FORT MYERS, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 25 denied a series of motions to dismiss the second amended complaint filed by a farm trust that contends that a group of chemical companies contaminated its property with volatile organic compounds on grounds that the motions were rendered moot by the fact that the plaintiffs had filed a third amended complaint (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Evidence that a man worked with a company's asbestos-insulated product aboard a ship overcomes summary judgment, even where the insulation may have originated with a third party, a federal judge held Aug. 27 in also rejecting a challenge to the timeliness of the action (Charles Neureuther v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 13-1327, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113887).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 27 dismissed the lawsuit brought by a some of the plaintiffs against Consolidated Rail Corp. (CONRAIL) and other railroad companies pertaining to a spill of vinyl chloride into Mantua Creek caused by a train derailment (Charles Van Blarcom v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, No. 15-134, D. N.J.).
ROCK HILL, S.C. - South Carolina Supreme Court guidance indicates that the workers' compensation statute acts as a statute of repose, eliminating claims forming the basis of a putative class action over the allegedly improperly handling asbestos bankruptcy trust claims, a federal judge affirmed Aug. 27 (Odell Parker, et al. v. Asbestos Processing LLC, et al., No. 11-1800, D. S.C., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113574).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three tobacco manufacturers whose cigarettes are labeled as being "additive-free" and/or "natural" are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, the Food and Drug Administration said in warning letters issued Aug. 27 to the three manufacturers.
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 27 affirmed a federal judge in Nebraska's ruling ordering Stabl Inc. to pay $2.2 million to the federal government and State of Nebraska after finding that any errors the judge committed when entering his decision were harmless (United States of America, et al. v. Stabl Inc., No. 14-2050, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15121).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Amending a complaint after summary judgment for the only nondiverse defendant did not allow removal of an asbestos action, a federal judge held Aug. 25 in adopting a magistrate judge's report (Ronald K. Laux, and Marilee Laux, et al. v. Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd., et al., No. 15-585, D. Ore.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 25 approved a consent decree in which West Coast Wood Preserving LLC (WCWP) would pay $350,000 to reimburse the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for cleanup costs the agency incurred in cleaning up arsenic, chromium and copper contamination at a former wood-preserving site in Elmira, Calif., finding that the agreement was fair and reasonable (California Department of Toxic Substances Control, et al. v. Jim Dobbas Inc., et al., No. 14-595 WBS EFB, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112973).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) products litigation on Aug. 26 denied a motion filed by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) that sought to include two companies in the remand order sending the case to California federal court (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, Orange County Water District v. Unocal Corporation, No. 04-4968, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 26 affirmed summary judgment dismissal of a family's groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs' experts' reports were properly disallowed under rules of evidence established by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 ) (C.W., et al. v. Textron Inc., No. 14-3448, 7th Cir.; 20125 U.S. App. LEXIS 15076).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Aug. 21 announced that it had fined three companies involved in natural gas exploration a combined $374,481 for contaminating private drinking water supplies. The fines have all been paid, the DEP said.
CHICAGO - An Illinois appellate court on Aug. 24 affirmed a trial court ruling that it was not an abuse of discretion for Chicago agencies to revoke a tobacco store's license for its violations of the city's municipal code regarding proper packaging - and payment of taxes - pertaining to cigarettes (Smoke N Stuff v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 1-14-0936, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 646).
WILMINGTON, Del. - An asbestos defendant's registration in Delaware is sufficient to create personal jurisdiction, a Delaware judge held in denying reargument on Aug. 25 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Mary Anne Hudson v. International Paper Co., et al., No. N14C-03-247, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 423).
CHICAGO - A judge properly excluded Arthur Frank's trial testimony as a repackaging of his excluded "every exposure" testimony, and an investigation into a juror did not prejudice a jury's finding that tobacco and not asbestos caused a man's lung cancer, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 25 (Charles Krik v. Crane Co.; ExxonMobil Oil Corp.; Owens-Illinois Inc.; and The Marley-Wylain Co., No. 1:10-cv-70435, N.D. Ill.).
NEW ORLEANS - A jury properly heard testimony that every asbestos exposure above background can cause disease and found Ford Motor Co. liable for a man's death from mesothelioma, but its verdict against a talc defendant was hopelessly conflicted, a Louisiana appeals court held Aug 20 in partially affirming a $2.3 million verdict (William Oddo Jr. v. Asbestos Corp. Ltd., et al., No. 2014-CA-0004, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 1584).
SEATTLE - Allegations of contemporaneous symptoms after asbestos exposure do not trigger the intentional tort exemption to workers' compensation exclusivity because there is no way the employer could have known for certain that the exposure would lead to a man's mesothelioma, a Washington appellate panel held Aug. 24 (John M. Kalahar and Peggy L. Kalahar v. Alcoa Inc., No. 72635-8-I, Wash. App., Div. 1).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Alabama Supreme Court on Aug. 24 rejected certified questions from a federal judge regarding premises owner liability and the proper causation standard in a take-home asbestos exposure case (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 1141023, Ala. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana jury on Aug. 20 returned a defense verdict for Union Carbide Corp. and Montello in a case alleging asbestosis caused by asbestos in drilling mud (Dan Freeman v. Phillips 66 Co., et al., No. 2011-7941, La. Dist., Orleans Parish).
TRENTON, N.J. - Neither registering to do business in a state nor employing a small amount of people in that state subjects a company to general jurisdiction, a federal judge in New Jersey held Aug. 20 in dismissing asbestos claims (James McCourt and Mabel McCourt v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 14-221, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110111).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A medical doctor's familiarity with different fibers qualifies him to testify as an expert in an asbestos case, and Illinois precedent does not bar him even if he plans to testify that every exposure to asbestos leads to disease, a federal judge in Illinois held Aug. 20 (Charles Neureuther v. Atlas Copco Compressors LLC, et al., No. 13-1327, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108782).
LOS ANGELES - An asbestos defendant's proposal that liability be used to calculate offsets for pre-verdict settlements "is completely at odds" with state precedent, a California appeals panel held Aug. 20 in also affirming 50-50 split of asbestos settlement proceeds between personal injury and any future wrongful death action and denying offsets for potential asbestos bankruptcy recoveries (James Hellam v. Crane Co., No. A140326, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 720).
NEW ORLEANS - Defendants' evidence that the U.S. Navy issued detailed and specific guidance over the design, construction and labeling of products it procured meets the broad standard for removal under the federal officer statute, defendants told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 18 (Debra Dummitt Meyers and Ronald Palmero v. A.W. Chesterton, et al., No. 15-30528, 5th Cir.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The federal judge in New Jersey presiding over a lawsuit brought by residents who sued a group of railroad company defendants seeking damages related to a vinyl chloride spill caused by the derailment of a train crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek on Aug. 18 dismissed two of the defendants from the case (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 17 granted an insurer's motion to amend its counterclaim to add an additional nine claims in an environmental remediation dispute after determining that one of the plaintiffs withheld documents on the basis of privilege without producing a privilege log (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108381).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The amended disclosure statement for the plan of reorganization of Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) should not be approved because it does not clearly state whether EFH will comply with its obligations under environmental law concerning properties owned and operated by the company and does not notify the public of the health and safety risks posed by noncompliance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says in an Aug. 17 objection filed in Delaware federal bankruptcy court (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).