PITTSBURGH - A group of residents on June 26 filed a purported class action in Pennsylvania federal court against a power company and its affiliates, contending that they have been injured as a result of the defendant's "reckless" operation of two nuclear materials processing facilities (Russell Crocker, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., et al., No. 15-00844, W.D. Pa.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Consolidated Rail Corp. (CONRAIL), one of the railroad defendants being sued in New Jersey federal court by residents who seek damages related to a chemical spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek filed an answer on June 29 in which it admits only that certain cars on the train derailed, and it "specifically" denies that the bridge collapsed. Moreover, the defendant says it admits that one of the train cars was breached and "released a limited quantity of vinyl chloride," but it denies that the event caused harm to people or property (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A judge overseeing an asbestos case nearing trial on June 29 barred an expert from testifying that "every exposure" leads to disease and excluded another expert's testimony regarding causation, finding it insufficiently specific (Graham Yates and Becky Yates v. Ford Motor Co. and Honeywell International Inc., No. 12-752, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83991).
ANCHORAGE, Ala. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 remanded a case to the Environmental Protection Agency to make a determination regarding whether the discharge of noncontact cooling water into the Beaufort Sea will cause unreasonable degradation of the marine environment, after the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) challenged an EPA permit authorizing the discharge by oil and gas facilities of waste streams into marine waters of the sea (Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 13-70633, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11062).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 denied petitions asking the high court to review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling affirming a federal judge in Louisiana's finding concerning BP Exploration & Production Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp.'s liability under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for pollution caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 (BP Exploration & Production Inc. v. United States of America, No. 14-1217, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation v. United States of America, No. 14-1167, U.S. Sup.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A group of reinsurers told a federal court in Connecticut on June 26 that their reinsured's claim regarding certain environmental damage losses should not be counted as a single occurrence (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00275, D. Conn.).
NEWARK, N.J. - The bare metal defense entitles three product manufacturers to summary judgment, a judge said before remanding the remainder of the asbestos action on June 26 (Linda Hammell, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 14-13, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83154, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83153, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83152).
LOS ANGELES - A trial court properly concluded that an employer shifted the burden of summary judgment and that plaintiffs failed to create triable issues, a California appeals court held June 24 (Teresa Quiroz, et al. v. BNSF Railway Co., No. B250165, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4426).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on June 25 allowed an industrial hygienist's asbestos-exposure testimony, over defense complaints that he lacked sufficient experience with mastics or adhesives. The judge previously admitted deposition testimony finding that an insurer's interests were represented by a predecessor in interest and said plaintiffs could raise challenges to defense experts in cross-examination (Sally Gros Vedros, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., et al., No. 11-1198, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82672).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on June 25 denied Carolina Water Service Inc.'s motion to dismiss a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit brought by Congaree Riverkeeper Inc., finding that the group has standing to pursue a claim that the company is violating the act by failing to connect its wastewater treatment facility to the regional system and that the claim is timely because it constitutes an ongoing violation (Congaree Riverkeeper Inc. v. Carolina Water Services Inc., No. 15-cv-194, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82387).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Ford Motor Co. and a woman who claims that it fatally exposed her husband to asbestos settled the action after five days of trial, according to a June 24 docket entry. The federal judge overseeing the case previously declined to sanction Ford for failing to produce certain documents, citing the plaintiff's familiarity with the testimony (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Olga Pavlick, et al. v. Advance Stores Company Inc., et al., No. 10-174, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81504).
NEWARK, N.J. - Maritime law governs cases arising from dry dock work, and the bare metal defense bars the negligence and strict liability claims, a federal judge in New Jersey held June 24 (Kenneth T. Shearer and Barbara Shearer v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 13-5887, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81828).
SEATTLE - An asbestos wrongful death action requires that a viable underlying claim exist at the time of the death, a divided Washington appeals court held June 22 (Judy R. Deggs, et al. v. Asbestos Corp. Limited, et al., Nos. 71297-7-1, 71550-0-1, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 1324).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Alabama Supreme Court must weigh whether a premises owner owes a duty to protect household members from asbestos exposures and whether but-for or substantial-factor causation applies in multiple toxic exposure cases after receiving certified questions from a federal judge on June 22 (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 12-1930, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80404).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division panel on June 23 ruled that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) did not act arbitrarily or capriciously when granting RC Cape May Holdings LLC's application to renew its permit to operate a coal- and oil-powered steam electric-generating facility in June 2013, holding that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would require the company to construct a new cooling tower were not implemented until 2014 (In re: New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Number NJ0000544 Final Consolidated Renewal Permit Action, No. A-5840-12T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1514).
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).