PORTLAND, Ore. - Amending a complaint after summary judgment for the only nondiverse defendant did not allow removal of an asbestos action, a federal judge held Aug. 25 in adopting a magistrate judge's report (Ronald K. Laux, and Marilee Laux, et al. v. Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd., et al., No. 15-585, D. Ore.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 25 approved a consent decree in which West Coast Wood Preserving LLC (WCWP) would pay $350,000 to reimburse the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for cleanup costs the agency incurred in cleaning up arsenic, chromium and copper contamination at a former wood-preserving site in Elmira, Calif., finding that the agreement was fair and reasonable (California Department of Toxic Substances Control, et al. v. Jim Dobbas Inc., et al., No. 14-595 WBS EFB, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112973).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) products litigation on Aug. 26 denied a motion filed by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) that sought to include two companies in the remand order sending the case to California federal court (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, Orange County Water District v. Unocal Corporation, No. 04-4968, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 26 affirmed summary judgment dismissal of a family's groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs' experts' reports were properly disallowed under rules of evidence established by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (C.W., et al. v. Textron Inc., No. 14-3448, 7th Cir.; 20125 U.S. App. LEXIS 15076).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Aug. 21 announced that it had fined three companies involved in natural gas exploration a combined $374,481 for contaminating private drinking water supplies. The fines have all been paid, the DEP said.
CHICAGO - An Illinois appellate court on Aug. 24 affirmed a trial court ruling that it was not an abuse of discretion for Chicago agencies to revoke a tobacco store's license for its violations of the city's municipal code regarding proper packaging - and payment of taxes - pertaining to cigarettes (Smoke N Stuff v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 1-14-0936, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 646).
WILMINGTON, Del. - An asbestos defendant's registration in Delaware is sufficient to create personal jurisdiction, a Delaware judge held in denying reargument on Aug. 25 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Mary Anne Hudson v. International Paper Co., et al., No. N14C-03-247, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 423).
CHICAGO - A judge properly excluded Arthur Frank's trial testimony as a repackaging of his excluded "every exposure" testimony, and an investigation into a juror did not prejudice a jury's finding that tobacco and not asbestos caused a man's lung cancer, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 25 (Charles Krik v. Crane Co.; ExxonMobil Oil Corp.; Owens-Illinois Inc.; and The Marley-Wylain Co., No. 1:10-cv-70435, N.D. Ill.).
NEW ORLEANS - A jury properly heard testimony that every asbestos exposure above background can cause disease and found Ford Motor Co. liable for a man's death from mesothelioma, but its verdict against a talc defendant was hopelessly conflicted, a Louisiana appeals court held Aug 20 in partially affirming a $2.3 million verdict (William Oddo Jr. v. Asbestos Corp. Ltd., et al., No. 2014-CA-0004, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 1584).
SEATTLE - Allegations of contemporaneous symptoms after asbestos exposure do not trigger the intentional tort exemption to workers' compensation exclusivity because there is no way the employer could have known for certain that the exposure would lead to a man's mesothelioma, a Washington appellate panel held Aug. 24 (John M. Kalahar and Peggy L. Kalahar v. Alcoa Inc., No. 72635-8-I, Wash. App., Div. 1).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Alabama Supreme Court on Aug. 24 rejected certified questions from a federal judge regarding premises owner liability and the proper causation standard in a take-home asbestos exposure case (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 1141023, Ala. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana jury on Aug. 20 returned a defense verdict for Union Carbide Corp. and Montello in a case alleging asbestosis caused by asbestos in drilling mud (Dan Freeman v. Phillips 66 Co., et al., No. 2011-7941, La. Dist., Orleans Parish).
TRENTON, N.J. - Neither registering to do business in a state nor employing a small amount of people in that state subjects a company to general jurisdiction, a federal judge in New Jersey held Aug. 20 in dismissing asbestos claims (James McCourt and Mabel McCourt v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 14-221, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110111).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A medical doctor's familiarity with different fibers qualifies him to testify as an expert in an asbestos case, and Illinois precedent does not bar him even if he plans to testify that every exposure to asbestos leads to disease, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 20 (Charles Neureuther v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 13-1327, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108782).
LOS ANGELES - An asbestos defendant's proposal that liability be used to calculate offsets for pre-verdict settlements "is completely at odds" with state precedent, a California appeals panel held Aug. 20 in also affirming 50-50 split of asbestos settlement proceeds between personal injury and any future wrongful death action and denying offsets for potential asbestos bankruptcy recoveries (James Hellam v. Crane Co., No. A140326, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 720).
NEW ORLEANS - Defendants' evidence that the U.S. Navy issued detailed and specific guidance over the design, construction and labeling of products it procured meets the broad standard for removal under the federal officer statute, defendants told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 18 (Debra Dummitt Meyers and Ronald Palmero v. A.W. Chesterton, et al., No. 15-30528, 5th Cir.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The federal judge in New Jersey presiding over a lawsuit brought by residents who sued a group of railroad company defendants seeking damages related to a vinyl chloride spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek on Aug. 18 dismissed two of the defendants from the case (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 17 granted an insurer's motion to amend its counterclaim to add an additional nine claims in an environmental remediation dispute after determining that one of the plaintiffs withheld documents on the basis of privilege without producing a privilege log (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108381).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The amended disclosure statement for the plan of reorganization of Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) should not be approved because it does not clearly state whether EFH will comply with its obligations under environmental law concerning properties owned and operated by the company and does not notify the public of the health and safety risks posed by noncompliance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says in an Aug. 17 objection filed in Delaware federal bankruptcy court (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - The absence of evidence against a defendant does not free it from an asbestos case where potential cross-claims exist, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Aug. 18 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation Michael Koulermos and Marian Koulermos v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190406/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 18 dismissed an inmate's civil rights claim related to allegations that he was forced to drink water contaminated with toxic chemicals on grounds that he had not established liability on the part of the prison officials named as defendants (Kenneth Williams v. Thomas Birkett, No. 14-12755, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108370).
OWENSBORO, Ky. - A woman "gravely ill" with mesothelioma allegedly caused by household asbestos exposure will likely not live to see trial if defendants are allowed impleader, a Kentucky judge held Aug. 12 in denying the request, as well as motion for change of venue (Doris White v. Triangle Enterprises Inc., et al., to No. 14-CI-1029, Ky. Cir., Daviess Co.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A motion seeking documents and deposition from an unretained plaintiffs' asbestos expert about his role in a 2009 statement on asbestos disease in mechanics seeks evidence already in the company's possession and is unduly burdensome, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held Aug. 13 (Arthur L. Frank, M.D., Ph.D., v. Honeywell International Inc., f/k/a Allied Signal Inc., successor to Bendix Corp., and Ford Motor Co., No. 15-172, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106453).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Aug. 13 remanded a case in which a veteran claimed that he was owed benefits for exposure to Agent Orange, ruling that the decision to deny his claim was based on a flawed interpretation of federal statutes (Kenneth Gates v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-1221, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1102).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington state on Aug. 13 remanded to state court a groundwater contamination case brought by a class of residents who contend that The Boeing Co. and a contractor are liable for negligence in their efforts to remediate groundwater contamination, ruling that the "local controversy" exception to federal class action law applied (Jocelyn Allen, et al. v. The Boeing Company, et al., No. 14-0596, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107482).