FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on March 1 awarded the widow of a man who developed lung cancer after years of smoking $350,000 after finding that lung cancer was not the cause of his death (Bernice McCall v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. No. 2007-CV-036888, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - Courts at every stop found jurisdiction over plaintiffs' asbestos actions lacking, and the law-of-the-case doctrine supports applying that conclusion now, ship owners embroiled in three long-running cases told the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 1 (Lionel C. Wilson, Joseph F. Braun, and Thomas Guiden v. Matson Navigation Co. Inc., American President Lines Ltd., Nos. 15-1387, 15-1388, 15-1389, 3rd Cir.).
NEW CASTLE, Del. - In a lawsuit against power plant operators for their alleged unlawful dumping of toxic coal ash waste, an expert may not testify as to concentrations and dispersion of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a Delaware judge ruled Feb. 26, granting in part a motion to exclude (Anajai Calcano Pallano, et al., v. The AES Corp., et al., No. N09C-11-021 JRJ, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2016 Del. Super. LEXIS 101).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An insurer is liable for an insured's defense and indemnification costs incurred as a result of underlying asbestos personal injury lawsuits filed against the insured, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Feb. 29 (York International Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 10-0692, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24294).
NEW ORLEANS - The difficulties inherent in identifying exposures in an asbestos case warranted allowing the addition of defendants two months after the deadline for amended pleadings, a federal judge in Louisiana held Feb. 26 (Patsy S. Boyd, et al. v. Boeing Co., et al., No. 15-25, E.D. La.).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 25 refused to reconsider a Nov. 19, 2015, ruling allowing PPG Industries Inc. to file a third-party complaint against the former owner and operator of a landfill, ruling that there is no evidence that potential claims against the party are unmeritorious (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23174).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appellate panel on Feb. 29 declined an asbestos-friction defendant's request for rehearing after reversing summary judgment in favor of it and two other companies, according to the court's docket (Geraldine Bierner Lepore, et al. v. Kelsey-Hayes Co., et al., No. A137451, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
LONDON - The investigational drug Tremelimumab does not improve overall survival rates of mesothelioma patients when used alone, AstraZeneca announced Feb. 29.
NEW ORLEANS - A federal jury in Louisiana on Feb. 25 cleared a BP Exploration & Production Inc. supervisor who was on board the Deepwater Horizon oil rig of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) (United States of America v. Robert Kaluza, No. 12-cr-00265, E.D. La.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Counsel's and a private investigator's declarations attesting to a sincere campaign to build a case overcome allegations of bad faith in pursuing the defendant, a federal judge held in remanding a case Feb. 24 (Richard Cesarin v. Asbestos Corporation Limited, et al., No. 15-6056, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22718).
HOUSTON - Plaintiffs' motion to enjoin a judge from enforcing legislatively enacted medical requirements appears to ask a judge to enjoin himself and thus seeks the wrong type of relief, a Texas appeals court panel held in affirming denial of the motion Feb. 25 (In re: Texas State Silica Products Liability Litigation, No. 01-15-00251-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 1965).
JOPLIN, Mo. - A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 24 ruled that a plaintiff in a chemical injury case could not admit into evidence another similar lawsuit in an attempt to show causation; however, it could be used to show "the reprehensibility of the defendants' conduct" regarding punitive damages (Jodelle L. Kirk v. Schaeffler Group USA Inc., et al., No. 13-5032, W.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22149).
LANSING, Mich. - A spokesman for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Feb. 26 said "the governor is committed" to talking with the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at a hearing scheduled to take place in March as part of an ongoing investigation into the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich.
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in California on Feb. 23 ordered the city of Visalia, Calif., to conduct a final search for documents that are responsive to a plaintiffs' claims that the city's sewer system contributed to perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination in a nearby plume in order to stop the city's piecemeal production of information (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 1:11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22066).
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge improperly applied case law from a products liability case in a premises liability case and then compounded the error by denying a motion to amend the complaint, plaintiffs told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Feb. 18 (Titus May, etc., et al. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., etc., et al., No. 15-56219, 9th Cir.).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), which is a defendant in a lead contamination lawsuit brought by two environmental groups, on Feb. 22 filed a brief in a New Jersey federal court arguing that the claim should be dismissed because it is barred by federal law (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A magistrate judge in Pennsylvania presiding over evidentiary issues in a case brought by residents who contend that a hydraulic fracturing company is liable for contaminating their groundwater on Feb. 24 denied the residents' motion to reconsider the magistrate's prior ruling that excluded certain evidence from trial (Nolen Scott Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, No. 09-2284, M.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 24 denied petitions from the State of Arizona and the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP) challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to impose federal regulations over portions of Arizona's state implantation plan (SIP) that set limits on haze emissions that were rejected by the agency, finding that the EPA did not act arbitrarily or capriciously (State of Arizona, ex rel. Henry R. Darwin, et al. v. U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency, et al., Nos. 13-70366, 13-70410, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 3196).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., which was sued by Ohio residents who allege that the company is liable for personal injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), on Feb. 23 filed a brief in Ohio federal court arguing that one particular plaintiff cannot show that the company is liable for his cancer and, therefore, those claims should be dismissed (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on Feb. 19 awarded summary judgment to a defendant company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit, holding that the plaintiff corporation was unable to show that the defendant contributed to contamination at the site and that the plaintiff failed to successfully challenge the defendant company's 2012 filing of a certificate of cancellation in Delaware (Anthony Wayne Corporation v. Elco Fastening Systems LLC, et al., No. 13CV1406-PPS, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20243).
NEW YORK - Registering to do business and appointing an agent as required by Connecticut statute falls short of creating general jurisdiction, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Feb. 18 in affirming dismissal of an asbestos action (Cindy S. Brown, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 14-4083, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2763).
LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State Board of Canvassers on Feb. 22 approved a petition to recall Gov. Rick Snyder in connection with decisions that preceded the lead contamination in the drinking water of the City of Flint.
PALM BEACH, Fla., - A Florida jury on Feb. 23 found that a woman who sued two tobacco companies claiming that they concealed the dangers of smoking from her was not a member of the Engle class and, therefore, entered a verdict in favor of the defense (Elizabeth Ann Smith, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007-CA-023930, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
ST. LOUIS - A jury in Missouri on Feb. 22 awarded the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer $72 million in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, finding that it was liable for her death as a result of her use of talc-containing products made by the company (Tiffany Hogans, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1422-CC-09012, Mo. Cir., St. Louis City, 22nd Jud. Dist.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 19 approved a $1.7 million settlement between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Duke Energy Merchants LLC (DEM), one of the defendants in a lawsuit seeking damages for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 08-0312, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21263).