PHILADELPHIA - A man's omission in his bankruptcy filing of an asbestos action under an eight-year stay does not evidence bad faith, but the trustee still gets the first shot at prosecuting the since-reinstated claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held June 23 (Willard E. Bartel, administrator for James T. McQueen v. Charles Kurz & Company Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 11-30511, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81387).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on June 18 rejected an insurer's argument that a now-deceased plaintiff's deposition testimony should be excluded after determining that the insurer, which was not present when the depositions were held, was represented by the presence of its predecessor in interest at the depositions (Sally Gros Vedros, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., et al., No. 11-1198, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79219).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 19 declined to stay remand of an asbestos case, saying the shipyard defendant lacked sufficient evidence of a causal nexus or the existence of a colorable federal contractor defense to warrant such a move (Mary Jane Wilde v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-30476, 5th Cir.).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on June 19 dismissed a claim asserted by three environmental groups accusing the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of failing to respond to their petition to revoke West Virginia's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, finding that the statute does not impose a nondiscretionary duty on the agency to respond to the petition (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, in her official capacity as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental protection Agency, et al., No. 15-0277, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79630).
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on June 16 signed a bill that will force asbestos and silica personal injury claimants to file any claims they have with bankruptcy trusts before a trial could proceed on their tort system claims, according to a report by the Texas Legislature.
PARKES, Australia - Australia's top court June 19 denied an asbestos defendant's leave to appeal, rejecting its challenge to a $358,151.30 award (BHP Billiton Limited v. Willem van Soest, No. 2014 SASCF 135, Australia Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Subsequent Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent allowing tort actions where a disease arises outside the usual bar for workers' compensation claims requires parties to conduct further discovery in an asbestos action, a state appeals court panel held June 17 (Wendy Ann McCloskey, et al. v. Cemline Corp, et al., Nos. 482 WDA 2014, 530 WDA 2014, Pa. Super.; 2015 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1793).
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on June 18 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by a woman and the Florida Wildlife Federation, ruling that the plaintiffs must explain why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's failure to respond to their petition seeking revisions to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's anti-degradation water quality standards requires the federal agency to make a necessity determination or provide an adequate explanation for denying the petition (Florida Wildlife Federation v. Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 14-cv-3204, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79176).
LOS ANGELES - The nearly universal use of asbestos in the type of brakes a man worked with creates a sufficient relationship to hold a manufacturer of brake grinding machines liable in a take-home exposure case, a California appeals court held June 18 (Michael Sherman, et al. v. Hennessy Industries Inc., No. B252566, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 528).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 18 ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency properly authorized a revision to California's State Implementation Plan (SIP) that authorized the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution District to impose fees on mobile sources of pollution as an alternative to the fees imposed on stationary sources, finding that the new regulation was not less stringent than the standard previously in place (Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 12-73386, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10282).
NEW YORK - The New York federal judge presiding over consolidated litigation related to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's claims against numerous defendants regarding groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on June 16 dismissed the commonwealth's claims for strict liability and negligence (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.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey on June 17 announced that Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd., the operator of the M/V Murcia Carrier, was fined $750,000 for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) by making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard about the dumping of 20 barrels containing hydraulic oil into international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey.
CONCORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire justice on June 15 approved a $19 million asbestos bodily injury related settlement between a reorganized company's trust and the liquidator of an insolvent insurer (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
BALTIMORE - A man suffering from asbestosis lacks evidence that the automobile brakes he encountered contained asbestos or that they lacked sufficient warnings, a federal judge in Maryland held June 12 (Mohamed R. Dashtizadeh v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 14-553, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76142).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Subcontractors' action alleging exposure to asbestos during salvage work improperly targets the company that sold the scrapped synchronous condensers, a federal judge in Tennessee held June 12 (Chris Upton, et al. v. BNFL Inc., et al., No. 12-295, E.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76618).
CINCINNATI - A federal judge in Ohio on June 16 dismissed portions of Clean Air Act (CAA) claims brought by residents who live near a facility owned and operated by Haverhill North Coke Co., finding that a consent decree involving the defendant company, the federal government and states of Ohio and Illinois did not bar all of the plaintiffs' claims (Glenn Graff, et al. v Haverhill North Coke Company, et al., No. 09-cv-670, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77756).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A jury could conclude that an automobile dealership provided warranty work not as a service but as part of the sale of vehicles and that it knew about the dangers asbestos posed to household members, a Connecticut judge held June 12 in allowing products and premises liability claims (Kenneth Reed III, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 12-6034053 S, Conn. Super., Fairfield at Bridgeport).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on June 11 denied one defendant's motion to dismiss her as a defendant in a toxic tort suit filed against an oil recycling facility and granted the plaintiffs' motion to remand the case to state court (Stacy Davis, et al. v. Omega Refining, LLC, et al., No. 15-518, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75723).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Crane Co. can be held liable for failing to warn about the dangers of asbestos-containing component parts where questions exist about the usefulness of non-asbestos-containing options, a New York appeals court held June 12 (In the Matter of the Eighth Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, Beth Ann Pienta, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al. and Crane Co., No. 14-02303, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept.).
BALTIMORE - Apex Oil Co. Inc., an oil company being sued by Chevron USA Inc. for $30 million in remediation costs and other relief for allegedly contaminating groundwater through its discharge of petroleum hydrocarbons from an underground pipeline, on June 11 moved to dismiss that lawsuit on grounds that Chevron has not properly alleged any claims that would give rise to piercing the corporate veil (Chevron USA Inc. v. Apex Oil Company Inc., et al., No. 15-00341, D. Md.).
TRENTON, N.J. - No coverage is provided for mold growth in a home's attic because the insureds failed to prove that the mold growth was a result of a "fortuitous, direct physical loss," the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division said June 10 (Sheldon and Shirley Kavesh v. Franklin Mutual Insurance Co., No. A-5210-13T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1378).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI), which was sued by a couple in Oklahoma federal court for allegedly contaminating their groundwater, on June 11 filed a brief contending that the couple has not shown that they face "imminent" injury (Frank Eldridge, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-1306, W.D. Okla.).
LOS ANGELES - A chrome-plating company sued by the State of California for allegedly contaminating groundwater as a result of its operation of an industrial site on June 10 filed a brief in federal court arguing that the lawsuit is barred by the statute of limitations (California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. J&S Chrome Plating Co., No. 14-02613, C.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on June 10 stipulated to an order of dismissal without prejudice of some of its claims in against numerous defendants regarding groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). The commonwealth retains the right to amend its complaint, however, to add claims for a regulatory enforcement action against the companies (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.).
MILWAUKEE - The state's statute of repose does not apply to maintenance work and does not exempt a manufacturer who supplied asbestos-containing insulation for that specific project, a federal judge in Wisconsin held June 9 (Marybeth Nuutinen, et al. v. CBS Corp., and John Crane Inc., No. 97-678, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75134).