DAYTON, Ohio - After finding that a trial court reasonably compensated a tenant for problems with her rental property, including leaks and mold, an Ohio appeals court on Feb. 20 affirmed a decision to partially award her unpaid rent (Kristen Bynum v. Randy Cotterman, No. 26222, Ohio App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 600).
BIG STONE GAP, Va. - A Virginia federal judge on Feb. 23 found that gross negligence claims and Virginia state law claims asserted by a customer who alleged that he was made ill by mold in his drink failed but allowed his claims for negligence and breach of implied warranty against a restaurant owner to proceed (James Hamilton v. Boddie Noelle Enterprises Inc., d/b/a Hardees, et al., No. 2:14CV00051, W.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20976).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 23 dismissed a complaint filed by an environmental watchdog against an oil and gas company, ruling that the company had the proper permits to operate wells despite the claim that those wells released nitrogen oxide into the environment (Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future v. Ultra Resources Inc., No. 11-1360, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21357).
NEW ORLEANS - One of the oil and gas exploration companies sued by Louisiana residents who allege that they contaminated drinking water on Feb. 18 filed an answer to the claim, arguing that most of the claims against it have already been dismissed (Catherine P. Alford, et al. v. Chevron USA Inc., et al., No. 13-5457 [consolidated], E.D. La.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The railway company defendants sued by a class of residents who contend that the defendants are liable for injuries related to the release of vinyl chloride and other chemicals from a train derailment on Feb. 23 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court arguing that one couple's specific claim must be dismissed (Allison Wileczek, et al. v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, et al. [In Re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases], No. 15-00017, Master Docket 13-784, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice announced Feb. 23 that a North Carolina man was arrested for submitting a false claim seeking $2.3 million from the fund established to compensate business owners who suffered damages as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. on Feb. 19 removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia a complaint filed by a woman who is seeking damages for injuries she contends were caused by the company's chemical plant, which allegedly released perfluooctanic acid (C8) into her groundwater (Patty Ann Livingston v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., No.15-01944, S.D. W.Va.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 ordered Montana and Wyoming to "carefully consider whether it is appropriate for them to continue invoking the jurisdiction of the Court" after a special master indicated that the fees and expenses in the eight-year-old water litigation "could well exceed any recovery" (State of Montana v. State of Wyoming, et al., No. 137, Original, U.S. Sup.).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - While the evidence suggests that a man suffered asbestos exposures, insufficient evidence links seven defendants to those exposures, a federal judge in Connecticut held Feb. 19 in granting the defendants judgment (Debra Bray, et al. v. Ingersoll-Rand Co., et al., No. 13-1561, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19523).
CLEVELAND - A class of purchasers on Feb. 18 appealed to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a federal judge's decision to award a manufacturer of washing machines costs in relation to a recent verdict issued in its favor (In re: Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation, No. 1:08-WP-65000, N.D. Ohio).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - South Carolina would likely reject the bare metal defense based on a recent decision by the judge responsible for asbestos litigation in the state, a federal judge held in granting a motion for reconsideration on Feb. 19 (Terence J. Sparkman and Leonard Sparkman, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 12-2957, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19579).
PITTSBURGH - A hydraulic fracturing company on Feb. 18 filed a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania municipality in Pennsylvania federal court, arguing that the municipality should be prevented from enforcing an ordinance which "illegally" purports to ban otherwise properly permitted and regulated underground injection control (UIC) wells used for the disposal of natural gas brines (Seneca Resources Corporation v. Highland Township, et al., No. 15-60, W.D. Pa.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Feb. 19 filed a lawsuit in California federal court against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and other federal land management organizations contending that they have violated federal law by approving permits for hydraulic fracturing operations off the California coast (Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, et al., No. 15-1189, C.D. Calif.).
ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio - Two hydraulic fracturing companies being sued by Ohio landowners who dispute the legal status of the oil and gas rights that are covered by the lease entered into between the fracking company and the landowners' parents on Feb. 19 moved in Ohio federal court to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to state claim (Jeffrey C. Ware, et al v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, et al., No. 15-00626, S.D. Ohio).
NEW YORK - The attorney for two of the defendants in the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) products litigation on Feb. 18 sent a letter to the judge presiding over the case indicating that the parties had agreed upon a dismissal of those defendants (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 001898, MDL 1358, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, No. 14-06228, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 19 denied BP Exploration & Production Inc.'s request to reduce the amount in civil penalties it should pay per barrel of oil that was discharged during the oil spill (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.).
BISMARCK, N.D. - The Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the North Dakota Senate was slated to conduct hearings on Feb. 19 regarding a proposed bill that would amend the state's code concerning flaring of hydraulic fracturing wells.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A hydraulic fracturing company that is having its permit to drill for oil and gas challenged by a group of landowners on Feb. 17 filed a brief with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB), arguing that the evidence is "clear" that it provided adequate notice of its plan to drill and that the landowners cannot meet their burden of showing that additional environmental controls should be imposed (Richard L. Stedge v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. 2014-042, Pa. EHB).
RALEIGH, N.C. - Evidence supports a finding that a heating and cooling technician suffered asbestos exposure on the job sufficient to award death benefits, a North Carolina appeals court held Feb. 17 (Michael Ray Patton, et al. v. Sears Roebuck & Co., Specialty Risk Services, Carrier, No. COA14-955, N.C. App.; 2015 N.C. App. LEXIS 82).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal magistrate judge in West Virginia on Feb. 17 ordered a hydraulic fracturing company to respond to discovery requests made by a landowner couple engaged in a lease dispute with the company on grounds that records pertaining to royalty payments owed to the couple are relevant and the company's "blanket assertions" of privilege "utterly fail to provide any information" that would allow a party to assess whether privilege applies (Larry Barr, et al. v. EQT Production Company, No. 14-57, N.D. W.Va.).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Feb. 13 excluded testimony from three experts that "any exposure" to asbestos leads to disease, experiments conducted by William Longo and Materials Analytical Services and testimony from Barry Castleman, granting unopposed motions in two cases (Gary Souja, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 99-475, Barbara Connell, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 05-219, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17786).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The class of plaintiffs suing E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. alleging personal injury and wrongful death in connection with a spill of perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C-8) on Feb. 17 filed a brief arguing that its claims are preserved and, contrary to DuPont's contention, Ohio law does not govern the litigation (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Feb. 13 granted summary judgment to a landlord, finding that a tenant, who alleged that her apartment contained mold, failed to submit evidence to support her claims for violation of the Federal Housing Act (FHA) and other allegations (Barbara Armstrong v. Yopp Properties LLC, No. 7:13-CV-235, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17598).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A divided Ohio Supreme Court on Feb. 17 ruled 4-3 that local ordinances regulating the practice of hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of oil and gas violate the Ohio Constitution (State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., No. 2015-Ohio-485, Ohio Sup.)
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania state court judge on Feb. 11 affirmed a ruling by a Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) that found that a man who alleged he was blinded when he was sprayed in the face by hydraulic fracturing fluid did not provide sufficient medical evidence to show that his injury was caused the way he said it was (James Dershem v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, No. 1171 C.D. 2014, Pa. Cmwlth.; 2015 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 105).