TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) did not breach the terms of a settlement agreement with Cumberland Farms Inc. when naming the company as a defendant in lawsuits over contamination caused by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in New York federal court, a New Jersey appeals court panel ruled Nov. 2, after finding that the agreement was not final and enforceable (Cumberland Farms Inc. v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, No. A-4355-14T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2016 N.J. Super., LEXIS 139).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Parties engaged in a groundwater contamination lawsuit related to the chemical spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) have reached a $151 million settlement agreement in which $76 million in payments are guaranteed, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs told Mealey Publications on Nov. 2 (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida jury in an Engle progeny case was unable to reach an agreement on whether a woman who died from lung cancer was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and the judge declared a mistrial on Nov. 1 (John Maloney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 07-CA-015578, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir., Lee Co.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The same logic underpinning other aspects of the government contractor removal statute apply to failure-to-warn cases, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Nov. 1 in reversing a "decades-old practice" in a lower court (Deborah H. Ripley, as administrator of the estate of Bernard W. Ripley v. Foster Wheeler LLC, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., and J Henry Holland Corp., et al., No 15-1918, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19631).
ST. LOUIS - There is no evidence that a family member of a man allegedly killed by asbestos named, and kept, a defendant in related litigation in a bad faith effort to defeat jurisdiction, a federal judge in Missouri held Oct. 27 in finding that the one-year limit of removals required remand (Nola H. Bristol v. Ford Motor Co, et al., No. 16-1649, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148867).
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Oct. 27 ruled that ASARCO could intervene in a lawsuit brought by the federal government and state of Oklahoma against two companies accused of contributing to contamination at the Tar Creek Superfund site because a proposed settlement between the parties could affect ASARCO's ability to seek contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (United States of America, et al. v. Doe Run Resources Corporation, et al., No. 15-CV-0663-CVE-TLW, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148959).
BOSTON - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Oct. 27 that Lowell, Mass.-based Specialty Materials Inc. agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Oct. 26 denied Crane Co.'s motion asking her to rescind a 16-month-old remand order and grant it summary judgment, saying the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' order requiring reconsideration of a summary judgment order involving other defendants did not require such an outcome (Linda Hammell, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 14-13, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148139).
ALBANY, N.Y. - Out-of-state rulings on a manufacturers' liability for third-party parts do not require reconsideration of a ruling and a recent ruling by New York's top court moots any concern of prejudice, a federal judge held Oct. 27 (Pearl Osterhout, et al. v. Crane Co.; FMC Corp., et al., No. 14-208, N.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148819).
NEW YORK - The court clerk for the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 27 issued an order denying a petition for rehearing sought by a group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney in the fraud case surrounding the $18.5 billion judgment the residents had won against Chevron Corp., which was reversed, pertaining to alleged injuries related to the company's involvement with an oil consortium (Chevron Corporation v. Steven Donziger, No. 14-826 [consolidated with] Chevron Corporation v. Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, No. 14-832, 2nd Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - Evidence of a lung cancer victim's work in the proximity of switchgears combined with evidence that the products deteriorated from regular use and released asbestos-containing dust as a result keeps a case alive, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 26 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Carol Zellner v. CBS Corp., No. 14-3270, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19334).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A judge in Michigan on Oct. 26 partially dismissed and partially upheld causes of action brought by residents of Flint, Mich., against the state's governor and other employees related to the lead-contaminated water crisis, concluding that the plaintiffs' claims for injury to bodily integrity and inverse condemnation were valid (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 16-000017, Mich. Clms.).
SPOKANE, Wash. - A judge in Washington state on Oct. 26 ruled that the City of Spokane, Wash., sufficiently alleged claims against Monsanto Co. and its affiliates for contamination of the city's groundwater with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); therefore, it had standing to seek remediation costs from the company (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-00201, E.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148436).
LOS ANGELES - Reasonable explanations exist for every apparent contradiction regarding an asbestos defendant's production of evidence and why that production falls short of what a plaintiff could find through discovery, a federal judge in California held Oct. 24 (Victoria Lund, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-2776, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147070).
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Oct. 24 awarded a man who emigrated from Italy $7,042,333 for mesothelioma arising from asbestos exposure in construction industry products and found a joint compound manufacturer 25 percent liable, sources told Mealey's Publications (Peter LaMonica, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., et al., No. BC604809, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Oct. 26 ruled that the injunction sought by some businesses that had been contacted by class counsel seeking information on damages in a contaminated groundwater lawsuit was unwarranted (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1347, S.D. W.Va.).
DETROIT - Employees of the State of Michigan on Oct. 27 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 moved to a venue in another state because "the adverse publicity pervading the state jeopardizes" their right to a fair trial by an impartial jury (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).
NEW ORLEANS - The approval of a defendant who had not yet been properly served was not necessary to remove an asbestos case, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 24 (Nolan Legeaux, et al. v. Borg-Warner Corp., et al., No. 16-13773, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146719).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Oct. 26 ruled that a prison inmate had sufficiently alleged that the drinking water in the facility where he is incarcerated contains toxins and may be the cause of his health problems (Jerrold Davis v. Tarry Williams, et al., No. 15-8130, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148065).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology wrote a letter to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 25 stating that the committee has obtained information that "appears to contradict" the administrator's responses to questions the committee posed regarding the EPA's oversight of the herbicide glyphosate. In the letter, the chairman indicates that in light of the contradictions, the EPA's decision to delay official review of glyphosate does not "instill confidence that EPA will fairly assess glyphosate based on sound science."
LOS ANGELES - An asbestos defendant's delay in producing a corporate witness despite court orders to do so warrants imposing sanctions and awarding attorney fees, but not dismissal of the case, a federal judge in California held Oct. 24 (Victoria Lund, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-2776, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147072).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Five Michigan Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 26 sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to investigate a series of concerns pertaining to lawsuits involving the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., including the way in which the State of Michigan is applying its emergency manager law (EML) to block the City of Flint from suing the state.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Oct. 24 filed a brief in Ohio federal court, arguing that one of the cases included in the multidistrict litigation regarding alleged injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) should be dismissed because the plaintiff cannot establish that C8 from DuPont's Washington Works facility was the proximate and specific cause of his testicular cancer (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Oct. 25 awarded $20 million in punitive damages to the husband of a woman who died after developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial (Alan Konzelman v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-019620, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 25 granted plaintiffs' request for final approval of a $14.7 billion settlement to resolve allegations over Volkswagen AG's installation of a defeat device designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive state and federal regulators, ruling that the settlement is fair and reasonable (In re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2672, Case No. 15-md-2672, N.D. Calif.).