANGELES - An intermediary's general knowledge about the dangers of asbestos does not save a company from a $5 million verdict over its brokering of the sale of highly hazardous crocidolite asbestos fibers, the California Supreme Court held May 23 (William Webb and Jacqueline Webb v. Special Electric Company Inc., No. S209927, Calif. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - Recent Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals case law requires the judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation reconsider his ruling granting three defendants summary judgment on maritime negligence claims arising in a renal cancer case, plaintiffs argue in May 19 motions (Leroy J. Mortimer and Cheryl Mortimer v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-4169, E.D. Pa.).
PHILADELPHIA - The bare-metal defense applies to maritime negligence failure-to-warn claims, the federal judge overseeing the asbestos multidistrict litigation held May 19 in response to a decision of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (John B. DeVries, et al. v. General Electric Co., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-474, E.D. Pa.).
CINCINNATI - A group of Flint, Mich., residents who had their lawsuit related to the city's lead-contaminated drinking water dismissed filed notice of an appeal in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 16 (Beatrice Boler, et al. v. Darnell Earley, et al., No. N/A, 6th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A group of plaintiffs who allege that they have been harmed as a result of exposure to wood treated with creosote from a chemical company's operation in Pennsylvania on May 18 filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that a district court erred when it ordered them to dismiss their claims against the company that treated the wood with chemicals (Tronox Incorporated v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, No. 14-5495, 2nd Cir.).
SEATTLE - Evidence that asbestos fibers used in one area could travel throughout a shipyard combined with evidence of a delivery man's frequent visits sufficiently establish exposure, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 16 (Roger Botts and Carol Botts v. United States of America, No. 14-35007, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8940).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on May 16 ruled that an expert for Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) is permitted to testify at a trial for personal injuries claimed by residents who are suing HESI for releasing radioactive materials and perchlorate into the environment (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., which was sued by residents who claim that they have suffered injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), on May 16 filed a brief in Ohio federal court objecting to the court's trial selection procedures on grounds that they are "inherently unfair" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on May 16 publicly released an award on jurisdiction and liability that was issued in an arbitration brought by Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) against the Commonwealth of Australia in relation to its tobacco packaging laws in which it found that the claimant's initiation of arbitration was an abuse of rights (Philip Morris Asia Limited [Hong Kong] v. The Commonwealth of Australia, No. 2012-12, PCA).
BARTOW, Fla. - A Florida jury on May 16 awarded the widow of a smoker $6 million after finding that he relied on statements made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. about the harmfulness of smoking the cigarettes it manufactured (Marlene Nally v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007CA-007627, Fla. Cir., 10th Jud. Cir., Polk Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 denied Philip Morris USA Inc.'s petition for certiorari to determine whether due process is violated when a jury is told about punitive damages that were previously vacated (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Paul Scott Schwarz, Personal Representative of the estate of Michelle Schwarz, No. 15-1013, U.S. Sup.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon jury on May 12 awarded a man and his wife $5 million arising from his exposure to asbestos and resulting mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Charles Eastridge, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks, Inc., et al., No. 15CV18697, Ore. Cir., Multnomah Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 11 ruled that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear a case alleging that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to properly investigate methyl bromide exposure before reaching a settlement with a California state agency that had authorized the use of the pesticide in a residential area (Maria Garcia v. Gina McCarthy, No. 14-15494, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8668).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge applied the wrong standard and relied on evidence outside the record in concluding that asbestos-insulated train pipes constituted a complete system "integral" to a locomotives operation, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 16 (Peggy R. Hassell, et al. v. Resco Holdings LLC; and ACF Industries LLC, and Thyssenkrupp Budd Co., No. 14-1715, 14-1804, 3rd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 denied certiorari to Exxon Mobil Corp. (EMC) in its dispute with the State of New Hampshire regarding cleanup costs for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), refusing to hear the company's argument that it had been deprived of due process (Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al. v. State of New Hampshire, No. 15-933, U.S. Sup.).
MILWAUKEE - A group of plaintiffs who sued paint companies they allege are responsible for poisoning injuries from lead-based paint on May 9 moved in Wisconsin federal court to partially consolidate their cases pursuant to a federal procedural rule that allows for such a move in cases involving a common question of law or fact (Glenn Burton Jr. v. American Cyanamid Company, et al., No. 07-0303; Ravon Owens v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0441; Ernest Gibson v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0864; Brionn Stokes v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0865; Cesar Sifuentes v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 10-0075; Maniya Allen v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 11-0055, Deziree Valoe v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 11- 0425; Dijonae Trammell v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 14-1423, E.D. Wis.).
SARASOTA, Fla. - A Florida jury on May 12 awarded a widower $30,000 in punitive damages a day after finding that the deceased relied to her detriment on statements made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. which ultimately led to her death, bringing the total award to $12,030,000 (George Dion v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 13CA5673, Fla. Cir., 12th Jud. Cir., Sarasota Co.).
LOS ANGELES - Under California law, the sophisticated user doctrine focuses on the end user's knowledge of a danger, not an intermediary's knowledge, a federal judge said May 10 while also rejecting defendants' government contractor defense (Victoria Lund, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-2776, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61847).